We arrived in Lisbon in the late afternoon, and took a bus from the airport into the city. A bus which played music that flittered back and forth between not-quite golden oldies and what I can only assume were Portuguese classics.
So ‘Red Red Wine’ played as we sped along the highway and I noticed that the Wisteria was out, and that fact combined with the old limestone churches made me think of Fremantle.
And then something Portuguese played, followed by ‘What if God was One of Us’. The latter as we entered into the centre of town, or at least the part of town that hosted open shops and an abundance of Pastelerias. We rode down a street with a long stretch of pink, but there were soon other pastel colours dancing past. Lisbon is a city to make Sophia Coppola proud, although the reality veers away from pristine movie set and takes on more of a “Marie Antioinette meets The Med” tone, with dust and wires snaking around and through everything, and the kind of shabby funkiness that you see in all the southern cities, and which reminds me, forever, of my grandfather.
The first evening we arrived, found the hotel, and went out into the city. We walked to the sea, because we both miss it dearly, and ate Pastel de Bacalhau (Cod cakes- not to be confused with sweet Pastel de nata), because we try to stuff our faces with as much seafood as possible whenever we are out of Deutschland.
We walked some more, and ate some actual dinner (beans and clams, incredibly heavy), and saw the city at night.
I’ll admit that leading up to the trip, I had felt pretty stressed about the Lisbon part of the journey, the part before we’d be buffered by ten of our nearest-and-dearest friends. But it was honestly fine. A little lonely, but good. And so after the first evening, I already felt calmer.
And the next morning was filled with sun.
^The bright kind, that gets right into your eyes.
In the end, we had less than 24 hours in Lisbon, which wasn’t really enough time to see the sites.
So we had to set some priorities.
First stop, after a bit of negotiations with the tram, was a journey to San Jao castle, which granted the double benefit of being
a) fairly zombie proof (it is a castle), and
b) on top of a hill to allow VIEWS (Andy tends to like climbing things to look down).
After several unregrettable minutes spent photographing pink tree with red wall and blue sky, we travelled away from the road, following the masses a little further up the hill.
The view from the garden was ok, but not the most spectacular thing ever encountered. Points for seascapes, and the rather lovely tiles though!
The poses are not from me trying to look demure, but rather from not bothering to put on my sunglasses and trying not to stare directly into the sun.
The alternative is this:
For those of you with more diverse tastes, I can also offer Andy with tiles…
… and this guy with tiles…
Freud may have been wrong about certain types of envy, but Moustache Envy is a real thing. All women feel it. #allwomen
Anyway, we walked a bit more in the upwards direction, queued for quite some time, and managed to enter the castle.
It was dramatic, it was windy, and it had peacocks.
Those of you who went to university at Udub (the University of Western Australia) will know the feel of instant and complete college-life-reversion that can occur only through the shrill scream of an angry/hungry/horny/communicative peacock.
Also cats! I met a small boy who was was exclaiming loudly that both of these guys were dead. I think he secretly knew they were not, but wanted an excuse to poke them with his foot.
All in all, the castle was nice, but pretty much what you’d expect from a castle. After an hour or so, I was ready to move on to more exciting things:
We walked down the hill through the city past a few beautiful urinals and some lovely architecture of the non-waste-facility kind…
Our ultimate destination was the Time Out Market, recommended by a friend.
Very crowded, pretty darn hip, and a great place to find both more fish-based pastels, and some of the cities best-rated Cream Pastels (Mantegaria has an outlet in one of the corners- and the Pastel de Nata come out warm!).
And then we wandered some more. Past yellow buildings and pink buildings and tiled buildings, and up into the Bairro Alto neighbourhood.
And then, eventually, our wandering days were over (for now), and we hopped back on the bus that would take us to the plane that would take us to the Island off the coast of Morocco.