Day 13 - A Long Bus Ride to Portugal's Bustling Capital
On a map, Portugal looks rather small, but our journey from the Algarve to Lisboa which is halfway up the Atlantic coast on an "expresso bus" took four hours which included only a few pickups in other resort towns. We sat in the first row so had panoramic views out the front window. I was struck by how dry everything looks. Only the olive trees seem to thrive in such an arid place.
Here in Lisboa we are staying in a beautiful Art Deco hotel called Hotel Brittania. It's in a quiet neighborhood within a 10 minute walk to the historic district. Our room is huge with an extra room with a small bed. Downstairs it has a replica of the barber shop that was here probably 60 years ago including all the antiques.
We spent a few hours at Calouste Gulbenkian Museum which is a collection of one man's historic treasures including paintings by Rubens,Rembrandt, Monet and Manet. Old vases from the Qing Dynasty were beautifully lit with brilliant colors I have no name for.
Years ago in Madrid, El Corte Ingles was my favorite department store, The one here in Lisboa has over 8 floors including a gourmet grocery store.
Dinner tonight was at Cervejaria Trinidade which was a monastery until 1838 when it became a brewery. Inside it's decorated with colorful Portugese tiles. It's huge and very popular. The line was going right out the door, but personally I didn't think the food was that great. The dessert was tasty, but our cod fish was served casserole style and reminded me of something you might get at a buffet. To get to this part of town was quite a steep climb, but the views were amazing.
Walking back to our hotel we passed a funicular that takes tourists to the upper town. It looks very old with varnished wooden seats inside. We decided not to pay the $5 fee and walked down beside it. I wondered aloud if I had ever been on that exact one back when I was 14. I remember riding a funicular and thinking it was old back then too. I wish it didn't have graffiti on it, but actually no one seemed to mind. We'll spend some time checking it all out tomorrow.