Rocky Lisboa

6/21/10   –   1:44

Lisbon, Take 2. A lot went on today, following pretty much the same pattern: Lisbon-specific stuff in the morning and afternoon followed by some pretty run of the mill stuff which is still pretty cool come evening and nightfall.

Morning saw me purchasing a Lisboa Card which gives you free admission to some monuments and free use of the trains, metro, and tram system which was pretty worth it. I did my fair share of walking, though, which sort of sucked because most of it happened during mid-day. Otherwise, a very pleasant day.

My first stop was the Belém district which is, as the Rick Steves guide puts it: “a pincushion of monuments” located very far from where I’m staying. My incompetency at reading maps and being patient made it so I walked about 3 quarters of the way there which is around 5 kilometers. Not fun. Oh, I also took a detour to the Museu do Oriente which was pretty interesting. They had a “Gods of Asia” exhibit which piqued my interest. I like how the Hindus have a goddess for prostitutes and transvestites. She cures skin diseases!

I then decided that I didn’t come to Portugal to see exhibits about Asia and made my way in the excruciating heat to actual Belem. I saw the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos which is a cloister monastery-mabob just like the ones I saw in Spain [so we needn’t have pictures of that] and then I realized I was famished. I stopped at Pasteis de Belem, a restaurant/pastry shop that got rave reviews from both the Let’s Go guide book and Lonely Planet. This means that there were throngs of tourists struggling to get their delicious pastries. Honestly, though. They tasted the same as the ones I got in Alfama, except with cinnamon and sugar topping [which was delicious]. Oh, I fear that the fame of this shop will destroy it. :/ The price you pay. The pastela de nata was definitely worth it, though. Then, I ducked into a local shop to get a drink. They had passion fruit fanta. I definitely had to try it and I do believe this tops Fanta limón as my favorite fanta flavor.

After that delicous treat, I made my way across the street to the Padrao dos Descubrimentos which is a monument to all the explorers that set sail from Portugal. It’s pretty spiffy and a lot bigger in person than what I was expecting from pictures. I took some photos in front of it. Maybe I’ll post on facebook. Once I get time. It was a pleasant walk from this monument to the next one, Torre de Belem, which was the last sight sailors saw of Lisboa before they left for the new world and the first thing that welcomed them when they came back. The spiral staircase in there was probably going to be the death of pretty much everyone in there because it was so narrow and steep. Good views from the top, though.

I took the tram back to Baixa where the hostel was and attempted to go to a buffet which I thought was open on Sundays. Apparently not. I went to the supermarket next door instead. I got a package of bacalhao and chick peas as well as some soup of unknown origin. The bacalhao [cod] and chickpeas were really good. The soup was good as well. For only 3-ish euro! Nice job, traveling cheap. I made small talk with another Japanese couple [there are so many!] while I was making lunch. They were making あさづけ which sounds delicious. I’m adding it to the list of things I want to try to make when I get back. But yeah. I wanted to nap, but my day was just too busy for that shizz. I made my way on the metro back to the Alfama and was ready to get into the Panteão Nacional but as my luck would have it, it was closing within 10 minutes and they wouldn’t allow me in. Oh psh, I didn’t need to see Vasco da Gama’s tomb anyway. I’ll see the for rlz Pantheon later on in my journey. I metro’d over to Parque das Naçoes and enjoyed that part of Lisbon very much. It’s a lot more modern than Baixa and Belem and it’s filled with interesting architecture and well-manicured gardens and shopping centers. You know what else it was filled with? The Oceanário of Lisboa. I paid the entrance fee and halfway up the ramp to get in, I said to myself, “you hate the ocean. Why are you doing this?” It was a good time, though, so my subconscious and its second-thoughts can go suck it. I really enjoyed this aquarium. But I mostly spent time looking into the sea otter tank. That little guy just made me so happy. I wanted to pet it but it was too far away. Otters are great. I also purchased a souvenir shirt that I wasn’t intending on purchasing, but so it goes. Who can say no to a 4,90 euro shirt? Bet you can’t guess what color it was.

I walked down the Parque which is located right on the water, and there were lots of green spaces and gardens and benches which was very nice. They even had a series of small man-made hills so you could lie down on a hill if you wanted to and just chill. I took advantage of that. Further down in the restaurant area there were people going crazy decked out in yellow and green. Brazil was playing [Cote d’Ivoire?] and they won. They had all their [voodoozuelas, booboofellas, mooshoosellas] loud buzzing noisemakers to celebrate the victory and it was just Portuguese everywhere.

By the time I got back to Restauradores, I was pooped, but I kept on going once I saw that there was a ginjinha place right there. Ginjinha is a Portuguese liquor made from sour cherries. They’re sold by the shot in Ginjinha shops and they’re sort of delicious. It’s a bit strong, but so is the taste of cherries. I approve, Portugal. I got back to the hostel and talked to Miriam from Dublin who I met on my first day here. She was going out to find a Brazilian bar and we made plans to go together. I also made acquaintance with the guy in the bunk underneath me. He’s from Ukraine, but is studying in Greece and his name is uhm. Bisilio. Visilye. Bizilye. Something slavic like that. They’re all cool people and we’re all traveling alone.

I ended up going out to find the bar with Miriam and we found the first location to check out. It was actually a house party to celebrate Brazil’s win, and they had live music. The atmosphere was pretty electric, but there wasn’t too much to drink there. We ended up taking a cab all the way through Alfama to another place where we stayed for a while. Miriam, the sweet girl that she is, kept buying me beers because I ran out of money. At first, I was like. Ouch. My man-pride. But she kept insisting. Ah well. Miriam’s great. She’s interesting and we talked a lot about everything. Including the annoying people who are on the other side of our hostel room, what she thinks about Americans, and what I think about Ireland as viewed through the book Angela’s Ashes. The African music at that one place was good too. She lives and works in Madrid so she gave me her number and said we should go out again once I make it there. I plan on taking her up on that offer. We stopped at McDonalds on the way home and I had the most satisfying snack wrap of my life.

So ended day two in Lisboa. I’m off to Sintra tomorrow, and now I have to sleep because I’m waking Zibsilyfda up at 7 so he doesn’t miss his flight back to Greece.

– Over and out.

One Response to “Rocky Lisboa”
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  1. […] They have the completely Portuguese pasteis de nata [I had the original, called pasteis de Belem, when I was in Portugal]. And some sort of almond floury cookie thing that is Macanese and is basically Filipino polvoron […]

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