What I loved about Portugal up until then was repeated in Lisbon—the great variety of affordable public transportation, the streets and buildings full of character and occasionally color, the hills and rivers leading to scenic views, the blend of modernity and disrepair. It's got character, but the modern additions are done practically. It's affordable. It's beautiful. Portugal is a country I would happily live in. An evening and a morning aren’t enough to really explore a city, but I loved what I did see of Lisbon.

In the evening, I walked around the area of Campo Mártires da Pátria to the Barrio Alto, down to the Río Tajo. If the hills of Porto tired you, Lisbon will be exhausting for you. But there are some interesting vehicles, like inclines and elevators, to help.

Perhaps because of the massive amount of tourists they receive,

Strange Birds in a Park, LisbonStrange Birds in a Park, LisbonStrange Birds in a Park, Lisbon

there was a really nice variety of international food, as well as vegetarian places. Living in Galicia, I appreciate that locals don’t expect me to be a tourist, but it also is sometimes nice to have other eating options than ham, bread, octopus, and tortilla . In the morning, I walked around the Alfama neighborhood, which is known for fado music. It was too early in the day to expect fado music, but the neighborhood felt genuine and untouched by the hordes of tourists that surely pass through. I don’t know what it is that charmed me so much, perhaps the winding, sloped pedestrian-only alleys, maybe the older woman speaking from her window to a friend in the park below, the streamers left up from a party, or just the stereotypical feel of ‘old-world Europe’.

I’d love to go back to any part of Portugal, and I still want to see Sintra, Xures park, the Algarve . . . Out of the places in western Europe that I’ve visited, I would suggest you visit Portugal


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Justina Botelho

Justina Botelho

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