Our first day in Lisbon
We stayed in Lisbon during one month and there are several posts about our trip. At that time I used to write long and detailed blog posts, so… please be patient. LOL If you want to look for something more specific, please use the “search” bottom on the top right corner and maybe you will find what you are looking for. Happy travels! 🙂
We arrived in Lisbon coming from St Maarten with a connection in Newark airport.
The departure of our flight (United) at Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) had a delay of TWO hours! Fortunately this fact didn’t disturb our trip because we had a “comfortable connection” of many hours at Newark.
The flight from Sint Maarten to Newark is great because it takes only four and a half hours. It was a pleasant trip.
We went through immigration at Newark and the officer that welcomed us was very friendly and funny. He read on my I-94 “transit to Lisbon” and by mistake he said “Oh, you are going to Spain”. I said “please don’t say this or the Portuguese people or they will be mad with you. As Brazilian I become mad when someone says that Buenos Aires is in Brazil” . (of course I said this smiling!)
He said ” oh my Gosh, where is my head? Sure I know that Lisbon is in Portugal and yes, I read about some people mistaking Buenos Aires as being located in Brazil, haha”
We stayed chatting for a little more and it was time to go!
Our flight from Newark to Lisbon (Continental Airlines) was also delayed by almost two hours. We were not worried because we only would be able to receive the keys of our rented apartment at 10am and as the flight was scheduled to arrive at 7am we were supposed to stay put at the airport anyway, until it was time to go to the apartment.
So… the more the flight delayed, the best it was for us.
We landed at 9am and I got separated from my husband because he went to the “foreigners lane” and I went to “European Citizens” lane. This is one of the many advantages of having dual citizenship while traveling to Europe.
Immigration lane for foreigners was very small and my husband got his clearance in less than 2 minutes. For me the lane was nonexistent. 😀
We waited a little bit at the terminal and while we waited I bought a prepaid sim card for my iPhone 4s. I bought it at a kiosk located at the terminal. It is from Vodafone and cost 15 Euros + 5 Euros for the chip. It will give access to 600MB of data by month BUT…….. although I gave only four quick phone calls and checked email a few times, I have only 4 Euros remaining. Ten Euros had already vanished. 🙂
I will need to add more credit tomorrow or the day after tomorrow!
Note that I am turning “cell data network” OFF the whole time otherwise the iphone keeps looking for updates and all credit would have gone almost instantly.
If you are travelling with an iPhone 4S always turn mobile data network off and only turn it “on” when you want to check email. Then, turn it off again otherwise your pre-paid credit will go to “zero credit” before you even use your iPhone!
The taxi from the airport to where we are staying (near Praça Marques de Pombal) cost 16 Euros, including our four big suitcases. It is cheaper to go on a taxi by the meter than to buy a voucher at the Tourist Office Bureau at the airport (I asked there and it would be 21 Euros).
The apartment is very nice and the owner’s mother was there waiting for us when we arrived. The owner was really nice to let us enter in the apartment in the morning, because the check in would be at 2pm! If you want to rent this apartment while visiting Lisbon send me an email cecilia “dot” architect “at” gmail “dot” com and I will give you all the information to book this apartment.
She was in a big hurry and did not explain almost nothing on the apartment. Anyway, I can not complain because they were doing a favor to let us enter before scheduled.
She broke the water heater’s switch (called “caldeira” in Portugal and “aquecedor” in Brazil) while she tried to explain how it works. Anyway, the heater continued working, so…. no big deal.
The apartment is very nice, lots of natural light and beautiful views of Lisbon. It is located on the 7th floor and there is no street noise here. We had a great night of sleep!
As soon as we got rid of our luggage we went to have lunch in one of the best restaurants in Lisbon: Cervejaria Ramiro. This is a restaurant specialized in shells (clams, shrimps, lobsters, crabs). No octopus there but the food is really fabulous.
Cervejaria Ramiro: If traveling to Lisbon, don’t miss Cervejaria Ramiro. The food is excellent, the service is extremely friendly and the portions are huge.
We had six draft beers. They are small (this is nice because it is easier to keep the liquid cold). Draft beer is called “Imperial” in Portugal (in Brazil we call it “chopp” ). My husband had a “pastel de nata” for dessert and I opted for no dessert.
We paid 70 Euros .
The region where “Cervejaria Ramiro” is located is not very nice and we saw some “strange” people on the way. Anyway…. for someone used to live Rio de Janeiro where violence is a constant and where “strange characters” are abundant, we didn’t get scared or worried in Portugal.
Anyway, I think if you want to go there it is better to go during the day. I wouldn’t go there by foot, for dinner. After dark, I would recommend getting a cab.
We returned walking to “our” apartment in order to rest. We were tired after almost 24 hours traveling.
We slept like angels although the bedroom’s door makes a “grrrreeeerrr” every time we open it. So… if your partner goes to the bathroom you will listen “geeerrrrrzzzzz” . The hinges are in need of some oil!
Due to jet lag we woke up at 11 am.
We had breakfast and went to Rua Estefania 163 to buy the bus card. We bought the “Sete Colinas” card. If you have already been to London, it is very similar to the Oyster’s Card (although much cheaper!).
We are enchanted with people we meet in Lisbon. Everyone is helpful and polite. The owner of the small store that sells the “Sete Colinas” was very friendly and explained to us how the card works (although we had already read about it on the internet).
We went to Praça do Saldanha where we got the bus to “Terreiro do Paço” . There we saw “Praça do Comércio” (Commerce Square) and the Tejo River. There are ancient constructions, many of them covered with beautiful tiles.
As it was already 2pm, we found a charming restaurant where we had an absolutely delicious lunch. I ate squid as it was the “lunch special”, and my husband ate “pasteis de vitela com arroz e salada” (pastries containing veal accompanied by rice and salad). We had a “wine of the house” (750ml). Dessert was a huge chocolate ice cream with gridded almonds. Everything cost only 26 Euros!! WOW!!! I forgot to write down the restaurant’s name but we will return there and next time I will update its name here!
After lunch we “got lost” (on purpose) on the small streets and went all the way to “Castelo de São Jorge” (St George’s Castle). It was almost closing time so we decided to visit the Castle another day, whit more time available. No point paying 7.50 Euros (each) to stay there for a few minutes. In addition, we will read the Castle’s history in order to appreciate it with more detail.
We took some pictures of Lisbon from there. It is a great place to see Lisbon from the top.
When we where going down we visited some ruins of a house that was destroyed from an earthquake that occurred on the 18th century.
After a while walking along beautiful streets we came to the set of a beautiful church (I think it is located of Alfama neighborhood but I am not sure).
After walking more along the narrow streets we went to Terreiro do Paço where we got the 711 bus and got out at the Marques de Pombal square.
Tomorrow (March 22, 2012) it will happen a general strike in Lisbon! I am glad we are already here. Just imagine to arrive at the airport and not finding buses or taxis!
We stopped by a small supermarket located at “our” street and bought bread and spaghetti for tomorrow. I guess tomorrow I will have to cook because the restaurants will be closed due to the strike. 😦
We almost didn’t find bread at the supermarket. Everything was already gone. Probably people got prepared for the strike stocking food.
Till now we are enjoying Lisbon a lot! The streets are clean, the public transportation is great with new buses and excellent visual communication. We must take care with pickpockets because it is clear they are around…