Lisbon – a must if you like small laneways

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I have never been checked-in so quickly as with TAP at Newark. After a 6 hour flight, I already landed in Lisbon, Portugal. Hello Europe, long time no see!

I took the metro to Sao Sebastiao station, where mom already waited in our hotel room.

We enjoyed breakfast in one of the street cafés around our hotel and then bought a ticket for the hop on hop off tourist bus with Graylines for 18€ for 48h. We didn’t know that other companies existed too but afterwards it seemed to us that the more colorful Portugal Sightseeing buses were driving more frequently and were friendlier too.

Sometimes, we had to wait over an hour to hop back on, since there were no timetables at the stops and sometimes, there wasn’t even a clear sign. Some improvements could be done but otherwise, it was a very comfortable way to see the city. Plus, there was wifi on the bus.

First, we rode to Belem. It’s an area with pretty buildings. We took a nice walk along the river (It’s so big, we thought it was part of the sea.)

Everywhere, there are cute restaurants in the alleys and on the squares. When we looked for the restaurants where the Portuguese people ate, we always had the most delicious and really cheap food.

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When we completed the circle of the red line, I felt the jet lag kicking in and I first needed to sleep for two hours.

Afterwards, I was fit enough again, to go look for some dinner.

We found a restaurant in the center and the friendly Portuguese owners even offered us free port wine.

Good that after that big meal we had the possibility to walk the 40min back to our hotel.

The next day, after we waited an hour at the stop, we finally boarded a blue line bus. It took us to the Orient area which is impressive but not necessarily pretty.

Lunch we found in one of the cute laneways close to the main train station.

Then we continued the blue bus line and again landed on a hill from which we had an amazing view over the city.

Afterwards, we took another red bus to go back to the Docks in Belem for Happy hour. We calculated that the last bus should come by at 7.50pm. However, we missed it by a minute because I saw it drive off (although we were there early). Luckily, a bus from the other company came after that and took us with him although we didn’t have their ticket. A little luck comes in handy from time to time 🙂

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Back in the city, we had dinner in a steep alley from where we had a beautiful view on the houses and the castle that was lit up on the opposite hill.

Since the temperatures were climbing, we attempted to take bus 161 from Plaça España to Costa di Capricia for a beach day. It’s a cute beach town with the typical tourist beach shops and markets. The water was totally clear and there were nice waves. I wished I had a surf board. Even in October it was still hot. We stayed there the whole day and returned at 22.40 with bus 153. Even at that time we were wearing short clothes at 20 degrees 🙂

On our last full day we bought a 24h public transportation ticket.

We walk along the river in the city and then took tram 28 up to the castle where we found more cute laneways and more nice views.

Then, we took the tram back to the other side of the city, where we relaxed for a while in the shade of trees and palm trees. On the way back, the small tram was really crowded and unfortunately, we couldn’t sit anymore. We got off to try one of the historic looking cable cars as well. It brought us down a steep street while children were running along next to it. Once we arrived at the bottom in another small street, we had no idea where we were and the tiny printed map didn’t help us either, so we just took it back up again.

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At 7pm we were supposed to meet some Swiss friends for dinner but before that we had time to enjoy an appetizer consisting of olives, cheese and sangria in another restaurant with view on this pretty city.

Right on time, we walked to our meeting point and our friends were right behind us. We hadn’t planned to be in Lisbon at the same time. It’s funny how things sometimes work out. And it was nice to already meet some Swiss people before returning to Switzerland. Gradual acclimatization.

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Unfortunately, we let us drag in from one of the touristy restaurants. The food wasn’t as good as at the other places and had been more expensive too. It’s really worth it to look around a little. Therefore, we decided to go back to the place from our first evening for dessert, where for the second time, we enjoyed perfect food and service.

Afterwards, we said goodbye to Kurt and Ursula, they will be spending a few more days in Portugal. Mom and I took the metro back to the hotel, where I had to pack my suitcase for the last time.

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The next morning, we took the metro into the city center again to buy some of these delicious cream tarts but then returned to our breakfast café, where the waitress already knew us and knew what we wanted 🙂

Before we took the metro to the airport, we had time to go buy some Port wine in the biggest mall in Lisbon. From the outside El Corte Ingles doesn’t look big because it only has two floors above ground. Eight more floors are below ground.

At the airport, the line for check-in was pretty long but moved quickly. In the end, we arrived at our gate right when they started boarding. The last flight on this trip passed quickly and finally, I saw the Swiss mountains approach from the air and then we landed on the familiar airport surrounded by trees.

That’s how fast you’re suddenly back in your own country. I had my train ticket, I already got used to Swiss German in Honduras and Lisbon again and the weather was still nice too.

So far, everything here still seems the same. Which is very different from long empty beaches, palm trees and waves. But I guess I’ll get used to it again. At least we have really delicious sausages and yoghurt 🙂

Lisbon's Golden Gate Bridge

Lisbon’s Golden Gate Bridge

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On the road to the Cameron Highlands

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Before the bus left to the Highlands, I just had a slow morning and then walked through Chinatown by day, where I had lunch in a restaurant. I packed my backpack (I really need to pack with a system now or not everything will fit) and walked to Puduraya. At the ticket counter, they exchanged my ticket and told me which bus nr. I had to go to. I had to walk downstairs and there are doors and stairs to every bus number. However, the door to Nr. 14 was closed and there were many people sitting on the chairs around it. Luckily, I asked them whether I had to wait also and then a man showed me that I had to push a bottom and the door would open. I could go straight down into the cooled bus which was waiting already. I had to put my backpack into the luggage compartment and had the front seat again. A little later, I wished I hadn’t…The drivers way of driving wasn’t exactly calming to watch. He never checked the left side when he switched lanes. So, every time he moved from one lane to the other, I heard honking or screeching tires. Then, he often turned his eyes away from the street. Unfortunately, I asked at the first toilet stop whether there were any food stands. Since then, he pointed out any supermarket we drove by and ask whether he should stop. He also offered me one of his cigarettes. And every time he talked to me, he turned his head to look at me. I felt like in a movie, when the characters who are driving in a car and talk to each other never watch the road. And then, the curves started. It was a very winding road to get to the Cameron Highlands and often it looked like we’d hit the rock or drive off the road. So, I was really glad once we made it to Tanah Rata. The scenery on the ride was beautiful though! So much green forest and already some tee plant carpets. There also were quite a few bamboo huts with Orang Asli people living in them.

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It was already dark when I arrived at about 8.30pm but a tourism office was still open and they pointed out the way to my guesthouse. I received a thick blanket and linen and was guided to my room. German Sandra (a different one from the one I already knew) arrived at the same time as me and so we just put the stuff in the room and walked back to the main road to get some dinner. The temperature was quite agreeable, almost a bit chilly.

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We had dinner at the first place we found but it turned out to be very delicious and the prices are ok (Rosette). I could just as well have been on Mallorca though; German everywhere you listened. I’ve mostly spoken German during the last few days.

After dinner, we walked back to the hostel and I was glad that I wasn’t alone because there was a short section without street lights. Quite spooky. I wanted to go to bed early but the wifi was so good and so I tried to figure out how the rest of my trip should look like and it got pretty late until I finally turned the light off. What a good night’s sleep at temperatures below 20 degrees. We didn’t even need to turn on the fan 🙂

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