Little Star and I had been planning a European vacation for the summer of 2015 and as other plans worked out it ended being that November would be our best time to travel. Comparing the map of Europe to our travel bucket list we quickly realized that Portugal was one of the few destinations that would still have warm weather in mid-November. That’s how the plan began and after months of planning it kicked off on Friday.

Lisbon SkylineWe arrived at the Lisbon airport on a red eye from the States, quickly passed through immigration and got into a taxi. We reached the hotel around 9 am after dramatically over paying for a taxi. The reception area of the hotel – Teatro B&B – was nothing more than a hallway with a tiny desk and elevators to the rooms. The receptionist took our luggage and gave us a map with a brief overview of the city and sent us on our way. While she was not rude she was not as welcoming as I had expected. This turned out to be a theme of most of the people in Lisbon, no one was rude but they also weren’t overly friendly.

We wandered around the neighborhood for a bit and found a small pastry shop – Padaria Portuguesa where we stopped for breakfast. One of our favorite things about Portugal was all of the fresh and delicious pastries and coffees on every street corner.

The receptionist recommended we buy the 24 hour metro pass for €6 which turned out to be a great deal. It covers all the trams (which are very famous in Lisbon), the funiculars and the metro itself. We bought our passes and got on the famous Tram 28. This is where we quickly learned that the concept of personal space and queueing are not practiced in Portugal. People pushed their way in and loaded into every nook and cranny of that vehicle!

Pro-tip: Pick up a 24 hour metro pass for only €6. It includes not only the public transit but the funiculars too!

cryptsWe rode to the end of the line in one direction and got off at a very ornate cemetery full of highly decorated crypts. Ok – that part was a little weird. However at the back of the cemetery we were pleasantly surprised by our first views. We were overlooking the 25 do Abril bridge and the Christo Rei statue. We pushed our way back onto the 28 Tram and got off in the Chiado district near our hotel. We walked around and after much searching we found our way to the Santa Justa Elevator. We again took in more city views from the top before riding the funicular to the bottom where it lets off in Rossio Square. Our plan was to ride the funicular down, have a look around and ride it back up. However there was a huge line waiting to go up. We waited int he line for a while but we were short on time and decided to walk back up. Clearly we missed the point here by taking the funicular down and walking up!

sacramentoOn the way uphill we happened to stumble across the restaurant Sacramento which had been recommended to us by a friend at home. We headed in for lunch and found a lovely lounge atmosphere with relaxing music. Little Star ordered the shrimp curry – a popular local dish which she wanted to find on the trip and I ordered a chicken stuffed with sausage. The shrimp was excellent and the chicken was good. With our lunch stop and hike up the hill we were running out of time before our 2pm Segway tour and instead of unloading our bags at the hotel we went directly to the tour with our laptops and cameras on our backs.

Continue to Part 2