Lisbon | The Traveller Returns

Back To Where It Started

I’m never ready early, and when leaving Coimbra the fact I was actually ready early and had time to spare meant I was lulled in to a false sense of security and actually left the hotel late. Thankfully the station was on the other side of the road and I could run for the train! A long change at Coimbra-B due to the delayed train meant I saw some really interesting characters, but before long I was on the train on the way to Lisbon. 

If there’s one thing in this world I really hate, it’s manspreaders. For some reason, it really bothered me how much my neighbour was leaning in to my seat and taking up all my space. He must have got the hint with my super polite English way of saying absolutely nothing, and eventually moved seats – woohoo! The rest of the journey was much more pleasant, and I arrived in Lisbon, taking a quick metro to my apartment in Baixa Chando. 

After dropping my bag off, I made my way to the central area of Rossio to do a spot of shopping and explore the touristy streets running between Rossio Square and Arco da Rua Augusta. There are plenty of shops, restaurants and generic street performers, but I did spot one I’ve never seen before – a man dressed as one of the Beatles sat on a bench, and whenever you dropped some money in the hat he’d start performing. Very entertaining and funny!

Come evening, it was time to relax a bit after a busy day travelling. As the sun began to set, I made my way down to the river and sat on the steps by Cais das Colunas, the stone columns by the river. It was the perfect way to end the day, as people around had beers, played music, and just chilled out watching the sun set over the river. Absolutely stunning and my favourite way to spend an evening. 

A Sintra Kind Of Day

Although I had been in Lisbon just a few days before, the wet weather meant I hadn’t made it out to Sintra. This was the main reason for coming back to Lisbon so soon, and the sunny weather meant I was well set to enjoy a day trip out to the small town. Turns out it’s super tiring clambering up and down the hills, and by the time I got back to Lisbon I was absolutely shattered. 

I met a friend for dinner, and we tried out a little pizza place near his work. These are my favourite kind of places, the ones I’d never find by myself that the locals go to. As we walked past fancy bars and restaurants I was so glad to have a box full of different kinds of pizza we’d picked to try, including one with no cheese…not my choice. 

Last Taste Of Portugal

It seemed I hadn’t been in Lisbon for five minutes before it was time to leave again. After a mad rush to get my bag packed as late as I could to let my freshly laundered clothes as much time as possible to dry, I was on my way to the station again. This time in the hope of finding a locker to keep my stuff for the day. I had an evening train booked, that would take me all the way to the north of Spain overnight, but still had one more day to enjoy in Lisbon.

After the trouble I’d had in Porto, I was much happier than I should have been to be able to find an empty locker and drop my bag off for the day, and for just a few euros! A hunt for a cashpoint that would accept my card followed, and after four attempts I found one that would give me some of my hard-earned dosh. 

Wanting to make the most of my last day in Lisbon, I made my way back to Rossio square. What had previously been a bit of a disappointing space was now full of a food and drinks market, with lots of stalls selling a variety of delicious smelling treats. I can never have enough of markets, so I then hiked up a million steps – might be a slight exaggeration – to Principe Real where I found another market with stunning views over the city. On to yet another market in Principe Real gardens, I had a look around before having to stop for a coffee to recover from the stinkiest cheese stall I have ever passed. 

While in the area, I figured it’d be a great time to check out the botanical gardens to see how they rivalled those in Coimbra. It wasn’t a tough contest, and the Lisbon botanical gardens were lush and interesting to wander round. I’m not a huge nature person, so after realising that yes they were all pretty plants, I made my way back to the hustle and bustle of the main streets and down to Igreja de São Roque, a square church. 

I’m a fan of churches, so after a visit to Igreja de São Roque I stopped in to Convento do Carmo. A cool, open church that is actually more of a museum now, I sat for a while on the original stone steps admiring the ruins. I was hit with a…surprise…when a flock of pigeons flew overhead and let loose on all the people sat on the stairs. Thinking I’d managed to escape the poop shower I popped to the toilets where a lovely lady helped me check my hair and clean out the few specks that had hit me. It’s supposed to be lucky, but I had only just washed my hair that morning and wouldn’t be able to have a shower for at least 24 hours. I wasn’t feeling overly lucky, even if I was thankful to have found the kindest lady ever. 

I was a bit dubious about staying out in the open again, and opted to checked out the indoor museum section. While really interesting, as soon as I saw mummified children I decided I’d had enough and left for my next stop – Miradoura de Santa Luzia. Despite having been up, down, up and down the hills already today, I again went down and then trekked back up the hill on the other side of the city to get to the viewpoint. I may have possibly got a bit lost on the way, but had found some old Roman ruins so it balanced out and was all worth it when I got to the viewpoint. 

Taking a seat, I tried to soak up the view as much as possible. I’d be leaving in a few hours, and the buskers playing in the background just made the view even better. I was genuinely sad to be leaving Lisbon and Portugal, and was a bit nervous about the long journey I had ahead. 

Not wanting to dwell on my nerves too long, I made my way back across the city to meet my friend and check out a photography and sculpture exhibition. Of course, the time passed far too quickly and before long I was on my way to catch the overnight train to Bilbao! I was super nervous about sleeping on the train and the rest of the journey to get to my final destination of Bermeo, but I was on my way!

< Coimbra | #14 | Sintra >

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