Expectations are a funny thing. I’d heard so many good things about Lisbon that I expected to love it. It was almost a disaster. First, our flight from Amsterdam was scheduled for 7:50am, meaning we had to be at the airport around 6:15am, which is before the main public transport is running. Therefore, we had to take the night bus. We stayed up late the night before packing and cleaning, and went to sleep around 12:30am. The alarm was set for 4:45am. No big deal, I stumbled out of bed and got ready. We walked the 3 blocks to the bus stop, and got in. It was full, so we had to stand for the entire 45 minute ride to the airport. Then, our flight was delayed, as the cabin crew didn’t show up. Eventually, we made it to Lisbon, which was experiencing a cold and windy snap. Not the best start to the trip.
The apartment we rented from airbnb.com was nice, and in a decent neighborhood. We ended up walking around a bit, and taking the 28 tram around the city to see the sights. The internet wasn’t working on my phone, which was frustrating to me. We were dead tired, staring out the windows of the tram like zombies. After a quick nap, we tried to go to a nice neighborhood for dinner, but ended up getting lost. Not having internet on my phone just exacerbated the matter. Back at our apartment, we agreed that Lisbon was not living up to the hype.
Oh what a difference a day makes…
The next day, refreshed from a good night’s sleep, we set out once more. The sun was out, and we stopped at a bakery for a quick breakfast. From there, into the main part of the city, where we sat on the waterfront and soaked in the sunshine. Over the next 24 hours, I saw what all the fuss was about. Lisbon is a unique city. Some parts of it seem to be crumbling, like Venice, but other parts have beautiful buildings. The city is built on hills, and has many narrow windy streets, with barely enough space for the tram to take the corners, much less with the pedestrians scrambling to get out of the way. Some awards ceremony was happening, and we hundreds of people line up outside, the men in tuxedos and the women in every sort of dress you can imagine. Lots of fur coats. Meanwhile, beggars and homeless roamed the streets looking for handouts. All on the same street. Lisbon is a city of extremes.
Having now been there, I’m not sure if I want to go back. I would, but it wouldn’t be at the top of my list. After 2 nights, we hopped on board the train to Faro, and spent the rest of the trip laying on the beach enjoying the sun. Photos below.