Slow start to sightseeing in Lisbon…but strong finish!

After regaining my composure from climbing up the massive hill to our hotel, we headed out to eat near Rossio Square. Once again we ended up stuffing our faces since we were starving.

We ended up sitting next to these two guys from Angola who were very nice dining partners. And I learned that Portuguese is the main language of Angola since it was a former colony. You forget that Portugal also had many colonies, but you definitely see it in the multiculturalism of the country. In Lisbon especially.

Anyways, when Frances told our new friends that her nickname (in Filipino) is Iska (not sure how to spell it), which means liver in Portuguese, one guy nearly choked on his food laughing.

After chatting it up for a while and finishing off a huge pitcher of sangria, we had to get started with our sightseeing! But all that eating and drinking made us tired, so first a pit stop for coffee.

We ended up at Praҫa do Comércio by the river to get a view of the water, a large bridge and the big Jesus/cross monument in the distance.

Entry to PraҪa de comércio
Goofing off at Praca de Comercio

Then we decided to hike up to St. George Castle, which of course was at the top of another hill. On the way up, we stumbled across Sé Cathedral. Although apparently “Sé” means “cathedral” in Portuguese, so I guess calling it that is just redundant.

The cathedral was pretty inside; not super ostentatious but still quite big. And the cloister was interesting, because instead of a green courtyard, which is what I’m used to seeing, there were these really old ruins being excavated in the middle.

Sé Cathedral cloister

We continued the climb up, stopping at a very mediterranean-looking vista point that overlooked the city and river, and was filled with these vibrant purple flowers.

A little more climbing and we made it to the castle. The remnants of St. George Castle were very simple and beautiful, offering awesome views of the city. And conversely, you can look up and see the castle perched on top of its hill from many areas of the city.

"Journaling dramatically" at St. George Castle. Photo courtesy of the very gifted Frances Uy!

As I sat along the edge of the cliff (journaling dramatically) and felt the strong wind coming off from the sea, I was reminded of the boy in The Alchemist, feeling the wind from a faraway place on his face (coincidentally, not too far from where I was at the moment). The wind really did seem different and almost other-worldly.

St. George Castle

Since no blog post of mine could be complete without animals, I have to mention that there were both cats and peacocks up in the castle.

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