Solo In The City - Lisbon Part 1
Tram In Lisbon
It dawned on me today that whilst I’ve explored many cities in various countries all over the world, I’ve never actually done it on my own, I’ve always had someone with me, either a friend or family member. Of course I’ve explore lots of different places in England on my own, been on holiday on my own, away for weekends, day trips, but just never overseas. I temporarily felt a little daunted I don’t mind admitting.
John went off to work and I studied my map to find out where the closest metro stop was and once found I wandered off in that direction. Finding the metro stop? No problem, getting a ticket? Another matter! I must have pushed every button on the machine in every combination possible and still 10 minutes later no ticket. Eventually I gave up and walked away wondering what to do as none of the booths were manned, then I decided to try another machine. It was then that I discovered that the first one was broken as within a minute I had a ticket in my paws! Soon enough I’d found the right platform, boarded a train and was heading towards Rossio Square which is said to be the heart of the city. I couldn’t wait to get up the stairs and out into daylight to take my first look at the city. First impressions – it’s beautiful, just from this square alone I had an inkling that I was going to like Lisbon. The city is built on hillsides and from here it’s an impressive sight as you look around to see colourful houses painted in yellows, greens, blues and pinks rising skyward.
A city would not usually be my first choice of place to be, but as the day went on it just grew on me more and more, it’s a city begging to be explored and was very quickly clawing its way into my top five of favourite cities.
I wanted to get my bearings today and get a feel for what this city is all about, there is often no better way to do this than by simply roaming, so I set off on foot along Rua Augusta, which is alive with street artists, through the Arco da Rua Augusta and onto Comercio square which opens out onto the river. From there I made my way over to the cathedral. The cathedral itself was much like a lot of cathedrals I’ve been to and was free to get into and wander around. You can pay a couple of euros to visit the cloister area behind the cathedral, which I did, this part was more interesting as they are currently excavating the grounds and have found remains from roman times.
I wandered around some of the back streets and spent a fair bit of time people watching today (still one of my favourite pastimes), down by the river and outside a couple of pavement cafes having coffees or lunch. I sat watching what I originally thought was some kind of protest, but after talking to a local man discovered it was good humoured rivalry between local universities – he couldn’t explain any further than that, but it soon became clear that they were all having a great time of it and during the day I saw several ‘gangs’ of university clad people walking around shouting and singing out at people and each other, well to anyone who would listen really.
Time flew by today and before I knew it I was on the train to meet John back at the hotel so that we could have dinner together as he had work to do in the evening. Today really whetted my appetite for Lisbon, so I spent the evening planning out what I wanted to do tomorrow.