Thursday, June 20, 2013

Day 1 in Lisbon, Sleep Deprived from Overnight train from Madrid & Evening stroll to the Tagus River

I spent most of the day in the hostel, when I arrived, the woman at reception said the room would not be ready until 3pm but invited me to have breakfast. I am not sure what time I got to the hostel, I am guessing around 9 am, there were only a few people having breakfast.  I went over to check out what this hostel had for breakfast, much better than the 2 slices of toast in Madrid.  I could have bread and jam at this hostel, if that is what I wanted, but they also had pancake/crepes, sliced apples, tomatoes, and an assortment of crusty breads.  I got the pancake/crepe, fresh of the griddle, I put butter and fruit preserves on it, was one of the better hostel breakfasts I have had, even better, it was free.

I met an American from Seattle working at the hostel, she was making the pancake/crepes.  We talked for a little while, I was too tired from the train ride to have much of a conversation with anyone. She recommended I get one of their blankets and crash on the sofa, I finally found the sofa she was talking about, in the TV room.  I briefly considered going on the free walking tour, but I decided if I go, it would be tomorrow.  I have six days in Lisbon, there's no rush to cram everything in and push myself to exhaustion, that is how I got sick the last time.

When 3 pm finally rolled around, I checked into my hostel room.  I was happy, another bottom bunk, this was two hostels in a row.  This hostel makes up the beds, so it would not have been too bad being on a top bunk, however, life is still easier on the bottom bunk.  I took a 2 hour nap after checking in, I think I actually got some sleep in, rare for me with a daytime nap.

Before my nap, I asked at reception about the evening's dinner.  The woman said their chef was awesome, I decided for 8 euros it was a good deal, a three course meal, and it sounded healthy, cod was on the menu. When I got up at 5 pm, I decided I should see a little of Lisbon today, get up and walk somewhere, I asked the man at reception for recommendations.  He said a walk to the Tagus River would be good before dinner started and said it would only take me 10 minutes to get there.

I walked through the square near my hostel on my way to the Tagus River, there are two fountains and a statue to one of  Portugal's Kings.  There were a few people in the square, not as busy as squares in other cities, but a good amount of people, there were some stores and restaurants lining the square too.

Square near Hostel on way to Tagus River
I bought a bottle of water at a shop off the square and began walking in the direction I thought the river was in, the further I got down the street, I was able to confirm, there was water in front of me, I was headed in the right direction.  I walked over a couple of streets to get on the main street, there were more people there, a lot of activity.  It looked like they were setting up for a modeling show outside a museum on this street, people were gathered outside and in the museum's lobby. When I passed by on my way back to the hostel, nothing had changed, the show had not yet started.

After about ten minutes I got to the Tagus River, there was a nice view of Lisbon's Golden Gate Bridge, designed by the designers of San Francisco's bridge of the same name.  I could also see the Christ statue overlooking the river, a copy of a statue in Brazil.  There were tourists taking pictures and Portuguese, sitting near the river, enjoying the view and the weather. 

Lynnae at the Tagus River
I stayed at the river for only about 15 minutes before heading back to the hostel for dinner.  I got back to the hostel about 5 minutes before dinner, there was nobody seated in the dining area.  I got my computer and tried to get on the internet but the hostel's WIFI was not  working.  About ten minutes after 8 pm, people started sitting at the dining table.  I got my seat, I ate dinner with 4 Malaysians studying in the UK and an American law student beginning a year of studying abroad at Cambridge University. The dinner was great, the cod reminded me of the salt fish dishes prepared in St. Lucia.  The lemon pie desert was also outstanding.  The hostel dinner was 8 euros well spent.

Appetizers at Hostel Dinner

Soup at Hostel Dinner

Cod Fish and Salad at Hostel Dinner

Lynnae preparing to dig into the main dish

Lemon pie desert at Hostel Dinner
All that food for only 8 euros, not sure I could find a better deal if I had gone outside the hostel to eat.  Also, eating at the hostel, I got to meet some new and interesting people, did not eat dinner alone tonight.  I shared some of my CIA and FBI stories with my table mates, as most people are, they were shocked to learn the details of my background and what happened to me.  Other than that, we had everyday conversation about our travels, what our next destinations were, and they asked me what it is like traveling alone.  I told then traveling alone has been great, initially it can be a little scary, but once you get used to it, it is easy, and Europe is a great place for independent travel.  The Malaysians said I am a brave woman to spend all this time traveling alone, they also said, my CIA story explains my bravery.

Day 1 in Lisbon Photo Album

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