I had been sitting in the stuffy training room all week dying to start exploring Lisbon. At the first chance I got to escape from the hotel I had done an all nighter and I was absolutely exhausted. However, I would be leaving the city early the next morning so this would be my only chance to see the city in daylight. With that thought in mind, I set out with my friend to start exploring Lisbon.
With no guidebook and no fixed pans we started the day aimlessly wondering the backstreets of Lisbon. The steep hills surrounding the city have forced generations of Portuguese to build up rather than outwards. The result is a myriad of small winding alleyways and tiny streets that interlace and weave up the hillsides of the city, making this the perfect start.
After a few hours of wandering the backstreets, we decided to head into town. Walking down the larger thoroughfares seedy drug dealers hissed at us in stage whispers, offering the promise of hash (fools gold for anyone silly enough to believe them). After a 20 minute walk we finally hit the riverfront and decided it was time to start exploring Lisbon city centre.
Much like Geneva, one of the things you notice when exploring Lisbon is the architecture and grandness of the old buildings in the centre of town is at odds with the suburbs. Great imperial structures built by kings, nobility and businessmen rich on Brazilian plantations and Angolan mineral wealth. The irony is that the depressed property prices in Europe has made Lisbon an attractive place to invest, which is exactly what many Angolans and Brazilians have done, an example of a cultural history gone full circle.
As evening started setting in we came across the Elevador de Santo Justo. Lit up at night, this 147 foot high steel structure is an impressive sight. If we had only known we’d have headed up to the little cafe that is at the top and taken in Lisbon from this vantage point. Unfortunately we didn’t know about the cafe and so got lost instead trying to find our way home to our hostel. After a long day of walking exploring Lisbon I was completely exhausted and ready for sleep before my flight back to England for a holiday in Cornwall.