Top things to see in Lisbon part two

Lisbon has much to explore, including the waterfront and docks, which stretches for miles and houses a few waterside cafes and many buildings and green areas of note in which to grab a rejuvenating coffee in between sightseeing and shopping.

The Chaido district is one of the newer areas of Lisbon and houses all of the trendy high street shops and shopping malls one might expect of a 21st century city. Nestled in between the giants there were a few Portuguese brands and independent boutiques but largely I felt that the shopping was what you’d expect from any European city. Are they becoming too homogenised or is it a benefit to know what you’re getting? I’m undecided but after visiting so many Cities in the last five years I feel a little weary that otherwise distinctive and characterful cities seem to be taken over by retail giants with bargaining power but I digress.

One our way back to the station one of our favourite cocktail bars was Pensao Amor, a quirky bar which looked a little like Liberace’s living room with opulent candelabra and high backed winged chairs, but with a warmth that made you feel like you were in a friend’s lounge. Perfect for both intimate meetings and large group gatherings. Floor to ceiling shutters opened to reveal Juliet balconies looking down towards the bridge and pedestrians scurrying along the streets below. Into the evening, the place took on a slightly different feel with burlesque acts, Fado and other quirky artists and the outdoor cocktail bar came to life. We visited here several times during our stay and would visit again next time we go to Lisbon.

As we were staying in Estoril, a nearby beach resort, we had to get the train back so we didn’t sample nightclubs but the trains run well into the wee hours so we could get a real flavour of the evening revelling.
We dedicated a day to taking in some of the other attractions of Lisbon up close, such as the 25th de Avril Bridge, which shares uncanny similarities with the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Amazing photographs of the bridge can be taken on the river and a little tip to do this on a budget is to take the very cheap public ferry across to Cacilhas, the other bank of the river. En route you can snap great pictures of the bridge from various angles and another of the great icons, the Christo Rei. This statue is a smaller version of the famous Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro but still afford great views from the top over the whole of Lisbon. It is awe inspiring in its own right to see and well worth a visit. We took a public bus from the ferry terminal in Cacilhas rather than hiring a car or taking a private tour but both options are viable.

I do often like to take the public transport in different cities as you can get a real flavour of local life. The day we travelled was a Saturday and as we were coming back early evening, many of the older locals were boarding the bus into Lisbon.  Such is the great respect for elders in the Portuguese culture that the driver wouldn’t take their money. There was quite the group by the end and the excited chatter about their evening plans and good humoured exchange was infectious and lovely to see.
It seemed to me that Portugal and Lisbon in particular had a great deal for everyone to enjoy - young and old - with family being at the centre of the culture. However, the city in an evening is a rich mix of tourists, backpackers, and locals which makes it feel very diverse and dynamic. I would definitely go back to Lisbon in the future and with it being so close, only a two hour flight away, it is perfectly achievable in a weekend. Hoorah!

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