I was really excited to visit Lisbon, but after my stay here, I was actually disappointed in the place. Lisbon was dirty, and not a lot was happening.
I got in late at night and went straight to my hostel and to bed. But in my head I already had a plan of what to see in the city. The next morning i did a free walking tour. This one was amazing. Our guide was so passionate and proud to be Portuguese. He brought us through the main neighbourhoods and pointed out some cool stuff.
This here above, is the oldest bookstore in the world. Operating since 1732. It actually beat Italy by 6 months.
He went through the history of the country and city…
- did you know that Portugal remained neutral during WWII? It was the only place in Europe where in the same airport you could fly to Germany and England. This also attracted a lot of spies. They had many places where both sides would share the casino, playing against each other, playing with each other. They had an English guy during the time, ask the casino for their best, most unique drink. And what he got in return was a martini. He commented, this is not original, and the bar tender replied, it’s shaken, not stirred. Yes, that man was Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond.
- There was also Portugal’s most influential man, who was voted Portugals worst person and best person in the same year. That man was Salazar. Hmm, now, that name sounds familiar doesn’t it? Remember how i said JK Rowling was in Portugal? Well i guess she was caught up with history cause the house of Slytherin is named after Salazar Slytherin; Portugals dictator.
- Portugal got all of their gold by stealing it from Brazil and a few years later, what they now call bad karma, Lisbon was shaken by 9.0 magnitude earthquake in 1755. In the picture below you can see the small effects of the earth quake which cracked and shift this door frames top. The rest of the city was completely crushed. Not a lot survived. But an area that did survive was the area of Alfama which is situated on a large rock. and who lived here? Prostitutes and Homeless men. Which said a lot about a city who was all Catholic; a sign from God surely.
After the tour was done, I did some exploring on my own and made my way over to the Alfama district.
the Alfama district is one of the prettiest areas of Lisbon. Said to be all family who lives here with deep roots. But the Alfama I saw felt much different. Over run with tourists, little souvenir shops everywhere. I didn’t see the appeal and expected something much different, something more grand I guess.
I stayed at Poets hostel Lisbon and had another great experience. They had free dinners again which were like Portos; 10€ for soup, main course, dessert and sangria.
The next day I walked through the area of Bairro Alto
Bairro Alto was a lot different than i expected and in a good way, it was a lot more quiet despite being so close to a touristic spot. The building were more pretty than the ones surrounding the main grid. It was very pleasant to walk through.
Lisbon also has all these yellow and red little street cars that look like the ones from San Fransisco. Well, thats because they bought them from them. Yeah, nothing too interesting here.
Another big attraction here in Lisbon is Jeronimos Monastery. It’s not quite in Lisbon per say, you need to take a (cheap) train to get here. I didn’t bother to go inside since well, after traveling through Europe, very few places actually impress me. But this place is Manueline and Gothic architecture in 1502, which was inspired by Vasco da Gama who is buried here with other great navigators of the past.
Well, that was Lisbon for me. I was pretty disappointed with the city. Feeling like it really didn’t offer me much, not too much to do. I also talked with other travelers and they said the same thing with Lisbon. It was a nice city, but just okay, not much to do.