Friday, June 21, 2013

Day 2 in Lisbon, Walking Tour, Getting to Know the City

I got up around 9:30 am for breakfast this morning, the last minute breakfast rush begins around 10:15 am at this hostel.  Breakfast is officially over at 10:30 am, the late risers get in right before it is over.  My only plan for today was my hostel's free walking tour.  I will be in Lisbon a week, so there is no need for me to rush to fit everything into one day.

After breakfast, I got all my things and was ready for the walking tour.  The tour began late, around 11 am, was no big deal, the 10:30 am is an earlier start than most of the walking tours I have been on.  This was also my first hostel sponsored walking tour, I had a good impression of the hostel based on my first night here, so I expected the walking tour would be good too.

Our guide met us, apologized for being late, I went back to get my hoodie, it was a little chilly outside, and we began the tour.  The guide introduced himself, I had already met him at our hostel's dinner last night.  He gave us a brief rundown of Lisbon's history and then we started our walk.

The first part of the tour was  the main square, I had visited this square yesterday, when I walked to the river before the hostel's dinner.  Our guide gave us some history of the square, which I no longer remember, then we walked to the African district. The African district is just off the main square, there were many men wearing traditional and Muslim garb.

Lynnae at Fountain in Main Square
The guide explained that on Friday's the Africans sold food and other things, he said they can live like they do in their home countries.  The square the Africans occupy is known as tolerance square. There is a memorial to Jews who were massacred in Lisbon in 1506.

Memorial to Victims of the Lisbon Massacre 
From the tolerance square, we walked to another square with a lot of construction, our guide said the square was busy during the summer, kids playing in the water and families relaxing, trying to get some relief from the heat.  After our stop in this square we began to climb one of Lisbon's 7 hills. We walked through Lisbon's residential neighborhoods on our way up the hill, towards the castle that sits on a hill above Lisbon.  We saw street art as we walked through the neighborhoods and there were many decorations, our guide explained Lisbon had recently celebrated Saint Anthony's festival.

Lisbon Street Art 

Lynnae in Lisbon Neighborhood
We continued our walk up the hill, visiting Lisbon's castle was not part of the tour, I will do that independently another day.  At the top of the hill we were in the Alfama district, our guide took us to a spot with a great view of the city, this was the second  great hilltop view of the city we saw on the tour today. Lisbon has so many hills, almost like San Francisco, there are great views all over the higher parts of the city.

Lynne in Alfama district
After visiting the Alfama district we made our way back down Lisbon's hills and walked towards the square near the Tagus River. All of the square's monuments are being restored, they are covered, we could not see them but our guide described them to us and their significance.  We walked from the square to the place where we would end our tour.  We took a group picture, our guide gave dining recommendations and we tipped him for the tour.  The free tours are tip-based, you always give a tip, so they are not really free, but often end up costing less than paid tours.

Walking Tour Group 
I went to get Frango piri-piri, Portugal's traditional roasted chicken after the walking tour, others from my group returned to the hostel.  After lunch, I went back to the hostel to relax.  I had an uneventful day, met some new hostel mates from China, Taiwan and Belgium.  I went to the 6.90 euro Portuguese buffet for dinner, our guide recommended it and the food was good.  The rest of my evening was quiet, hanging out at the hostel.

Day 2 in Madrid Photo Album

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