Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Uphill Both Ways in Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon was the final stop of our epic summer vacation. I have always wanted to see Portugal and even though it was nowhere near our first two destinations of Greece and Romania, I found a deal with a budget Romanian airline and decided to go for it. Booking a budget Romanian airline was a HUGE MISTAKE, but we survived, had a crazy story to tell about absurd carry on restrictions and defeating budget airline minions, and got to see Lisbon finally. Win-win?

As soon as we arrived, we hit the ground running by joining a Sandeman's City Tour. In his bachelor traveling days, Fionn always used to take them wherever he traveled since 1) they're free (the guides work for tips only), 2) you walk quite a bit, and 3) they're geared towards younger people. We joined up and were led by an awesome guide, a Third Culture Kid who was English by birth but had grown up in Lisbon. She was funny, informative, personable and definitely gave us a workout walking up all those hills!

I liked Lisbon instantly. It's beautiful because it's on the coast, and the rolling hills give you great view points (and photo ops!) around every corner. They imported streetcars from San Franscisco (along with a bridge that looks a lot like the Golden Gate Bridge), so it gives it this kind of old world/new world vibe. It was just a cool place all around.

As you walk around, you start noticing that a lot of the buildings are covered in tiles. Our guide explained that the tiles became popular during the Moorish occupation but actually serve the practical purpose of keeping houses cool in the summertime.

Pretty, right?

While walking, we ran into a procession headed toward a local church. Our guide explained it was a celebration of the patron saint of police officers, held every year.

We stopped into one of Lisbon's most famous cathedrals to see some of the opulence Portugal's trading economy had been able to bring back to Lisbon during their Golden Age.

From there, our tour continued towards the water, and we learned that much of Lisbon was destroyed in a catastrophe in 1755 that started with an earthquake, followed by a tsunami, and then topped off with a 5 day long fire. Yikes. Still, they rebuilt!

We made a pit stop for Ginjinha, a cherry liquor and Lisbon specialty. Strong stuff!

Our tour wrapped up with this beautiful view! In the distance you can see the bridge that looks suspiciously like the Golden Gate Bridge (it's even red!) and a smaller version of the Christ the Redeemer statue.

I've got more pictures, but I'll hold off for a second post. Isn't Lisbon gorgeous? :)

Linking up for Travel Tuesday!


  1. How glorious! I loved Lisbon (especially all the tiles). I'm glad you made it, despite the crazy Romanian flight :) And I love that you got to run into a parade. What a great thing.

  2. Wow, can you imagine that kind of catastrophe like 1755! That cathedral is something else, must have been pretty overwhelming.
    Lisbon is definitely on my to see list!

    1. I know! When she was explaining it to us I couldn't believe they rebuilt after that. I would highly recommend Lisbon. On top of being awesome, it's also really affordable!

  3. HI Shannon,
    Yes, Lisbon is gorgeous! I was in Lisbon more than 10 years ago and loved it. Thanks for taking me back virtually through your lovely photos. I'd love to go back sometime soon. The city is beautiful but its the wonderful people that gave me meaningful memories.
    How fun that you ran into a procession. I love local events like that.

    1. I only wish we had more time there, but it was really memorable overall. What's up next on your travel itenerary?

  4. Oh yes! I love this and I used to live in Germany as a military kid while stationed in Stuttgart. How are you loving life in Germany? How long are you guys stationed there? Thank you for linking up with Belinda and I for Travel Tuesday!

    Bonnie Rose | A Compass Rose

    1. Germany is fabulous! It's got a special place in my heart. How lucky you got to live in Stuttgart! I visited a few years ago and loved it, it's a gorgeous area. We've got a little less than a year left in Germany...it's bittersweet, but I'm ready for the next adventure, wherever that is :) thanks for stopping by, I love your blog!