Monday, June 24, 2013

Day 5 in Lisbon, Castelo de Sao Jorge

I started of my day, as I have every other day in Lisbon, with my hostel's breakfast at around 10 am.  My plan for today, visit Castelo de sao Jorge, Lisbon's castle sits upon a hill overlooking the city.  I have not rushed my visit in Lisbon, I am staying here a week, so I have taken my time seeing the city's sights.  I only had one destination today, and that was enough.  I considered also going to Museu Calouste Gulbenkian today, but decided against it when I learned it was in the opposite direction of the castle.

I left for the castle around 1 pm, again no rush to get moving when you have a week to spend in Lisbon. I suppose I could have gotten an earlier start to beat the midday heat, but I did not, I am no longer rushing on this trip, it is almost over, the goal now is to relax and enjoy my last few days touring Europe.

I knew how to get to Castel de sao Jorge, I had gone past it on my hostel's walking tour a few days earlier.  My first stop was lunch, I considered getting two pork sandwiches, a delicious Lisbon fast food, the pork is simmered in a spicy sauce, served on a roll.  I decided to try a restaurant next to the shop that served the pork sandwiches, one of my main reasons, I saw a lot of women at the bar eating.

I went into the shop and ordered the menu of the day, it was Frango, Portuguese roasted chicken, served with rice and peas. Everyone in the restaurant was ordering this dish, after looking at the English menu, I decided I would try it, even though I hate green peas. The dish I ordered was big, and I got it all for 6 euros.  The meal was delicious, Portugal has some great food, and this did not disappoint, I even ate and enjoyed the peas.

I continued my walk to the castle after lunch, it was hot, I walked slowly.  I took a break in a courtyard with a fountain and ate some of my Haribo Spaghetti, and drank some water. I continued up the hill, past many of the places I had seen on the walking tour.  I finally got to the street near the castle, I was not sure I was on the right route, then I saw the couple in front of me scaling the steep hill, I looked up, there was the wall of the castle.   I did not want to climb the hill in the Lisbon heat, but once I started it was not too bad, I was up to the castle's entrance in no time.

Lynnae at Entrance to Castel de sao Jorge 
There was a long line to buy tickets for the castle. There was a group from the Rotary Club, Rotary International is having a conference in Lisbon this week, they all got into the castle for 1 euro, the admission price for everyone else was 7.50 euros.  I got my ticket and headed up to the entrance of the castle, it reminded me of  the Moor's castle I visited in Sintra.  Once I went into the Castelo de sao Jorge, I could see the differences between it and the Moor's castle in Sintra.

I began by walking around the ramparts of the castle and enjoying the views of Lisbon.  I did not spend too much time on the ramparts looking at the view, I took a few pictures and moved on.  I finally found the entrance to the main part of the Castle and went inside to look around. 

Lynnae at Castelo de sao Jorge 
Reading about Castelo de Sao Jorge in the Rough Guide to Europe on a Budget, "it contains the remains of the Moorish palace that once stood there..." This explains why the castle looked similar to the Moor's Castle I saw in Sintra.  I spent time inside the castle, walking around, climbing up its towers, which also offer great views of the city.  I probably spent around 2 hours exploring the castle area, then it was time to get out of the heat.

Lynnae in front of Castelo de Sao Jorge 

Lynnae inside Castle de Sao Jorge
After the castle, I walked across the street and bought a cold bottle of water.  Lisbon is hot, I needed to cool off, and the bottles of water inside the castle area were tiny, I knew I could get a better deal once I was outside castle.  After I bought my water, I began my slow descent down the Lisbon hills towards my hostel. 

I hung out at my hostel until dinner time.  I considered eating at the hostel until I learned tonight was the Vegetarian menu.  I have eaten several meals at the hostel, was time for me to venture out into the city and try something different.  On our way back from Sintra our tour guide pointed out a restaurant called Hamburgology, specializing in Portuguese style burgers.  I set out to find it at dinner time.

 I had to climb another hill to get dinner, but it was worth it.  I got the cheese burger the woman at the counter recommended, she said that and the Portuguese style burger with a sunny side up egg were the most popular. I did not have a taste for an egg with my burger, I opted for the cheese burger. These are not American style burgers, no bread, they had one on the menu with bread, but I resisted my American temptation to select this burger.  The burger was delicious, the chips that came with it were OK, they were somewhere in the middle of a potato chip and french fries.  If I go back before I leave, I will get rice as the side for my burger instead of the chips. 

After dinner I went back to my hostel, walking to my room I ran into a new hostel mate, a middle-aged Russian woman.  She was looking for her door key, I had mine out and unlocked the door, that is how we began talking.  She immediately asked me if I would like to go for a walk, I said sure.  This was her first day in Lisbon and she wanted to see some of the city, I told her I would show her.  We walked to the Waterfront, the Russian seemed unimpressed.  She asked me, what else is there to see, she was interested in Alfama, an area with many Fado bars. We walked around this area, stopped at Le Se, Lisbon's Cathedral, and walked all the way up to the Castelo de Sao Jorge. 

Lisbon's Cathedral 

Lynnae at Tagus River on evening stroll
We got back from our walk around 10 pm, I gave my Russian hostel mate the walking tour I had gone on with our hostel earlier this week.  I spent the rest of the evening talking to my hostel mates, did some blogging and then it was time to go to sleep.  My Russian hostel mate says she is going to wake me up in the morning to do some sightseeing. I will see if I get up or roll over and get some more sleep.

Day 5 in Lisbon Photo Album

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