Even though I hadn’t had much sleep the last few days, I was wide awake at 7am.
I got up and headed to the kitchen to find the complimentary breakfast laid out – coffee, juice, buns, ham and cheese, cereals and some jams and jellies. It was actually a pretty decent spread. I made a couple of sandwiches and headed over to the dining area where I found this older woman, probably in her 50’s eating across the table.
“Hi I’m Todd. Where are you from?” I said to her. The phrase would be used several more time through the coming days and I’m sure months.
Anyway, she introduced herself as Ulricke from a small village in the eastern part of Germany. She was on a two month working holiday in Portugal and was actually checking out the next morning. I found that she was from eastern Germany fascinating as she was obviously old enough to have lived through two different lives – one before the wall came down, and one afterwards.
After talking for an hour or so, we parted ways and when I headed into the kitchen to drop off my dishes, I came upon Keissi and Johanna – two girls I had met the night before also from Germany. They were talking about their plan to head on a walking tour of Lisbon in a hour and I kind of invited myself along – I tell ya, pushy Canadians!
The walking tours are done every morning at 11am and take about 2 hours. Our guide, Goncalo, was very personable and also very informative. Through several stops on the tour he would talk about the gallant history of his beloved Portugal. It was probably the best way to learn about the city and country and I would highly recommend his company.
After the tour, we were ready for lunch. We stopped in this little cafe and each ordered their 5€ meal which included a spinach soup, a sandwich of your choice and fresh orange juice. Quite the deal.
One of the things we saw on the walking tour was the long bridge in the distance leading to the nearby city of Almada and their crown jewel – the Cristo-Rei – a giant Christ statue overlooking Lisbon.
After walking for what seemed like forever we finally found our bus stop to take us over. On the first stop after the bridge we could see the statue was right there (mind you uphill quite a way, but still, it was close).
I, being convinced this was the stop, hopped off while Keissi and Johanna instead went to ask the bus driver. Anyway, long story short, the bus door closed with them still inside and I ended up walking about 5 miles uphill through a residential neighborhood to reach the statue.
After taking in the spectacular view, we headed down the mountain to the ferry terminal to go back to the hostel to freshen up before going to dinner.
We ate an an authentic Portuguese restaurant around the corner. Wanting to try a little bit of everything even if we didn’t really understand the menu, we decided to order 3 dishes and share them.
We order the grilled shrimp (a dozen spot prawns hanging on a spike over a huge dish of warm butter), some Portuguese pork meats and fried whiting fish.
Finished off with a 1/2 bottle of white Portuguese wine, the meal was a perfect way to end a perfect day.