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Late Doors

Lisbon, land of the shiny slippy cobbled pavements

Or Land of the Kings Bastards if the graffiti in Porto was to be believed

So we said Au Revoir to Porto for a couple of days and got the very very fast train down to Lisbon. 2 hours 50 Minutes South through the frankly not very pretty agricultural scenery.

We loaded up with a two day all inclusive travel pass for 8 Euros each that entitled us to unlimited public transport travel for virtually the entire city and outskirts of Lisbon including Trains, Trams , Metro, Buses and funiculars, excellent value

Well if Porto Was Leeds, all work, classy architecture and organised city life Lisbon was very much London with a higher level of city hussle and bussle bordering on the oppressive. Very much more ethnically mixed with a much bigger concentration of Africans and Americans on the Rik Shreeves Euro Trail. Cars Peeped and roared, people rushed more and the architecture was bigger and bolder.

I know what you’re thinking though, what colour were the dogs?  Well they clearly have a more libertarian view of our canine friends and all colours seemed to be welcome

Our hotel was quite a distance from the city but we were able to check in for noon again and took the 15 minute metro into Lisboa Central. The river was massive and unlike Porto there were no obvious Tourist water side areas just a huge line of crane laden docks so we headed up into Town through the massive but Spartan Placa De Commerce. First impressions walking up the Baixa were disappointing. A latticed of Streets and alleys all peppered with Tourist trap restaurants with Table greeters eying you as you approached beckoning and badgering you into their ubiquitous dens of identical mediocrity. I cant stand it. If anything is going to stop us going into a restaurant it’s someone beckoning us into it so we marched through into the more interesting and spacious North End. Its Noticeably hotter down I Lisbon so we tarried over a cold one in a roadside Café watching the hussle and the grand buildings catch the sun  as the assorted Africans gathered on shade covered steps in groups with their multi coloured robe type attire.

There are some truly splendiferous structures in Lisbon making bold statements all over the place. Grandiose squares with narrow alleys scurrying off them like spiders legs . The Dominant Castle St Jorge sat high above the media evil streets of Alfama to the near East  giving fantastic views across the city to the  Western Precinct of Bairro Alto where bars littered the lower levels of antiquated almost ram shackled town houses. All very charming though especially at night when colours take over the sun bleached day time. The area of Bairro Alto is obviously the bohemian younger element of Town judging by the mohicaned punk rockers and alternative scene but we had an enjoyable evening amongst them with cheap beer and an ace Moroccan meal.

Thursday saw us head out to the suburbs on the tram to the  seaside town of Belem with its wonderful monastery and estuary inlet location and not surprisingly another massive and bold architectural statement on the riverside.

I have to report a little behavioral discretion though ladies and gentleman of Reg. On the last night after returning to the hotel about midnight MrsD left me at the bar for a night cap Beer. I’d already sussed out the hotel bar was used by the staff and their associated dodgy acquaintances as their own private social club. Id suspected they were talking disparagingly about the guests on the first night but the staff themselves were at least superficially welcoming. Anyhow on the Thursday night this particularly obnoxious older women came in with a rough looking younger couple to chat at the bar with the barman who could well have been her son judging by the liberties she was taking walking behind the bar helping herself to stuff. You know the sort? They type of bitter old bint young hen parties from Wakey take with them to Magaluf because she’s a character and a laugh. She was slyly looking around disdainfully at the ever dwindling guest and muttered something to the others whilst I was paying the bill. They all sniggered at whatever she said I don’t know what it was but I’m guessing it wasn’t along the lines of me being a wonderful chap from a wonderful country. I’d had enough, the red mist came down and I snarled the only thing I could think of which was “Kings bastards”

For that brief moment time stood still and all those films like Custers last stand, The Alamo, Butch Cassidy, Aliens and all those other heroic shit or bust last stands collided in my brain. Fuck I thought, this is mad and I looked up. Fecking hell I nearly exploded with relief as all four of them clammed up and looked everywhere and anywhere except at me and the manager came rushing around. The last remaining Guest scurried off and I pointed at the, ahem, women to snap “shut it”. I left straight away to let the manager deal with it, chuff knows what he did, we checked out early Friday Morning and that was that. Not a word to MrdD about this you lot, alright?.

So that was the only blight on a truly wonderful week. We took the train back North for another two nights in Porto, chilling, wandering, exploring and discovering more and more little gems in and out of the tourist domains. Ace, my kind of Holiday

We had some superb tucker in Portugal. huge slabs of grilled fish, massive platefuls of tasty fresh sardines  with crisp croquettes and fishcakes.  I don’t expect the cuisine gets any world class stars and recognition. Its basic Fish/Meat/salad/potatoes/Rice but I thought it was brilliant. Fresh, generous, simply cooked and served

Portuguese  Beer is crap though, the usual was an insipid blander than bland cold fizzy mess called Super Bock and the best I could find was a slightly more interesting  Sagre which had a mild bite to it.

The Portuguese themselves were a curious animal. None of the Mediterranean type elegance, style and glamour you get in France, Italy and a lot of Spain. The blokes were grumpy without being unfriendly, casual without being scruffy and indifferent to tourists without being rude. The women were not glamorous but had a refreshing aversion to hair straighteners that seem to have gripped this countries young woman in almost chemical like dependence and seemed content to let their natural beauty come through. So all in all a really splendid holiday with the quite brilliant MrsD who planned and organised it all with detail, care and not a little frugality with some staggeringly cheap deals on travel and accommodation
bearing

Google King's bastard Lisbon
Pond Life

Again, another very nice report LD. Thank you very much for posting both. Hope you don't talk in your sleep. Muttering stuff about women in bars and 'hope the Mrs don't find out' could cause problems.
Late Doors

bearing wrote:
Google King's bastard Lisbon


 Whaddya know eh ?

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