There’s nothing like a spring clean! We got up early and stripped the duvet and sheets, and headed off with all the laundry and our tokens to the washing machines. We ended up filling three! Luckily no-one else was doing their washing so early on a Saturday morning. After breakfast, whilst waiting on the tumble driers, we tidied up Oscar and cleaned the carpets. He’s now looking spanking new and gleaming again.
Mission accomplished, we set off to Lisbon. The drive was a relatively short hop, and we found our hotel effortlessly. Fortunately, just as we pulled up, a car drove out one of the five parking spaces reserved for guests outside the hotel. Bingo! No more underground nightmares for Oscar!
We quickly deposited our bags and set off to explore the city. This weekend in Portugal is Carnival weekend, and annual cerebration of giving up meat for lent. So as we walked out of our hotel, we heard the loud noises of drums, and a parade along the main Avenida da Liberdada leading into the city. This road is similar to the Champs-Elysees in Paris, but for today, they had closed it to traffic for the parade. So we wandered down into the city, admiring the gorgeous architecture, with many of the old houses painted yellow or blue, nearly all with beautiful wrought iron balustrades, and some with the now familiar tile facades.
First we headed for the waterfront, and enjoyed a very relaxing drink sat in the sunshine, watching the world go by. The cafe looked out over the huge Praca de Comercio, which claims to be Europe’s largest square, and adjoins the Rio Tejo. We then set off for the old town and Castelo de Saint Jorges.
It was a steep climb up, but after our recent series of munro bagging walks, we found this walk only a moderate exertion. We passed the cathedral, an excavation for Roman ruins, then made our way through the charming narrow cobbled streets up to the Castle. On the way back, Howard decided on a tortuous route back to the hotel, winding our way through the old city, and by the time we flopped back into our hotel room we were at the 20,000 step mark.
A nice hot bath and a Hendricks later (yes – our hotel has Hendricks!), I am feeling a whole lot better, and we are just off to sample an authentic Portuguese restaurant.
So far, we have found Lisbon quite superb. It is a charming city, with plenty of open spaces, elegant squares and beautiful buildings. What’s not to like?