Lisbon, Portugal Day 19

The sleeper train last night was really cool, until about 2am, when this weird screeching sound started coming from somewhere below me, and I barely slept after that. I’m a really light sleeper, and once something bothers me, it’s hard for me to get back to sleep. It was a really nice compartment though, with my own bathroom with a shower and dinner and breakfast included. Oh, and bottle of wine too! I ask for a glass, and he brings a whole bottle and leaves it on the table. That’s what 1st class gets you baby!
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So I ask my train attendant for directions on the Metro on how to get to my hotel. She looks at my piece of paper and sort of makes a face and says, Oh, bad area. Hmm… in what way, I ask? She says that it’s fine during the day, but at night the hookers come out to sell their bodies! Oh joy! My parents are surely cringing right now. But you know what? It’s really not that bad. The Metro stop is literally right outside the front door, and it’s not even a 5 minute ride to the historic center, so the location is actually really good. The owners are a nice couple, and when I got here a little boy was manning the front desk, so I didn’t feel creepy being here at all. Not to mention, I was safely tucked in my room at 8:00, just in case the hooker thing is true, so don’t worry parental units! You raised a “safety first” girl!
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This is Campo Pequeno, the bullfighting ring. I am totally anti-bullfight, but did you know in Portugal it is forbidden to kill the bull? That’s nice.
Jeronimos Monastary.
So I bought a 2 day bus/tram ticket to give my feet a rest and see as much of Lisbon as I can. It was 25 euro, and I think totally worth it. I did the old-fashioned tram ride today all through the hilly neighbourhoods  around the historic center of Lisbon. Then I did one of the hop on/hop off bus rides and went to Belem, a community close by. It’s where the Jeronimos Monastery is, and the Tower of Belem. the line for the monastery was insane, so I decided to do the Tower instead. It was built in the 1500’s to protect Lisbon from invaders attacking via the river. It was solidly built, that’s for sure, this place was like a vault! First you explore the first couple of floors, then only the un-claustrophobic climb the stairs to the very top. This is a tiny, winding staircase that seems to go on forever, and it was so congested with people going both up and own that it got my heart rate going a little.
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The Tower of Belem.
This bridge looked almost exactly like Lions Gate Bridge, except it was red and has a giant statue of Jesus in the background. There are a lot of giant statues of Jesus on hilltops both here and in Spain.
This reminds me of chess pieces.
I love this shot!
I caught 2 guys skulking out of here looking embarrassed. On that note, in Spain the men were very respectful and would barely even look at you, but in Portugal, it’s just like France all over again! I could have not one, but two dates tonight if I had wanted to. And no, I didn’t want to.
This photo is a great example of what I’ve noticed about Lisbon, which is that it’s wealthy and shabby in very close proximity to each other.
One of the main squares.
Mmmmm…The Portuguese make good buns.
This is the main square in Lisbon, and apparently it’s one of the largest in all of Europe.
The funicular! Yes, it was fun. Notice the graffiti. It’s kind of disappointing just how much of it there is in Europe. Now I can really appreciate Vancouver’s efforts to wash/clean/paint over it. I like GOOD graffiti as much as the next guy, but graffiti just to destroy beauty or to tag it? Gross.
Since I got in at 7:40 am this morning, I was wandering around the city quite early. What I’ve already figured out is that Europeans are not morning people. Now that I can get behind! The vibe in the morning (well, before 2:00 actually) is completely different than later in the day. The streets just get packed with all sorts of people strolling around. Lisbon is a good strolling city, even though it’s hilly. Between the trams and funiculars, you don’t have to walk up any hills at all if you don’t want to. And today, I really didn’t want to.

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