Lisbon, Portugal

From Madrid we traveled to Lisbon on a nine hour night train. We were primarily going to Lisbon for a tournament called Bar de Peixe, that everyone told us we had to go to and would be a great time. Once we arrived in the city where waited for a shuttle to the beach that was 40 minutes away.

Photo courtesy of Alex Mitchell

The tournament is a three day romp on the beach where the first game starts at 2pm and the drinks start about 3 hours before that. It is more or less an excuse for people in the frisbee community to get together, drink, and party. Playing was definitely not on top of my agenda anyway. The sand was deep, which made playing too much effort for me. It is a great tournament, assuming that you don’t want to play ultimate. Besides playing pool games and enjoying the sun, every night is a scheduled dinner/party, and on the first night, a fancy dress game (costume) and a naked game on the second night. Both are “play-if-you-want” of course. 

Photo courtesy of Alex Mitchell, there’s me in the blue shorts on the left.

After the tournament, Jeff had to fly back to Paris to work, but I stayed in Lisbon for the day to continue on to different adventures. Lisbon is the capital of Portugal and is one of the oldest cities in Europe, outdating even Rome, Paris, and London. Lisbon is the capital only by de facto though, through the countries constitutional convention, and no statute or legal document was ever used to officially name the city the capital. I started my walk about Lisbon very early in the morning, perhaps around 7:30 or 8. The night before was the “farewell” party for the tournament, so Jeff and I didn’t go to bed until 3:30am, and then we woke up at 6am to pack up the tent to catch a 7am shuttle. Thus, my introduction to Lisbon was done while I felt like a zombie.

Palace of the Trade

After finding myself some food, coffee, and water I felt like more of a human and started walking to the western part of the city. One of the traditional Lisbon foods is Pastel de Nata which is a small egg-custard tart that is usually eaten with coffee for breakfast. They taste like creme brûlée, but with a filo dough crust and they can be served warm with cinnamon. Either way, they are delicious and fantastically cheap.

Rua Augusta Arch

I was walking towards some large white buildings that I had seen from a distance, slowly walking the streets, trying to figure out what I wanted to do. I am not used to traveling by myself and I get uncomfortable quite easily, which can result in some not-great habits. For instance, I usually take rushed photos, if I take a photo at all, because I don’t like the vulnerability of not seeing my surroundings and I always have this impression that someone is staring at me.

Monastery of São Vicente de Fora

I spent the morning walking towards the big impressive buildings I had seen in the distance, but once I arrived at them, no one else was around and actually the buildings seemed to be generally un-cared about. I have no idea what these buildings were about, perhaps they were closed because they were religious affiliated buildings and they seem to enjoy closing on Mondays, but my impression was that these were nontraditional tourist destinations. Which is strange because I can’t be the only one who was drawn to them from the skyline.

National Pantheon in Lisbon, Portugal

Right behind the monastery was the national pantheon. A pantheon is apparently a religious building meant to worship all the gods at once, so is meant for polytheism religions. I’m sure many of you knew about that already, but I didn’t, and I get to write new things I learn.

Painted ceramic tiles on buildings seem to be the traditional architecture style.

After visiting the monastery and the pantheon, I made my way east towards the other side of the city. Along the way, I saw another large building atop a hill called the Castle of Saint George. I decided I wanted to explore this place next, but despite being a castle, this building turned out to be very difficult to find. I walked about the entire perimeter to the hill before finally finding the entrance to the castle and, despite my effort, I ended up not even going inside the castle because it costed money and I wasn’t actually that interested. From there I went to the shopping district of Lisbon called Chiado.

While in Chiado I stopped at a Starbucks so I could steal their internet and get out of the sun. It was quite warm in Lisbon, and in the middle of the day I was becoming overwhelmed. After finally making myself leave, I found that some of the local statues had been vandalized.


Terrible people those vandals…

Soon after these statues I found a nice park overlooking the city, and decided to call my exploration of Lisbon to an end. It was hot, and I was tired, and instead of forcing myself to explore more, I thought I would enjoy the city more by sitting in the shade and looking out over it.

Later that night I went out to dinner with the people who were still in the city after Bar de Peixe. We stayed up until 3 in the morning, hanging out outside a bar just chatting. Before we went back to where I was staying (a nice Portuguese frisbee player let me stay at his place), we returned to the park that I had spent my afternoon, kind of bringing my Lisbon experience full-circle. Sort of.


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