There are some cities that you enjoy while you are there, but then slowly forget about when the trip is over. On rare occasions, there are those places that find their way into your heart and you know that no matter where you are in the world, that place will remain a part of you. This was Lisbon for me and this was the day I fell in love.
My second and last day in Lisbon had no itinerary. No specific place to be. I just wandered along the streets of Lisbon taking in the city and the atmosphere. And it was on this day that I fell in love with Lisbon.
You know you are going to have a wonderful day when you start the day with three (I was on holiday) chocolate croissants. And not just any old chocolate croissant. The type where the croissant is fresh with a chocolate spread generously applied from end to end. Seriously, why would I want to leave Lisbon?
My leisurely morning started with catching a ride on the #28 tram – a Lisbon legend. With a wooden interior, the tram creaks as it winds its way through the narrow and ridiculously steep streets of Lisbon. During the day, I would see the #28 pass by jam packed with tourists (think sardines in a can, which is a fantastic gift to bring home from Lisbon for your foodie friends), but hopping on the tram early in the morning, there was only myself and a few locals on the way to work allowing me to take in the old-world charm of the tram. I truly hope that the tram is never modernized. The city would lose something special if it did.
After making the full circuit on the route, which took about an hour, I began my adventure on foot. Now, I confess, I made a small fib. There was one place on my agenda for the day and that is where I went – Cortico & Netos, a company that sells tiles from around Lisbon, many from now closed factories. It was so much fun browsing! Finally, I narrowed my selection down to 3 tiles (no easy feat). Lisbon would not be the same without its many tiled buildings that bring charm and color to the city. I developed a minor obsession with them. So, for under $15, I was able to bring a piece of Lisbon home with me so it’ll never be far away. Talk about the perfect souvenir!
Then, it was wandering around exploring, tile snapping, and soaking in the city. I could explore this city for days digging in to each neighborhood. The architectural details, the colors, the bends of the streets, the many layers of buildings, the tiles- I love this city! Though there are certainly destinations for one to explore in Lisbon like Belem Tower or the Castle, for me, Lisbon is just about strolling along the city streets and seeing where your feet take you. Along the way I stumbled upon amazing miradors where I had to pause to admire the view, resisted temptation at every pastry filled window display, spied people hanging their laundry, and paused to have another Pasteis de Nata (which were really starting to grow on me).
Without having much to do, the time did fly by. It was so easy to lose myself in the city and I couldn’t believe that the day was nearly done. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye. I had too much left to explore, so much more to discover. I had to content myself with knowing that I will return one day, not just take in more of Lisbon, but to explore as much as Portugal as I can.