After a bumpy 30 min flight between Milos and Athens, and a 4 hour flight from Athens (that was an hour late taking off), we finally made it to Lisbon.
We landed at midnight and decided to get the train to our hotel to keep the costs down, and it was just as quick (we thought).
With a trainline change and closed exits, we finally made it to our hostel by 1.30am…(3.30am Greek time). They like steps here too, and they don’t seem to like working escalators very much, which was great. Just the middle of the night workout we were hoping for!
After checking in we made our way to our tiniest bedroom (typical of the old suburb we were in) where 2 single beds were waiting for us. This was fine, we know this will happen a few times during our trip.
After 1 hour or so of sleep, I got awoken by Nick who had turned bright red all over his body and face, had hives, and was scratching himself like a maniac 😳
For a while we couldn’t work out what the cause of such an allergic reaction was, until we saw a tiny little bug on the side wall next to his bed. A bed bug! A bug clearly Nick is madly allergic to.
He ended up taking 2 anti-histamin tablets and after a shower (that did nothing) and chatting with the reception, we changed rooms for the remaining few hours of the night.
In the morning, the hostel offered to clean the room and give us a discount but we didn’t want to take the risk, so we decided to change hotel.
We booked a new hotel in a click of a button through Booking.com, 200m away from the first one and at a similar price.
This time the room was huge! Way above average for the area. It was very bright and great for what we needed.
After such a chaotic night we were quite exhausted yet excited to start our first day in Lisbon, and also to join my mum and step-dad who are exploring Portugal with us this week.
As they were arriving later that afternoon, after a lovely breakfast at Pastelaria Benard featuring chocolate croissants and cappuccinos, we decided to start our roaming in the old part of Lisbon, Alfama.
The streets are narrow, the view from the mirador is amazing and you get to see all of the beautiful buildings with different tiled mosaics as you walk around.
By 3pm we made our way back to Bairro Alto to meet with my parents and started visiting the centre using the walking tour map from the Rick Steves App as a rough guide.
Though we couldn’t listen to it along the way (my mum and step-dad don’t understand English too well), we got to see the main sites from Praça do comércio, Santa Justa lift, the fenicular (we couldn’t get on it as it was not working today), and stopped along the way to colourful shops selling a huge array of tinned fish; they sure love their sardines here!
Later in the day we wanted to have a drink at Park, a popular rooftop bar with a great view over the city, but it’s closed on Mondays (we’ll go tomorrow instead). We ended up near the market, on the water front for some nibbles and cold beers.
For dinner we made it to Casa da India, a Lisbon institution renowned for its traditional Portuguese cuisine.
A main was around 10€ and the portions are very generous.
- The hostel we’re staying at – Friendly Hills (not the bed buggy one) is perfectly located in Bairro Alto, which translates roughly to ‘high suburb’. We’re surrounded by great bars and cafes, and is the perfect location in central Lisbon.
- Though it has a misleading name, Casa da India is a great restaurant for traditional Portuguese cuisine.