Lisbon with the Little One- Days 1 & 2

Sunday 25th of March by CarpediemEire

Lisbon needs no introduction. It is an in-place at the moment,  near top of the list for European city breaks, blending good weather, history, fine cuisine, and proximity to the sea with immense good value. We travelled in early spring, but the city was already alive.

Lisbon, capital of Portugal has hosted a settlement for 2700 years. It formed part of the Roman Empire from 200 BC, and fell to the Moors in 714 AD. Its’s golden age was in the 15th century, when the great discoverers set sail, and brought back great wealth and affluence to the city and country.

Travelling with Nina and Beata, a happy medium of activities for all three was sought, me the intrepid explorer, Beata the intrepid shopper, and Nina the intrepid playaholic.

Day 1- Weary and Wet

Arriving at 9am from Ireland, where our flight left at 6:15am, we were groggy and a little cranky. The heavens were opening so we took a taxi to our hotel. We were charged more than expected but language difficulties ensured that I was fighting a losing battle. Should have learned some Portugese. Leaving our bags with the hotel, we ventured out for the afternoon. Rain was as ever the marplot, so we took a local bus north to the Centro Columbo. I misread the stops on Google maps, we alighted too early and we arrived at the shopping mall soaked. Not a great way to start a holiday. But coming from Ireland, we are used to a little rain aren’t we.

We spent a few hours here, waiting for our room to be ready and the rain to abate. Over 300 stores are present and a sizeable play area called Colomboland. So time was well spent by my companions. We ate lunch at Pans and Company, an option within the food hall for a simple sandwich and coffee.

We took the bus back to the Neya Lisbon Hotel, a boutique hotel about 15 minutes walk north of the city centre. It is well serviced by bus routes. It was a good priced option, but the room was a bit pokey for 3 of us to share. But I don’t believe holidays are for hotel rooms. We elected to take a nap for the afternoon.

The skies cleared and in the evening we took a stroll down to the nearby Campo Martires de Patria, a peaceful park, with a pond and some very interesting looking foul. It also has a playground very convenient for our hotel.

Campo Martires de Patria
Campo Martires de Patria
Campo Martires de Patria
Campo Martires de Patria
A most sinister looking bird
Campo Martires de Patria
More evil looks

Backtracking we found a simple restaurant frequented by locals called Horta dos Brunos, with very traditional food. It hit the spot exactly. We gave up on our day long struggle against fatigue, and headed to the hotel for some serious shut-eye.

Day 2 -Brighter Outlook

Awaking refreshed, it was time for more food. Breakfast was great, enough variety to last the week on the hot and cold buffet. The weather was far more favourable for activities. We walked to the metro stop at Parque Eduardo VII, which took us out to…

Lisbon Zoo

The stroll from the metro to the zoo is a nice one through some green areas. As with any zoo expect to leave a few pennies at the door, it isn’t cheap to keep a “pet” let alone hundreds. Entry is €21.50 for an adult and €14.50 for a child.

We got there just before 11, perfect timing to see the dolphin show. This was the highlight of the zoo, perhaps the whole trip. They were excellently trained, performed great stunts and there was a real affinity between them and their trainers. They were joined by some seals (or sea lions, alas i still don’t know the difference at my ripe age) and their trainers. Highly entertaining.

Lisbon ZooLisbon Zoo

Lisbon Zoo
The dolphins were full of tricks
Lisbon Zoo
Affinity between trainer and animal

We spent most of the afternoon in the zoo, Nina marveling at the different animals. As zoos go its formulaic but with a few features that stand out. A cable car traverses the zoo, giving an elevated view of the animals in their simulated habitat. It’s a worthwhile 20 minutes. The zoo also has some formal gardens which are nice to visit. The animal highlight as in many zoos were the meerkats, who were quite attracted to Nina’s umbrella. I was also particularly impressed by the bear enclosure, it had a real world feel to it.

Lisbon Zoo

Lisbon Zoo
Meerkat Whisperer
Lisbon Zoo
Adorable Meerkat
Lisbon Zoo
Bear enclosure

Downtown Lisbon

We caught the metro into the city centre getting out at Baixa-Chaido, for the Bairro Alta district. A maze of little streets dating from the 16th century, lined with cafes and shops, our wander took us to Praca Luis de Camoes, where we stopped into A Padaria Portuguesa bakery for some sandwiches and pastries. Nina discovered a street performer making bubbles. She would happily  have spent the day there. Amazing how children find pleasure in the smallest things.

Praca Luis de Camoes
Bubble Fun

We zigzagged our way through the streets, and down steps, got a little lost and onwards to the Santa Justa lift. Built at the turn of the 20th century to link parts of the city, as Lisbon is very much on different levels. The queue was long, the price was too high at €5, but its a very interesting structure, and the views are excellent above. It overlooks the skeleton of the Carmo Church which was destroyed in the Lisbon earthquake of 1755, with great vistas over the Tagus, the Baixa area, and beyond to the castle.

Santa Justa lift
Santa Justa lift

Santa Justa lift

Santa Justa lift
Views over to the Se and Tagus
Santa Justa lift
Over the rooftops to the Castelo

Evening was setting around us, as we visited Rossio Square. Built after the earthquake that razed much of the city, it’s an elegant square, with a central fountain and eye-catching wave embossed paving. The National Theatre borders the northern part of the square. We caught a bus back to our hotel from there.

Santa Justa lift
The view back at the Santa Justa Lift

Rossio Square

Rossio Square
Rossio Square

Nina gave us a moment she will cherish as an adult back in the hotel. She was playing with the little toys she took with her, and took them to the bathroom. She asked me if she could give them a bath. Much to my horror and due to her innocence she was trying to wash them in the bidet. Alas she didn’t know what it was. Queue a noooooooo moment.

That evening we dined in the hotel at the Viva Lisboa restaurant. Like a lot of hotel restaurants it lacked a bit of personality. The food was sublime though. My black pork nearly looked to good to eat. The girls had some wonderful pasta dishes. We retired with some heavy sightseeing days to come.


0 thoughts on “Lisbon with the Little One- Days 1 & 2

  1. Awesome post. Like it how you combine texts and pictures,especially the one of the Santa Justa lift from below. Now I see that there were so many things I missed when I was there. 🙁
    I would however, like to give an honest feedback, which I think would further improve the presentation of your blog:
    1. Try to align the paragraph to ‘Justify’.
    2. Shorten the pictures, perhaps combine more pictures into a clear collage and present it. This would help the user to read more information without scrolling too much and keep them hooked on to your site. Hope this would help you further.

    I try to do it in my travel blog as well:

    Would like to have your views on the blogs as well and if you see and points for me to improve, do let me know. In case you like my travel and travelogues, it would be a pleasure if you follow them. I hope to do the same for you and your blog too. 🙂

    Keep up travelling and blogging! 🙂

    1. Hi. Thanks a lot for the advice.
      I know I’m still finding my feet, and I haven’t figured out this whole thing yet. I’m definitely going to put your suggestions into use and hopefully it helps.

      I had a look through your blogs and I’m no expert but I like what I see. I followed it, so I’ll keep an eye.

      Good to have an ally on here. We will be in touch.

  2. Great post. The more I see of Portugal, the more I realize I have to travel there. What a gift travelling with your little one. I recall our trip to New Zealand in 1988 with our then 16 month old. It was not without its challenges, but was so worth it to help us slow down and see things through a child’s eyes again.

    1. I’m usually a 1000 Mile a day traveller. Being with children it really does put the brakes on the sightseeing. I gave it a good bash though. But you have to seek balance on your activities. New Zealand is a real outdoor place too. I assume you didn’t try any of the Fiordland hikes ?

      1. We had to pack the good old Umbroller with us wherever we went. If the path was too rough for the Umbroller, we did not go. We had a camper van and this proved to be the ideal way to travel with a wee one. As to Fiordland, we actually did a fly-in/fly-out with him. Pretty ideal and a great view of the Remarkables and other mountain ranges. Also, a sunny day at Milford which typically gets cloud and rain 330 days a year. Any hiking we did was at our little one’s pace.

  3. Agreed. We hear that from the relatives all the time and experience it last year over the 12 days we there. Definitely the Emerald Isle.

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