Welcome back to our travel edition, today I’m going to be writing about my memorable time in Lisbon, Portugal: things to do, places to see, where to stay and lots more.
A quick recap
If you have our post earlier this week, you know about my experience in Emirates Business Class and my 1 day tour of Amsterdam. A smooth transit from Amsterdam, I arrived in the heart of Portugal, Lisbon or Lisboa. The ride from the airport to my hotel, Sheraton Lisboa was enough to get me excited. In fact, I was going to stay in this city for 12 days and wanted to make the most of it.
I am having a lot of fun in Lisbon.
My hotel–Marriott Lisboa, and it’s service, makes it a highly recommended hotel for corporate travellers and families. If that wasn’t enough, I am actually eating healthy. I even exercise everyday at the Fitness Center. And enjoy my glass of Port Wine as anyone else would. Did I mention a glass of champagne? Who can possibly complain?
Work and working culture in Lisboa
My hotel and my office are close to each other–in fact they are a 20 Euro cab ride apart. Since the company doesn’t mind me taking cabs to my office in Taguspark, I do it. Tagus park is an equivalent of Electronics City in Hyderabad or Bangalore. Only a dozen times prettier. While the locale is breathtaking, and the architecture has character, I can’t help but compare work cultures. The office space is almost always deserted and sometimes I would wonder if there were any people that really come in. We definitely end up getting more work done in India–but I’m OK being on the other side for a few days.
The People of Lisbon
My experience with locals in Lisbon was quite pleasant. The people are quite helpful, and make an effort despite not knowing English. Apart from them thinking I was from Spain (this happens a lot!), they seemed to be very passionate about their city. In fact, I remember one of my cab drivers, Marco, giving me a virtual lowdown of the city.
Getting around in Lisbon was not difficult–in fact–most used transportation systems include taxis. I did step out of the Hotel every evening and walked around the City Center. I won’t lie: I did spend some money at Zara, Parfois and Charles Vogele.
Day Tour of the City
Over the weekend, I decided to make most of the day with a day tour of gorgeous city of Lisbon.
While I had seen some bits of the lined up spots, it was a nice tour – took a lot of pictures of the impressive monuments, cultural museums, parks and the basilica.
I managed to take only selfie shots: maybe some inhibition in me does not allow me to ask people to click my picture. This was a bit disappointing because I have been unable to capture full lengths of the dresses which I ordinarily do not get to wear back home. While I think about my #GirlProblemNumber1789, take a look at some of the pictures:
The best part of Lisbon: Baixa and Belem
But the last two days were nice, I went to Baixa and Belem.
Belem is one of the most iconic districts of Lisbon and is historically relevant for voyages. Belem houses some of the most famous tourist attractions including Belem Tower, Jeronimos monastery, Botanical Gardens , Discoveries Monument overlooking the Tejo estuary. One of the best travel experiences you can have in Lisbon is to spend half a day in Belem. I went here about 2-3 times and highly recommend it. Do try Belem Cakes/Custard Tarts if you have a sweet tooth!
In fact, the custard tarts are so good, I went back to Belem a day before I left Lisbon. I also stepped into the Cultural Art Museum where they had an exhibition themed “Your Body Is My Body”
Some of the art work was excellent, I mean everything around the sex exhibit was fine but I am talking about the normal art work. And the rest of them, were not. Far from excellence, to put it lightly. This reminded me of one of my daughter’s artwork: 3 girlfriends and one of them is apparently peeing.
Baixa: Downtown District, Lisbon
With two more days left in Lisbona,a large part of my trip is over. So I decided to spend as much time as I could in the hip-and-happening district of Baixa. It’s one of the most beautifully set arcades with decadent exteriors, probably why it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. They have a great collection of shops, restaurants, cafes and apartments here.
I remember walking in Baixa, with a lot of things weighing on my mind. I’d missed celebrating my husband’s birthday for the first time in 7 years and was missing my daughter too. I decided to make the most of my credit card and ate to my heart’s content. Shopping in Europe is not that cheap but I did find a few buys for me and my family.
The second time I went to Baixa, I decided not to take pictures.
I walked to the famous El Corte Ingles a huge departmental store, housed with shops, services, apartments and everything else in 1 arena. I just walked till I got tired, found a place for dinner, and checked up on emails, wondering how it’d be to live in Lisbon.
You’d think I was crazy getting so emotional but I was genuinely sad about leaving Lisbon.
I had such fun exploring the city on my own, something considered very unsafe back in India. I have been to parts of Europe and Portugal is unlike anything.The people have been kind, very unlike Europe despite the language and color barriers between us.
I wish I could have stayed longer
Unfortunately, I couldn’t spend more time on the beach or go to Sintra, but I guess there’s a reason to come back.
Lisbon, you will be missed.
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Stay tuned to this space as I talk about my next stops, Liverpool and Port Sunlight, UK.
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