What do you do when you land in a city where you have
never been and don’t know anyone and it is 6 in the morning? Well for me that
is a signal to slow down, because you are not going to be able to rush through
My flight left Newark Airport 1 hour late after de-icing
(don’t ask about the weather in NYC this winter). I will say this for TAP Portugal Airlines.
They moved that plane across the ocean. They had a nice selection of movies,
and their Airbus 330 had this cool camera in the nose so you could watch the
takeoff and landing from that point of view.
I really like the Airbus wide bodies. They are much more comfortable
than the Boeings.
My flight landed at 6 AM and even taking my time I was
still through passport control and customs before 7. You have to love the EU –
2 lines at customs – “something to declare” and “nothing to declare.” The later just takes you right out to waiting
crowds looking for their family. So I got some Euros and sat down and had
breakfast. Then on to the Metro and off to my hotel. All in all I checked in by
8AM. The only problem? My room wouldn’t be ready until 2 PM. Again – the world
was telling me “This is a vacation, SLOW DOWN”
My decision – Walk over the bus station at Eduardo VII
park and take the double decker tour bus. “What!” I hear you say. “You claim to
be a traveler, not a tourist! How can you do the most touristy thing in a new
city?” Well, as a traveler, I haven’t found a better way to get the lay of the
land in a city I don’t know. The buses go by all of the major tourist
attractions and give me a feel for what else is in the neighborhood. Are there
restaurants? Can I walk, take the Metro or do I need some other method? What do
I see in the area I want to go to that is not in the book, or on the tourist
spiel? So, if I have the time and I am not sure exactly where things are – It
is on to the big red bus. Here is was the GreyLine. Their ticket was good for
48 hours and included a trip to the town of Cascais, where I am heading
tomorrow. All for only €25 at their most expensive. See Here
|Belem Tower and a monument to the first flight from Europe to Brazil|
|Padrao da Descobrimientos|
Grey Line has four bus routes – Belém. Oriente, Castle
and Cascais. I started with Belém. This route went through downtown and then
out west along the Tagus River. It passes through the waterfront park, and goes
by several museums that I am looking forward to seeing on Tuesday.
I then changed to the Oriente line. Oriente is an
interesting neighborhood. It was developed for the 1998 World’s Fair - Expo 98. The Fair was built
along the riverfront . Today its buildings have been repurposed. The main
exhibition hall and park has been reopened as The Park of Nations (Parque das Nações) with an exhibition hall,
aquarium, the Vasco de Gama tower and the Vasco de Gama Center – a large mall.
There are a lot of restaurants in the area, but truthfully, you could do worse
than some of the restaurants in mall’s food court. Today I ate from a stand
called Meta dos Lietãos – a pork
restaurant. For €6.95 I had a lechon sandwich, 2 kinds of ham (iberico and
smoked) resóis de leitão – kind of a pork arepa, and something called caramujo
which was sublime. A wafer filled with what I think was a sweet potato filling.
All this and 2 cups of wine.
|In front of the Centro Vasco de Gama|
|Centro Vasco de Gama|
|Building at centro Vasco de Gama|
|Statues in the Park of Nations|
|One of the exhibiton buildings|
|Fountain in the Park of Nations|
|Vasco de Gama tower|
I walked along the river towards the Vasco de Gama tower.
The River front is still a park with beautiful trees, paths through developed
gardens and a walk right along the riverfront.
Then back on the bus to Parque Eduardo VII and back to my
hotel where I could finally check in shower and relax.
Doing this city tour on your first day is the best idea. But you will fall like a rock into your bed tonight. Glad you had a great trip even if you didn't get much sleep. I know how excited you get about traveling. Love the statues and fountains. The riverwalk seems really lovely. I always love being near water. AMDReplyDelete