Setting out for our third day in Lisbon, my boyfriend and I had one thing in mind and that was to go find what lied within the castle that sat on top of the city. In Lisbon, there is the Castelo de Sao Jorge, which was built during the mid-11th century. Throughout the years it transitioned as a stronghold during wars, an arsenal and prison, royal quarters and now to a tourist attraction which is a great example of the deep history Portugal holds. We weaved through the winding streets to get to the entrance of the castle. I was in awe at the beautiful tile work on the ground and especially on the walls of the buildings. The tiles were like nothing I had ever seen before. They all varied in colors and design. My favorite was a simple deep green tile that gave such character to the charming doors and windows that surrounded it. Others had elaborate designs with no two buildings being the same. We also passed by a large amount of graffiti. It was fun to see artists taking to another canvas and making the walls come alive. There was specifically one that caught my eye – literally. It was a stairwell with tons of different eyes leading you down. It was done so well it felt as though they were real eyes staring at you!
Before arriving to the castle, we made a quick pit stop to have a ginja shot. It was a cherry liquor shot in a chocolate shell. Definitely a sweet way to start our adventure. We finished them and arrived shortly after to the entrance of the castle and paid a little fee to get in. As we took our first steps into the perimeter, we were welcomed by an open garden which probably held place for trading goods and gathering together. We walked over to the ledge and looking over the edge, we took in all the red shingled buildings, Tagus river, the bridge and Christ the Redeemer which lied in the distance. It was the most exquisite view. No wonder they built the castle to sit above the city. What a birds eye view!
We wandered around the gardens, walking in all directions through arches, along the exterior walls lined with cannons dating back centuries to when they were used. We stopped and enjoyed a glass of red wine as we looked over the edge onto the city and grabbed two more ginja shots to have at the very top. We drank the wine and walked to the center of the castle where there was a cute little modern cafe. Surrounding the cafe were peacocks! It was the most unusual bird to see walking around and we even caught a glimpse of a male peacock with all its feathers out charming a female. We then headed in the direction to go on top of the stone walls where soldiers stood and guarded to protect the castle. It took some imagination to think what the castle must have looked like back in its prime, but they have done an incredible job of preserving and restoring the structure. As we zig zagged up the stairs to get to the top of the walls we were presented with multiple different vantage points seeing all sides of the city. We went to the highest point which was one of the towers, part of the curtain, and cheered our ginja shots – to a wonderful adventure and being together.
As we made our way back down towards the water and through the streets there was music immediately grabbing our attention. There was a crowd in front of a building and in the windows were people playing music. Each window had people with different instruments jamming out! It was unique and fun. After enjoying it for a few minutes, we realized how hungry out stomachs were. A short distance away we stopped to get food at a cafe. As we were ordering, I heard a couple talking behind us. I poked Kevin, and told him the couple behind us are from Boston! He just looked at me like I was crazy and asked me how the heck do I know? I instantly turned around and asked them where they were from. They looked up with puzzled faces and said Boston! I knew it! We immediately connected and sat down with them and talked for a while. They were from right outside of Boston and were on vacation just like us. After talking they invited us to a pub crawl. We were so excited! We said our goodbyes and looked forward to seeing them that evening.
With our stomachs satisfied we set on to our next adventure. Which was right to wine tasting at Wines of Portugal at the main square. It a great way to try all the local wines in Portugal. We started off with whites and moved into red. I loved a Syrah called Velhos Tempos, a regional wine of Lisbon. After enjoying the different varies of grapes we went for a walk through the city. When we met the couple they told us about a street that was pink. We set out to find it. As we were making our way we stopped at the British Pub and had a beer. Enjoying each others company, we talked about what was to come tonight and decided to finish up with the beer and eat somewhere a little more fast. A block away was the pink street. It was dreamy with the street lit up with lights and the road covered in pink. It was dark out so we planned to come back now that we knew where it was.
Back at the hotel we got ready for a fun night. We set out to meet our new friends at the pub crawl. Walking down the mountain from our hotel to where the Christmas markets were. I decided to make a clumsy move and twist my ankle. I had to take a HUGE breather because I was not going to let my ankle stop me from a fun night. Through tears and big bites of my food we got, we stepped into the Uber and headed to the start. We stepped out of the Uber and there we saw our friends with more new friends! As we waited for everyone to gather around, we were introducing ourselves. There were around 4 couples, two friends and our tour guide. We were in for a good time!
The first stop was at a cafe similar to the one we had gone to earlier in the day. It was pretty much full circle at that point. Because that is where we met out friends who brought us on the bar crawl. We all got beers and warmed up for the night. We moved into the Barro Alto area which is known for all the entertainment and local bars. We went to a small bar that everyone had to squeeze into and got a round of shots with another beer. We toasted together and the night continued to get even better. We all moved onto a unique bar over looking the river. At night we could not see anything but if it was during the day, the view would have been beautiful. We sat down and looked at the menu. It was as if it was a pharmacy. Each cocktail and drink was named after either a medicine or prescription. Absolutely priceless! We all sat around at a table and talked. It was so much fun bonding. My favorite question that was going around was finding out how everyone met. They all had unique stories. There were a few that I loved, but the one that stood out to me was the couple was sitting right across from us. I asked them and the boyfriend just said all it took was her green dress. I could not wait to hear the story after starting off that way. They were at a mutual friends birthday party and she had on a sexy green dress and they got talking and he was hooked. He had to find out more about her through her friends. From there he reached out and since then, 8 months they have been dating and already on vacation together in Lisbon! I was impressed. We also had a great laugh here and there, especially when Kevin got back to the table. He had a huge scrape and a growing bruise on his forehead, saying he walked into the glass door inside trying to find the bathroom.
Moving on to the next bar it was a speak easy where we had to ring a doorbell. As soon as we walked in, my head was on a swivel. It was filled with tons of knick knacks and collections. They had helmet collections, sword collections, patch collections, you name it they had it decorated on the walls. It was really entertaining. We again sat at a large table and all hung out talking and drinking. We had Porto tomorrow and Kevin was talking to our friend Henry, together they found us the perfect airbnb. Arriving at the last bar with the last round of beers, we all enjoyed the moments together and I remember not so much.
We all separated and went our own ways. With the couple we met earlier in the day, we went to one more bar where I stopped drinking and had a lovely conversation with my friend, Alexa. Ending the evening I knew, we lived for this night that we cant remember, with the people that we won’t forget. Especially me.
Live well and run xox