Our time in Lisbon began with frustration. Our large group of eleven had trouble finding where to catch which mode of transportation to get to what square? It started out messy but soon became clear as we stuck it out together. My initial thoughts of the town center were gloomy, matching the darkened gray hues of the tall buildings that surrounded us. But the more we ventured, the more I grew attached to the charm the city has to offer.
Walking through the streets we stumbled on many outdoor cafés and cute shops, but the most startling thing we ran across was built by the Gustave Eiffel, same architect who designed the Eiffel Tower. The Santa Justa Lift, a famous 110-year-old elevator, which looks squished between two buildings, allows visitors a wonderfully unimpeded view of the beautiful red-roof-filled city and neighboring Castle of São Jorge. We purchased a five and a half euro transportation ticket that covered the entire day’s worth of bus, train, and surprisingly century-old lift fees. That ticket was the best value I’ve experienced thus far in Europe.
We eventually began our trek out to the world’s second-largest aquarium, which took some mileage on the underground metro. Luckily the process resembled the tube, albeit less confusing. Unfortunately a small chunk of our rather large ensemble had to return to the ship early so we three only saw the temporary sea turtle exhibit rather than the entire aquarium. Although overpriced, we did see some gorgeous creatures and can only hope that our fees help contribute toward the project of conservation, rehabilitation, and eventual reintroduction to the wild.
I definitely would love more time in Lisbon to discover other hidden treasures it has to offer. Oh yeah, there’s also a giant Christ the Redeemer statue staring out across the ocean, facing it’s even more so giant twin in Rio de Janeiro. It’s pretty cool!