A Hangover in Lisbon

October 2, 2015 - 5:32 pm No Comments

Woke up feeling a bit rough from last night’s partying and went to the kitchen to find some breakfast. Offerings were typical hostel fare: toast, cereal, slices of melon, and tea. I put together a plate and sat down to eat, cradling my pounding head between bites.

The dining room was overrun by German students on some sort of school trip. The typical high school mix: some were friends, some were loners, some were loud and obnoxious, some were quiet and shy. Easy to see who the popular ones were. After they left, an older woman with an accent I couldn’t place sat down next me and asked me if I was OK. Nice of her.

Fredy bounced into the room, grinning from ear to ear about this great Lisbon orientation walk he was going to take us on. I don’t know where he gets the energy. I collected myself, grabbed my camera bag, and headed out.

First was Bairro Alto, the historical center of the city that was first built up in the late 1400’s, right around when Columbus was discovering America. Take away the cars and power lines and tourists, and it’s easy to feel like it’s 500 years ago.

Graffiti in Bairro Alto

Elevador da Glória

Motorcycle & Clothes

Super Bock

Then off to Belém, a historic neighborhood further down the Tagus coast. We stopped at the famous Pastéis de Belém to get some pastéis de nata, the Portuguese egg tart pastries that are baked and warm and delicious. With a line out the door for this famous, local specialty, this place feels like the Café du Monde of Lisbon.

Pastéis de Belém

Pastéis de nata

Then a quick stop at the Jerónimos Monastery, which began construction in 1501 and somehow survived the 1755 Lisbon earthquake.

Jerónimos Monastery

Jerónimos Monastery

Jerónimos Monastery

Tomb of Luís de Camões

Along the water there is the Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument to the Discoveries), a giant monolith with sculptures of Portugal’s most famous explorers, artists, and missionaries.

Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument to the Discoveries)

Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument to the Discoveries)

Teaching a Bull a Lesson

Belém Tower was finished in 1519 to defend the mouth of the Tagus River and to act as a ceremonial gateway to Lisbon.

Belém Tower

Praça do Comércio

Perfect weather and a wonderful cruisy pace made this orientation walk the best of the bunch. And by mid-afternoon, the effects of my hangover had subsided and I was feeling pretty good. It really was a wonderful day.

After a buffet lunch, a couple of the girls and I scrambled through some random neighborhoods for another couple of hours. Lisbon is a city of not many highlights, but it’s got a great vibe.

Graffiti in the Alfama District

Political Rally Below

Now on our overnight train to Madrid. I’m sharing a small cabin with the 3 other guys again. My backpack and I are laying on one of the top bunks. The cabin smells a bit like fart, but that’s OK. I’m so tired that it won’t make a difference. Seventeen days on the go takes a special kid of traveler. I might barely be the type. I’ve got maybe one more of these kinds of trips left in me.

My iPhone tells me we are passing a town called Mealhada. Time to close the eyes.

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