Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Visiting Portugal and Lisbon: a Budget Holiday

Last month me and my girl Marie took 15 days off and we thought to travel to an exotic place for a holiday. We wanted to avoid the usual run of the way places like London and Paris and thus chose Lisbon. We flew from the UAE (Abu Dhabi) by Emeritus flight to Lisbon. Emeritus flies daily to Lisbon from the UAE.
 Lisbon is a nice clean city. It’s not very big and most places are walkable. But it has old iron trams like in Calcutta, though a Metro also is there. Its best to hire a taxi, but we always fixed the price before hand.

 The best thing is take a Lisboa card that allows you free travel in all public transports as well as a discounted or free entry to the Museums. The Museums are the heart of Lisbon and I loved them as they show cased the time of Henry the navigator, when fearless Portuguese seafarers like Vasco de Gama, Diaz and many more sailed the globe.

A mere 20 minutes by train is the beach suburbs of Cascas and Estoril. My girl wore a bikini and oglers were there. Another 40 minutes away is the Moorish castle and national palace at Sintra, now a world heritage site.

Lisbon is cheap, in fact a lot cheaper than most European cities. Plenty of hotels and lodges to choose from.  We stayed in a youth hostel. Nice clean accommodation. One could see that the economy is in doldrums and Portuguese want as many tourists as possible. Lovely place for a visit I recommend it.

What we ate In Lisbon

Lisbon was a wonderful stay. It also helped strengthen my romance with Marie. We are both foodies and loved the Portuguese food. Not many know that Portugal has the highest consumption of fish per head in entire Europe.

In particular we like huge charcoal- grilled sardines which are served by the roadside. We also liked garlicky  ameljoas(clams) with vinho Verdi which are available at roadside stalls  and cafes that run up to  late hours. We also dined at the Rosa da Rua a restaurant that has Portuguese and Indian food  on its menu. This was a surprise.

There are also 15 varieties of Portuguese cheese. You can also get wonderful sausages and salami. We didn’t miss Indian food as we gorged on Portuguese food. It’s a little distinct from normal bland European food. One can get a taste of it in Goa, which was a Portuguese colony.