How Lisbon traffic turned my X-mas holiday into a nightmare
We departed with one hour delay from Heathrow as there was fog in Lisbon, and they said it is better to stay on the ground, then to be held in the air above Lisbon. Otherwise using British Airways was a pretty pleasant experience, their planes look classy, and the food is ok.
The taxi from the airport charged us 20 euros for 4 people, it was a less than an hour journey to Princess Tea Hotel. On the hotel the comedy started they gave us two rooms on the first floor, no carpet on the floor and smelling of some chemical solution that made u sneeze all the time. I did not intend to change my room initially, but In the evening I had no choice, as I went for my shower I end up with shower bits end pieces in my hands. They agree to give us new rooms on the fourth floor, we lost the wi-fi connectivity but at least there was carpet on the floor, and I could had a decent shower. So my advice if you ever end up checking in Princess Tea, don’t stay on the first floor. Forget to mention that the view on the fourth floor it’s great.
However I do have to make you aware that the windows are badly insulated so if you get there in the winter you might get the chill and hear the traffic in the morning, also the air condition is not working. It is a two star hotel after all, with dodgy tv and no coffee or tea facilities in the room. Staff is however friendly and helpful, breakfast is continental but with plenty of options, no fruits what so ever.
To see the city I have booked the Hop-on-Hop-off tour planning to do blue line in one day and the red line next day, bad idea as they have only a few buses and the traffic is as chaotic as the city plan. In most of the parts Lisbon buildings are crammed on to each other.
If you plan to walk be aware that is quite hilly city. In some places they are no traffic lights and you need to be double careful when you cross the street. To my surprise they are more pastry shops then in Paris. Also you should work on your portuguese as not many of the locals speak english. Some of the new buildings have a very interesting futuristic architecture, but the new city doesn’t merge with the old city like in other places. On the second day of the tour we had to wait more than one hour for the bus because of the traffic, some of the streets are way to narrow to try to squeeze cars, buses and trams all on the same route.
On the blue bus route the most important attraction is the Vasco, with it’s modern buildings , with ship and yacht shapes and the Lisbon ball room. On the red route the main attraction is Belem , with Torro de Belem, Centro Cultural de Belem and Mosteiro des Jeronimos. Both routes meet in 5 or 6 places, like Caie de Soidre , where EMSA centre can also be found (I almost got a job with them once – no hard feelings however). That is for now more on this story will follow soon.