Castles and Streetcars and Food, Oh, My

The Flag of Portugal Flying Over Castelo São Jorge.
The Flag of Portugal Flying Over Castelo São Jorge.

St. Geroge’s Castle was a medieval defensive position. It is a ruin these days, but has fantastic views (probably the best) of Lisbon and the harbor. We visited on our first day in Portugal.

We woke up amazingly early considering everything and went down to a fantastic breakfast buffet that I miss as I type. There was fruit, and lots of it. Some of the fruit was even better than what you can get in the Imperial Valley. Not the watermelon, though. That was ordinary. The peaches, now, those were special. After breakfast we put on raincoats and grabbed umbrellas, because, unlike in normally rainy Ireland, where the sun shone brightly, normally sunny Portugal was experiencing thunderstorms. (Never actually heard any thunder, but it was raining hard enough for it to be a thunderstorm, as The Weather Channel said.) We walked down the street (there is no level ground in Lisbon, or at least not enough to worry about) to a Metro station. Then we got involved in trying to purchase all day passes for said subway. A couple of the vending machines were broken entirely, and we had difficulty using one that wasn’t. Couldn’t figure out how to get the screen to display English, for one thing, and even reading Portuguese isn’t all that easy and fun. Finally, a Metro employee, a very nice man, started helping everybody out. He got us our daily passes, without the additional ferry passes that we’d have opted for. €6 per day. As an individual ride is €3.50, that’s a heck of a bargain. So glad that our efforts didn’t work, in the end. (Three days later we were able to reload the cards, using the English option on the vending screen.)

A Lisbon Daily Metro, Bus, and Tram Pass
A Lisbon Daily Metro, Bus, and Tram Pass

After transferring to a different line (green, where the first one was blue) we made it to the neighborhood of the #28 Tram. There are a few old fashioned tram lines in Lisbon, most of them having been converted to light rail. The most famous of these classics is the No. 28 Tram, which winds up and down to the Castle. When we got to the boarding place, there was a long line. After buying an aux cable to replace the one I had that was not working properly, we skipped the line and called an Uber, who got us most of the way up. We had to walk the last quarter of the way up, but that was okay. The views from the castle were absolutely fantastic.

We want this house! A view of the back yard of a house from one of the castle ramparts.
We want this house! A view of the back yard of a house from one of the castle ramparts.
Tami took this shot of me peeking out of the highest rampart.
Tami took this shot of me peeking out of the highest rampart.

In Portugal, the food is mostly quite good. Including at the restaurant, just below the castle, where we ate lunch. Too bad I’ve completely forgotten the name, but if you’re ever there, and stumble onto it, you’ll be glad you did! (Endorsements-R-Us!) We didn’t want to walk all the way back down, so we walked down in the direction that we had been told would lead us to the #28 Tram. It did, but first, we checked out the Museum of Decorative Arts.

Transportation In The Lap of Luxury. Once Upon A Time.
Transportation In The Lap of Luxury. Once Upon A Time.

We got a discount admission because the main room (that’s what they call it) was being renovated, or repaired, or some such term. We did see a lot of interesting decorative items, including a backgammon table, with pieces set up on it. We did not play, which is good as I always lose. Tami must cheat, huh? 😉

All Set Up for a Game, and no one can touch it.
All Set Up for a Game, and no one can touch it!

The #28 Tram runs right past the museum, so it was easy to get a ride back down. The #28 is famous for being exciting, and so it was. Not at first. In fact I was beginning to think it was a tad dull when suddenly the old streetcar lurched headlong right-left-right-left, swerve, screech, stop! Wowzers! It was fun! The Tram stopped right by a Metro stop which we used to go back to the hotel. We rested (tourism is tiring) and went to dinner at a restaurant just a few doors away from the hotel. I ordered bife do peru. Guess what that is, and no fair if you know Portuguese. Go on!

Turkey breast filet on a bed of French fries. No kidding. And after that, nothing would do but watching a James Bond movie (in English) and lazing around ’till bedtime.

Bom noite!

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