If you have been following this blog, you know my husband and I stayed in Amsterdam, Netherlands for three months, earlier this year. While there, we travelled to Lisbon, Portugal and had a brief two-day adventure. My husband had to attend a meeting there for a day so we thought it would be a great opportunity for both of us to experience this European city for the first time.
We arrived on a Monday afternoon and quickly got a cab to take us to Four Seasons Hotel Ritz where we would be staying. The cab driver was a young man probably in his late 20s or early 30s. He was a good conversationalist and did his best to give us a crash course on the history of the city. His English wasn’t the best ever but it sure was better than my Portuguese.
We soon arrived at the hotel and I was blown away by the service. I forgot to mention that it’s a five-star hotel with 282 guest rooms. We were treated like celebrities, the attention was so much, I almost felt embarrassed – in a good way of course. Perhaps the royal treatment we got shouldn’t have come as a surprise considering the cheapest room costs around 360 Euros/night. That’s about 80000 Naira.
After checking in, we took the elevator and went straight to our room. My husband almost immediately got his laptop out to check his emails while I got my camera out. The room looked so beautiful I couldn’t resist. Though I was a bit tired, I was more excited by the thought of capturing the beauty of the room and the bed rather than just lying on it to get some rest. I was exhausted and hungry but I kept taking pictures like a crazy photographer.
I took pictures of him too and that was when I noticed a card on the study table inviting me to the spa.
Ha! The spa sounded like a good idea considering how tired I was after the plane ride but I didn’t pack with a spa visit in mind, besides, who knows how much the spa visit would cost? Yeah, I wasn’t about to spend big bucks at a five-star hotel’s spa. Not that I didn’t think I deserved it but I could get a good spa treatment at a less expensive place and buy me shoes with the balance, LOL!
Taking pictures was fun but I soon became really hungry. I checked the refrigerated private bar in our room and it looked good but I couldn't bring myself to pay 8 Euros for a few grains of peanut, no.
My husband had left for the conference room for a meeting/ dinner. It was all official and I wasn’t invited so what’s a Lagos girl to do? Go to the hotel’s restaurant and order the most expensive meal on the menu? Oh no! I hit the streets in search of a grocery store. I wasn’t raised in Agege for nothing. I walked for about 15 minutes, trying to locate the grocery store the hotel staff had told me about. Soon enough, I found it and came back to the hotel, still famished but this time; I was armed with a few food items to hold bodi together till the next day. You would think I got down to eating the moment I entered the room but no. I spent like another twenty minutes, giving my food a photo-shoot. The things photographers do, (sigh).
Grocery items were relatively cheaper in Portugal as opposed to what prices were in The Netherlands. As you can see in the picture above, I found the powdered milk “Nido”. After eating a quick meal of cereal, I resumed taking photographs. Then I decided it was time to pamper myself. If I wouldn’t go to the spa or eat an expensive meal, at least I could soak in a bath all by myself!
View from hotel room window
So, I soaked in the bath tub for over an hour. Very relaxing. The beautiful marble bathroom made me feel like I was in a spa Needless to say, I had the most delightful sleep that night.
Tuesday morning, I was feeling much energized. My husband had to leave early for the day's meeting at the conference room. I got dressed and waited for breakfast to be delivered in the room. I had never been served breakfast in such a grand hotel before so it was a surreal experience. I felt like I was in a movie. As usual, I couldn't resist taking a few shots.
A few minutes before noon, I took one last look at the hotel room and left for the reception to check out. About an hour or so after that, my husband was all done with his meeting. His official mission in Lisbon was done at that point but we were staying one extra day to see the city. We took a cab to a much smaller hotel called “Hall Chiado”. It’s a really unique place I think; it’s a small hotel with not more than nine rooms or so. Once checked in online, guests receive a code in their email and this serves as your “key”. So you don’t really get to meet someone at the reception. Actually, there really isn’t a reception. You simply punch in your code, walk into the lobby and go up the stairs to your room, feels like being at home rather than a hotel. You gain access to your room with the code as well. Cool isn’t it?
We had a few minutes of rest and then headed out. The weather wasn’t fun. It was grey and rainy skies but we had just a few more hours in this magical city so the rain wasn’t going to cramp our style. So we headed out in the rain and took the tram. This wasn’t like the modern trams we were accustomed to in Amsterdam. It was a much older one and looked quite ancient to me.
One of the old trams
Chiado square around which we took the tram
After a few minutes of riding in the tram, we got off and asked for directions to Castelo de São Jorge which means “St. George’s Castle”. It’s a really old castle dating back to medieval times. I had never seen a real castle before so it was quite an experience but I wished the weather was better. The wind was so strong that our umbrella couldn’t stand the challenge. Did I mention it was freezing cold as well? I had to debate within myself whether I wanted to bring out my camera and risk damage. I eventually did but didn’t take that many pictures. The sky was fast going from grey to dark.
Here is my husband at the Castle
After leaving the castle, we took the old tram back and it was time for dinner. We wanted to experience traditional Portuguese cuisine. I did my due diligence searching online, reading reviews and we decided on a restaurant called “”. We soon found out it was a few minutes’ walk from our hotel so I was delighted. I really don’t remember what we ate that night (sorry) but it was delicious. We had lunch at the same restaurant the next day and it was so memorable, I really couldn’t forget even if I tried. The waitress explained each meal on the menu (Menu wasn’t available in English), and asked what we would like to have. I consider myself more adventurous than my husband so I was shocked when he blurted, “Rice cooked in chicken blood”. Oh my God! I had thought of this meal as completely disgusting and outrageous when the waitress mentioned but you know what, I would not be outdone. If my husband wanted it, I was having it too. We munched on bread and olives while we waited for our meal.
It looked gross but it didn’t taste bad. It wasn’t life-changing either and definitely not tasty enough for me to want to try it again.
After our meal, we went straight to the hotel, picked our bags and headed for the airport. Our stay in Lisbon was short but we made the most of the little time we had. Hope you enjoyed reading as much as we enjoyed the experience. If you did, click the like button!
Where would you love to visit in Europe? Let us know. Leave a comment.