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Exploring Abroad: With Love from Lisbon

Cynthia:  We’ve been wanting to visit this popular expat destination for some time. Sorry to report our trip to explore Lisbon got off to a rocky start. I don’t know what was going on at the airport, but the crowd waiting to get through immigration was massive.

Edd:  It took us a couple of hours there. When we got to the city we couldn’t find the Airbnb rental and were clickety-clacking our suitcases up steep hills over Lisbon’s tile sidewalks.

C:  After a red-eye flight from the States we were beyond exhausted when we finally arrived at the apartment.

E:  Our place was in a hip area called Barrio Alto. This was the view from the terrace.

C:  “Hip” means the bars and restaurants spilled out onto the streets, and patrons were eating and drinking until the wee hours. That, plus major jet lag, made the first few nights less than restful.

E:  We’re sharing this not to complain, but to make readers aware the self-planned, economical travel we do isn’t always flawless. Once we adjusted to our new surroundings, our visit to Lisbon was outstanding.

C:  The tiled buildings–the public squares–magnificent!

E:  Strolling down bustling Rua Augusta to the famous Arch at Commerce Square was a special highlight.

C:  I have to rave about all the public transportation options. Riding the old electric trolleys was the most fun. As it turned out, we rode them all the time because several lines were so convenient to our location.

E:  Throughout the city are miradores, or lookout points. What spectacular views!

C:  I was thrilled to discover jacaranda trees. We were so fortunate to be there when they were blooming. Hey, what did you think about the food in Lisbon?

E:  Lisbon’s heritage is all about the water, so no surprise that fish is a specialty and always well prepared. Interestingly, the sides seemed like almost an afterthought.

C:  The culinary revelation was a simple custard tart called Pastéis de Nata. OMG, when we tasted our first one still warm from the oven, my taste buds almost fainted!

E:  It truly was almost a religious experience, so it’s appropriate the original recipe came from the Monastery Jerónimos in Belém. We tried them there but, honestly, our vote goes to the ones from Manteigaria. They were so good we heated some for breakfast our final morning in Lisbon.

C:  One special evening performance worth mentioning was Lisbon Under the Stars. Our readers may not know that Lisbon was mostly destroyed by an earthquake and subsequent tsunami in 1775. The Carmo Convent is a testament to that cataclysmic event.

E:  Its Gothic arches survived the devastation and total collapse of the ceiling. Reconstruction was abandoned before completion, and the ceiling was never replaced. The multimedia show we watched within the walls tracing the city’s history was absolutely mesmerizing.

C:  Gosh, we did and saw so much during our two weeks in Lisbon. Even got to spend time with friends from Cuenca who have relocated there. Anything you want to add?

E:  We could go on and on because Lisbon is fantastic, and the people there are so welcoming. The weather was perfect. Most everyone speaks English. Excellent wine is super cheap. Let’s leave it at that and next time talk about a couple of fab day trips we took.

C:  Until then…

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