My room wasn’t ready, as I expected, so I checked in my luggage and went out to explore. I had a walking tour of the Alfama District at 2:30, so I stopped at a nice market in the Baixa area and made my way to Commerce Square. Lots of tourists in Lisbon, but the city is larger than Porto, so it doesn’t feel quite as overwhelming.
Apparently I missed a huge party here honoring St. Anthony, which is held the entire month of June. The walking tour of the Alfama District was fantastic. This is one of the oldest areas o Lisbon, and it survived the 1755 earthquake. It’s quiet without streets, and was developed by the Moors with labyrinths as a means of protection.
Our guide said that up until 8-9 years ago, Lisbon was a dead city and falling apart. Some areas had a lot of crime and some areas were not rebuilt after the earthquake. And, they were under a dictatorship for almost 40 years, before 1974. Rita (guide) said that tourism really has flourished in the last 5 years. Under the dictatorship in the 60s, people were starving and trying to flee the country. She said it was cheaper to get heroine than cigarettes.
I really enjoyed this area (Alfama) and it’s cultural significance. It’s a city within Lisbon, and most of its residents are in their 80s and 90s and have lived there forever.
After the tour, I could check in to my room and then went to have dinner at Ghoura, which was an Indian restaurant. It was very good and a nice change from Portuguese. Lisbon also has some hills, so my feet were sore at the end of today.
I have one more day before coming home, so we will see what tomorrow brings. Thank you for reading!