Day 3 of Europe 2014: Breakfast of Champions!
Day 3: Exploring Lisbon!
We started off our 2nd day in Lisbon by having an amazing breakfast made by Paula, the owner of Pension Royal. I kid you not – this was probably the best breakfast I have ever had at a hotel and it was free! This woman is amazing and must get up in the wee hours of the morning to make all of this. There was fresh fruit, homemade cakes, mini-quiches, yogurts, cereals, etc. You name it, she had it.
After breakfast, we took a free walking tour through Free Chillout Tours. The way free tours work is that you typically show up at the meeting place and take the tour with the guide that meets you there. At the end, you pay the guide what you feel the tour is worth. We have done free tours in other cities and have had great experiences, and our experience in Lisbon was no different.
Our guide, Jose, was amazing. Free tours are not usually given by licensed or certified guides, but their selling point is that they take you to places that aren’t necessarily in the guidebooks and might miss, and they tell you the stories they heard growing up in the city rather than strictly historical information. Jose had great restaurant recommendations and shared lots of great information about the city. He was also very accommodating with the kids. There were some steps involved in the tour and he always let us know when they were coming up so we would know to get the kids out of the stroller and get up the steps more easily. I had come up with a “mission” for Anya. I gave her one of the worksheets below and she was asked to take a certain number of pictures of a few different items. This kept her busy for awhile!
The tour lasted 4 hours but didn’t feel that long because it was so entertaining. One part of the tour was in the Alfama area, which is the older section of the city. We stopped at a lady’s home in that area who makes Ginginha, a special liquor that the Portuguese drink in Lisbon. For 1 euro, we got to try a taste of it. The tour ended at the top of one of the seven hills of Lisbon and we got a great view of the city below.
Because we had such a big breakfast and had brought a snack for during the tour, we didn’t really have to stop for lunch. We had planned to go to an art museum in the afternoon, but decided against it. Instead, we took a tram/trolley to the Chiado district. While on the tram/trolley, Felix was standing on my lap, facing the man sitting behind us. The man was making faces at Felix and Felix was smiling at him. Felix also had a handful of teddy grahams and before I knew it, Felix had given the man his teddy grahams, and the man actually ate them. In fact, I think he might have eaten them right out of Felix’s hand!
Once we got to the Chiado district, we did some of Rick Steves’ walking tours of the Chiado, Barrio Alto, and Baixa district, since we had planned to do it the day before but didn’t get to. The tours included trying a special pastry (a pastel de nata, which is a custard pastry) and a wine tasting of Portuguese wines. We walked down to the water to check that out as well.
That evening, we had Portuguese paella for dinner. We had had Spanish paella before, but this was our first time having Portuguese paella. It is similar to the Spanish version but a little more like a casserole. We found some groceries and, of course, some pastries for dessert on our way home. We would have loved to have gone to listen to some fado (the local music popular in Lisbon), but decided against it since we had the kids and we were all exhausted. It had been another wonderful day in Lisbon!
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