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  • jimfritsche204

Portugal Here we Come!

Updated: May 11, 2022

Volunteering out of the way, I was ready for my trip to Lisbon and Porto, Portugal. I planned to spend the month of March in Europe with the intention of helping my friend, Jamie move her life to Lisbon from Nashville, Tennessee. It was so exciting to see her plans come together.

During our summer in Croatia together, we had discussed where she could live that was affordable, safe and a good quality of life.

Nashville was not on her horizon anymore. I suggested Lisbon because we had been there several times in the past with her sister, Jenny, and always had a great time.

Lisbon is affordable, charming and friendly, with delicious food, wines and excellent medical care. Other advantages are it's ease to get around without knowing Portuguese. The city is clean, safe and a close stepping stone to the rest of Europe. It is also known for it's beautiful coastline and excellent weather with sunny, warm summers and mild winters.

For me, it's all about the beautiful tiles and mosaics all over the city.

I was very excited for her decision because Lisbon is on the top of my list of favorite countries to visit! Jamie had done her homework. She joined several Expat groups, networked, researched, hired a lawyer to help with her visa and found an apartment, She was ready to make the move and I couldn't be happier to help her with this transition. Portugal here we come!

First, a little tour of Lisbon is in order. It is the oldest capital city in the world with Athens being first. It has been named one of the top ten European cities to retire overseas. Lisbon is known as the city of seven hills and trust me after walking five to seven miles around the city up and down cobblestone streets all day your calves and legs will be screaming! It is a very walk-able city, and easy to get around. Finding a random elevator is always a welcome site! Lime scooters are readily available also but beware the cobblestone streets and sidewalks!

Anywhere you go within the city an Uber is under five Euros and the trolleys cost three Euros a ride. { You must include a ride on Tram 28 which covers the whole city if you visit!}

Some of the most popular neighborhoods to explore are, Baxia in the heart of the city. Here you will find Rossio Square which is the center of the city with a cool wave-patterned pavement that could rock your balance!

The Santa Justa Elevator links downtown to the hilltop of Chiado. Inspired by the architecture of the Eiffel Tower, you can view the entire city from the top.

The biggest square in the city, is Praca do Comercio which is on the water front. Presenting a grand entrance into the city if you arrive by boat.

Alfama is the oldest part of the city with a maze of narrow, cobble stone streets and ancient buildings. Alfama has a very artsy vibe and is also home of Fado which is the Portuguese version of folk art and music.

Another interesting area is Belem near the Tagus River, which is the longest river in the Iberian Peninsula. Lisbon actually is built along the Tagus River.

There are many historical tourist attractions in this area. Belem Tower was built as a fortress to protect the city of Lisbon from foreign invasions. It is also a symbol of the Portuguese Age of Discovery serving as a gateway to the city. The massive Discovery monument represents the Age of Discoveries in Portugal. At the helm leading the ship is Prince Henry the Navigator who discovered the Azores, Madeira and Cape Verde. In front of this monument is a beautiful, marble mosaic on the sidewalk representing a compass with a world map in the center.

Down the street is the Jeronimos Monastery. Vasco da Gama, the Portuguese explorer who discovered the shipping route to India is entombed here. I highly recommend visiting each of these sites which can all be covered in one day.

Every tourist book raves about" Pasteis de Belem " in the Belem area, serving the best Pastel de Nata, a creamy, custard, egg tart.

If you decide you must check this bakery out, be warned the line to get in extends around the block. There is an interesting story about the creation of this little "tart". Just down the street from the cafe is the Jeronimos Monastery where the Catholic Monks used egg whites to starch their robes. With large amounts of egg whites left over they created this delicious custard tart. To be honest I have tried these "little tarts" of deliciousness in many pastry shops in the city and they all taste the same to me! So avoid the lines, stop in any pastry shop, dig in , and enjoy!

Other neighborhoods to mention are Barrio Alto, and Principe Real. These areas are very "hip and happening" with a lot of good restaurants, shopping and entertaining night life. Two of my favorite parks are located in these areas. Miradouro de Sao Pedro de Alcantara, overlooks the city of Lisbon with stunning views of the Taugus River and Sao Jorge Castle. Some very talented street artist can be found here and never fail to entertain.

Another park that is less crowded and more relaxing with a neighborhood feel is Praca das Flores. Great place to drink a coffee, kick back and read a book.

I love spending my days in this city walking and discovering the many unexpected pleasures Lisbon has to offer.

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