Lisbon

Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013

On Saturday afternoon we returned to Lisbon after two weeks of luxury and relaxation at Juicy Oasis. We checked back in to the Lisbon Lounge Hostel and immediately set out to explore the Christmas-decorated streets. Of course, after two weeks of no coffee we had to make a stop at Starbucks for a quick caffeine fix.

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With time on our side we leisurely strolled through the streets window shopping and actually shopping for warm clothes for the wintery few weeks ahead.

After we found some prospective winter clothes to buy later in the week, we headed to the grocery store to buy supplies for our first real meal in two weeks.

Back at the hostel we artfully dodged around the Portuguese chef in the kitchen to prepare our meal:

  • James: Two cheeseburgers and potato wedges
  • Tarynne: Brussels sprouts and fava beans

With our bellies finally full of real food, we went back out onto the Lisbon streets for an evening stroll under the brilliant Christmas lights lining the narrow lanes.

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After only a few minutes of walking we stumbled upon at light show in Terreiro do Paco. Although the audio of the show was entirely in Portuguese, we still enjoyed the innovative lighting technology and unique presentation.

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In the evening the temperature outside had dropped pretty significantly, so we didn’t last long before we had to retreat back to the indoor comforts of the hostel. Fortunately we were able to find a quiet and cosy spot in the upstairs lounge to watch Slumdog Millionaire in preparation for our trip to Mumbai next month.

Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013

We woke up nice and early on Sunday so we could fit in breakfast before embarking on a day-long bike ride along the bank of Rio Tejo to the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. Lucky for me, the Lisbon Lounge serves up some pretty amazing crepes for breakfast every morning, so I stuffed my face with about six of those before we climbed aboard our bikes.

From the center of the Baixa neighborhood we headed back to Terreiro do Paco and turned right, due west along the bank of the river toward the Belem neighborhood. The ride along the river was beautiful and we passed under the Ponte 25 de Abril Bridge on the way to Padrao dos Descobrimentos, a massive monument honoring the past discoveries of the Portuguese navy.

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After admiring the massive concrete structure, we hopped back on our bikes and crossed the main road to check out the Museu Colecção Berardo. Of course on the way into the museum Tarynne was able to sniff out a nearby outdoor market, so before going inside we perused the selection of homemade olive oils and roasted nuts.

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The museum was pretty cool, and we enjoyed taking our time wandering the hallways looking at the abstract, and sometimes mind-blowing art installations.

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From the museum we made a quick pitstop inside Mosteiro dos Jeronimos before continuing down the river to Torre de Belem.

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After relaxing on the steps and people watching for about half an hour in front of Torre de Belem, we biked to the nearby ferry terminal for a quick cruise across the river to Tarfaria.

While Lisbon actually sits on the bank of Rio Tejo, Tarfaria is located right at the mouth of the river where it meets the Atlantic Ocean. From the ferry dock in Tarfaria, it was only about a twenty minute bike ride to some of the nicest beaches in the Lisbon area, which face west straight out toward the thundering surf of the Atlantic Ocean.

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We were able to spend about half an hour admiring the fading sunlight shimmering of the mighty waves of the evening high tide before we had to get back on our bikes and hustle back to the ferry dock to return to Lisbon.

The sun was just setting when we returned to the Lisbon side of the river and much of our return bike ride was under the bright light of a nearly full moon.

En route back to the hostel we made a stop at a grocery store for dinner supplies. After we cooked up another filling meal, we (or maybe just I) were delighted to find the Seahawks-Giants game playing on a projector in the main living room.

We enjoyed a relaxing time watching the Hawks stomp out the Giants 23-0 before we went for another evening walk around Lisbon in search of candy and chocolate.

Monday, Dec. 16, 2013

On Monday we set out early determined to buy the warm winter clothes we were sure we would need during the next three weeks in Croatia and Turkey. We also had to find Tarynne a long black skirt, long sleeve shirt and head scarf for our trip to Dubai and Abu Dhabi in January.

We basically spent the entire day trying on shirts, skirts, scarfs, jackets, beanies and gloves before we finally settled on the outfits we loved most.

After an exhausting day of shopping we were too lazy to cook anything new, so we just reheated leftovers from the night before and then set back out in search of chocolate for dessert. After finding some cheap chocolate in a small grocery store we found a small square festively decorated for christmas and sat talking by a lighted tree.

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Wanting to extend our evening, we went back to he hostel and asked for a chill bar recommendation. We were pointed to a really cool bar in the Cais do Sodre neighborhood.

We enjoyed a few drinks before walking back to the hostel around midnight, weary of our looming 5:30 a.m. wake up and 8:15 a.m. flight to Zagreb, Croatia.

About James

Washed up Wazzu alumnus in the middle of a horrific quarter-life crisis.
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