Lisbon Day 2: Belém

Today we take the bus to Belém because it is a little far to walk.

First it is time for lunch, especially Portuguese roasted chicken. It is the best. A finds us a great place nearby to try.

After lunch of course it is time for dessert. We head over to Pastéis de Belém. We try their wonderful custard desserts.

We both ended up buying six, which probably wasn’t the best idea. But I finished them over the next couple days: ate them in the morning and as a train snack.

After our dessert we walked over to the Jerónimos Monastery.

Lit candle for my mom

We soon discover we are where Vasco da Gama the explorer is buried.

Rope with different knots

We have Fado reservations for the evening so we return to closer to the main part of town. While we wait we watch tourist boats in the harbor. I ended up taking this boat about a week later when I was traveling alone again. It was quite fun.

Now it is off to Fado. I’ll dedicate a post to this later. Bye!

Lisbon Day 1: Land of the tiles

I have arrived in Lisbon. This is exciting for two reasons: One is I have been wanting to visit Portugal for a while and two is my friend A is meeting me for a couple days. I am happy for the companionship so I’ll try to be on my best behavior for the next few days 😉

My arrival is less than glamorous. I am not a fan of the Lisbon airport. I’ll dedicate a post to that later.

Lisbon is a pretty big city with lots of hills which we soon discover. We leave the hotel to wander around soon after my arrival.

Before I mention our day can I just show you how creepy our hotel is. Don’t get me wrong, it is nice and it was nice to have a big window but with the black out shades it got scary dark in the place.

We start wandering around and I think we are trying to find this cute wine bar. We end up finding a famous street. Luckily we are going downhill but the stones prove to be very slippery for us. We almost fell a few times on the way down. We got to see the famous Elevador da Glória.

I imagine that on a rainy day one would slide down by butt.

I am already a fan of different tile designs but Portugal is where I start my obsession with tiles.

Eventually we find the pink street that has our pink bar. It is empty so we decide to get a bite to eat first.

Baccalhau and chips

After our so-so dinner it is time for our drink at the pink bar. I get an old fashioned and am not deterred by the sexist advertising. After a long travel day we call it an early night.

Bilbao Aste Nagusia

These guys are crowd pleasers

When I first arrive in Bilbao I notice preparation for some sort of festival. I have a hard time finding information on it and my hotel isn’t too helpful.

After some research I find this link Euskoguide and Wikipedia.

There is a big party planned and it is happening a couple days after I leave. I contemplated changing my travel plans to stay for the festival. However I already pre-paid for many things and am looking forward to my upcoming plans. I do plan on coming back to Bilbao for another night before flying out for Spain but I believe my hotel reservations are at an airport hotel far from the action.

I am pleasantly surprised to find my final Bilbao hotel is about a mile from the festivities and I am able to participate after all.

Walking around town I notice booths are being set up in pieces, mostly from scratch. People hang by harnesses to attach the metal structures that would later form the booths.

A combination of plastic coverings and wood panels are assembled. On the wood panels the artwork is hand painted.

Many of the booths seem to be political in nature but it is hard to tell because most of it is Basque, a local language for the region.

It doesn’t matter if it is somewhat political; it looks like everyone wants to have fun and the group is very inclusive with all ages, races, genders as participants. Seems like my kind of crowd, even if I can’t understand much.

The festival mascot

If you order a drink they give you a string to help you hold onto your drink cup.

I spent a good amount of time watching this band do their sound check. I got bored and walked on. When I got back there was a huge screen blocking the stage. Not sure if they ever performed.

This punk band was great. I could only get a side view because they were so popular.

I walked around for a little more and decided to start walking back to my hotel to plan for my flight the next day. As I walk back I catch a fireworks display.

What an wonderful impromptu day in Bilbao!

Crowds thrashed to these guys as well