As my trip to Lisbon was not well planned in advance it had started with a bit of chaos and waste of energy.
First, straight after landing from a duty flight (Barcelona-Abu dhabi) I had the brilliant idea of testing my body’s strength and embarking myself on a full day journey back to Europe, as a passenger this time.
The traveler nightmare: no rooms available
As I was pretty tired due to a busy schedule in the past few weeks I totally mixed up the timings of my holiday and I book the hotel for a wrong date, which I realized only when I arrived at the reception. This wouldn’t be a problem if Lisbon would have not been packed with tourists that weekend, the rest of the hotels being ridiculously overpriced.
Before I manage to protest or curse the black moon that had apparently settled on my zodiacal sign, I try my luck with another hotel found online and even though my booking was confirmed I am greeted by a receptionist visibly distress who informs me: “sorry we are fully booked“. In the next second I am “pushed” in a taxi with an unknown destination: “our newly opened hotel, you will love it.. I promise”.
The bad luck of the previous day starts fading away and I am ready to take full advantage of my holiday in Lisbon. As I was promised, the hotel is located in the heart of the city, walking distance by the major touristic attractions, with plenty of restaurants and shops around. Happy for the beautiful day ahead I am wandering the tiny streets of Lisbon, losing myself in the multitude of colors and buildings that look alike.
First thing that triggers my attention is the huge statue of Jesus, inspired by the famous Christ the Redeemer located in Rio and considered one of the wonders of the modern world (I always wondered why). Smaller in size but nevertheless impressive, the statue can be seen from a plane and might confuse many travelers who are not aware of its existence fact proven by my instagram poll as well.
The statue is located on the other side of the Tagus River and the best way to reach there is by boat. I don’t think twice before I book my tour to the town of Almada excited not only to “meet” Jesus Christ but also for the breathtaking view over Lisbon.
What surprises me about Lisbon it’s this incredible resemblance with different parts of the world, a cocktail of beauty which can satisfy every taste.
The bridge simbolicaly named 25 de Abril connects the capital city with the small town of Almada and it’s often compared with the famous Golden Gates of San Francisco, while the view over Lisbon takes me back to Istanbul and the mesmerizing view from Bophorus.
The giant statue of Jesus (Cristo Rei) was built as sign of gratitude for Portugal being spared of the effects of the World War II and now is blessing the city with his arms wide opened together with other religious symbols so important for Christianity.
The entrance to the park it’s completely free while the admission to the viewing platform it’s just 5 euro and is totally worth it, especially on a sunny day.
Also here I had to fight the crowd for a good picture…but Hey! I am expert on that.
Boca do Vento
I decide to take advantage of the two hours left until the next ferry arrives, trying to discover more gems hidden in this beautiful town of Almada. Advised by the locals I follow the path which takes to the panoramic elevator Boca do Vento and from there I continue my journey towards the port.
I do often stops on my way trying to immortalize the beauty of the landscape and the colorful buildings covered with murals but some areas seems a little bit sinister even for an “experienced” traveler like me.
Tower of Belem
The next stop on my list is the district of Belem which can be reached by boat or by car, being part of the capital Lisbon. The main attraction here is Belem tower that used to serve as fortress and ceremonial gateway and now it’s packed with tourists eager to catch the perfect picture… I am one of them and I don’t give up easily on my purpose even though hundred people are roaming around.
Pastel de Belem/ Pastel de Nata
Another thing that Belem is famous for are the super tasty pastries originated in this part of the city, the recipe being created by the monks of Jeronimo monastery and kept a secret until today. However, other replicas of Pastel de Belem can be found all around the city, under different name and you can’t leave Portugal before trying one of them.
A dessert to die for and my favorite way of starting the morning during this holiday.
Jeronimo monastery in Belem
As Lisbon is straching over 7 hills there are plenty of view points (miradouros) above the city and I wouldn’t end the day without visiting at least one of them. My favorite is located in Alafama district not far away from the hotel and the view over the red tiled roofs and the blue ocean it’s breathtaking, being undoubtedly one of the reasons why I decided to visit Lisbon.