We had been staying overnight at Canada Water in London’s docklands and needed to be up at 3.00 am to catch a night bus to Liverpool Streer for the Terravision express coach out to Stansted Airport. Our Ryanair flight to Lisbon was one of the first flights to depart, and after boarding, we were soon asleep until our descent into Lisbon.
The Metro station is connected to the airport making it easy for us to transfer to our hotel in the central business district. It was only 10.45 am when we arrived at the Hotel Jorge V but we were pleased to find that we could check in and have access to our room straightaway. The room was bright and functional with a small balcony from which we spotted a cafe opposite, so we headed there for a mid morning snack before starting exploring.
A short walk from the hotel was one of the funicular lines, so we jumped on board, sitting on highly polished traditional wooden seats, riding up one of Lisbon’s steep hills. A few photos up there admiring the view, then back down the hill and onto the main square, ‘Praco de Commercial’, a vast area, almost deserted this afternoon with a thick mist rolling in from the sea.
Feeling chilly, we warmed up with hot chocolates and a delicious Portuguese custard tart each in a traditional old cafe. Next, it was a ride on one of Lisbon’s old yellow trams which rattled its way round sharp bends and up the steep hills of Alfama to the castle, Castello San Jorge.
We walked around the ramparts, taking in the views and then returning downhill just in time to take the iconic ‘Elevador de Santa Justa’ (elaborate old iron lift) before it closed for the day. This connects the districts of Baixa with the higher level Carno district. Along the top is an ornate, gothic iron bridge leading to viewpoints over Baixa and the River Tejo. After a short rest back at our hotel we decided to eat dinner in the Chiado district as we had heard there were many small, local restaurants.
The one we selected had traditional Portuguese blue and white tiling on its walls, was small and cosy with a friendly atmosphere. It was then back to the hotel for a good night’s rest.