Great Travel Great People

One of the things I most enjoy about traveling is meeting and being with old friends and new friends. In a different setting you get to know each other’s stories while seeing some beautiful sites at the same time. This trip to Lisbon has been no exception.  

After some travel hiccups, the 8 of us made it to Lisbon, Portugal. I’m a teacher by background and I planned this trip for the group. With that in mind, I always plan more than we can possibly do–just to make sure we don’t run out of great places to see and things to do. This trip was true to form, partly because we started our activities a little later than we wanted to, after we all finally arrived and got settled.  

Day one in Lisbon was really a half day. We ate lunch at a restaurant recommended by our Airbnb Host, called Super Mario's. It was truly local food, and our host spoke only Portuguese. We arrived at the busy local lunch hour, but he made room for us and we enjoyed the food and the local atmosphere. 

After lunch we went to the Santa Justa Lift, an elevator that takes pedestrians to higher sections of the city, and enjoyed the top platform area for a great view of the city. From there we were able to see the Se Cathedral. We also met Manuel, the street performing Fado player. We enjoyed his music and he told us some interesting facts about Lisbon.

The Castelo de São Jorge was our next site. Many people groups had claimed the high hill as a fortress over the years including the Celts, Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Carthaginians, the Suebi, Visagoths, Berber and Moors. During the Kingdom of Portugal’s rule, the castle became the kings’ home and grew to include beautiful gardens.

Our day two adventures took us on a very very crowded tram ride to the Belem District of Lisbon. The area along the Tagus River is full of historical sites. We started at the Discoveries Monument commemorating the long history of navigational excellence of Portugal. 

The Tower of Belem is a 16th century fortress designed to be a key gateway for those coming and going in the Lisbon area. We also visited the Jeronimos Monastery constructed in the Manueline style including rope and nature images in the architectural style.

Probably my favorite part of the day was celebrating my son-in-law's brithday. We had the first celebration at the locally famous Pasteis de Belem cafe. We finished with their traditional, very delicious custard-like tart. Then in the evening we took the group back to Super Mario’s restaurant for birthday celebration #2.  

Mario is such a gracious, hard-working host. It didn’t matter that he didn’t speak English, his language of genuine service and hospitality came through loud and clear. He brought us special starters, house wine, and finished with the local port and an Almond cake for the birthday celebration. He even turned down the house lights and got the entire restaurant to sing Happy Birthday.

We’re already having adventures in Portugal and look forward to sharing more on our blog, FB, and Instagram. If you go to Lisbon, Portugal, and need a suggested itinerary, just ask!


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