Lisbon City Break Competition Winner – May 2019 – Sylvia & Matthew Dean
Monday 13th May
Metro to our hotel – America Diamonds. We were in room 503 with a street view and a Jacuzzi bath. We dined at Colina Restaurante which was recommended to us by the hotel; it was a Portuguese restaurant where we both had fish dishes (Seabass) followed by Crème brûlée, a couple of glasses of red wine and a complimentary port to end our meal.
Tuesday 14th May
Continental breakfast at our hotel – very pleasant. We bought a Viva Viagem 24 hour pass covering metro, buses and trams. Alfama; a warren of narrow lanes and streets. Very hilly! We hired a tuk tuk to view the sights stopping at Miradouro de Santa Luzia for city views. Tram 28 to us to Castelo de Sao Jorge to Lisbon cathedral. We strolled around Praça do Comércio, beside the Tagus River. The Santa Justa Lift is an impressive structure and takes in amazing city views.
Regular stops for a delicious coffee and a pastel de nata (custard tart). We returned to our hotel in the afternoon for a much-needed rest and freshen up before walking to Parque Eduardo VII – the largest park in central Lisbon. We had our first sighting of a parakeet, an exotic colourful parrot. We dined at Gelato near our hotel – I had salmon and my husband had octopus!
Wednesday 15th May
Breakfast followed by the metro to Rossio Square with it’s wavy paving surrounding a fountain. We took the train to Sintra – stunning views, scenery and full of coach parties – very hot and busy. We walked around a beautiful park for coolness! We decided to take a bus journey to Cascais; a seaside resort with beautiful sandy beaches, a marina and dominated by Santa Marta Lighthouse. Highly recommended – a delightful former Portuguese fishing town with it’s historic colourful buildings with it’s cobbled streets.
We took the train back to central Lisbon which followed the coastline with views of the magnificent Ponte 25 de Abril – Lisbon’s suspension bridge and Padrão dos Descobrimentos – a huge concrete monument to Portugal’s maritime explorers. Vasco de Gama’s epic 1498 voyage to India and his tomb is at Santa Maria Church. We unfortunately didn’t have enough time to visit!
We returned to our hotel by metro and as it was our last night, we ate locally again this time at Italian Republique. Dining alfresco on amazing pizza and risotto followed by some shared tiramisu and a few well-deserved nightcaps!
Thursday 16th May – Last day
Continental breakfast, a quick pack and hotel stored our travel cases. Metro to Rato to visit the Botanical Gardens; a calming collection of subtropical vegetation and trees – worth a visit. Spent several hours taking in the peace and beauty before having a tram ride and returning to the centre of Rato for a return metro journey to our hotel – pick up our luggage, quick bite of lunch at Italian Republique and return by metro to the airport for our flight home to Dublin. If we had more time, we would have like to experience a cable car ride and the Time Out Market.
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