Lisbon, the capital of Portugal is geograpically the west most capital city in Europe. It shares the same timezone as Great Britian. Perhaps Portugal in the past has been more familiar for explorers like Ferdinand Magellan, Vasco Da Gama and Afonso de Albuquerque, who built the A Formosa fort in Malacca, Malaysia. In modern times however, Lufthansa flew us to Lisbon in slightly over 3 hours.

Thanks to its ascention into the European Union, Portugal uses the Euro and a passport is not required for travel. This makes the displeasure of travel associated with customs or immigration inspections a non event. Public transportation using the bus, tram and underground is a snap and relatively inexpensive.

There were many districts around Lisbon, each with its quaint lifestyle, characterised by mosaic tiles and tiled facades which made Portuguese lifestyle famous. We spent a lot of time in one section of the city called Ciado filled with quaint city stores, pedesterian walks and historical buildings alike. The "hop on - hop off" bus service was something we used often until we found how to operate the public transport system.

In any case, with only 600,000 inhabitants Lisbon can be considered a small city. It did however, host the World Expo 1998 - a site which is now home the Oceanoc observatory, The Atlantic Arenal which looks more like the saucer section of Star Trek Voyager. Have a look in the "Images of Lisbon", you'll see what I mean.

So, what did we see in Lisbon? Stacks, there are churches, castles and fortresses of course which help the Portuguese protect their city from invades in the bygone era. The main streets as I've mentioned earlier and so are the myriad of squares and historic buildings which line the squares. One example is the Rissio Square which sits in the middle of the city. Apart from the Hard Rock Cafe, the Dona Maria II National Theater is also located on the fringe of the square. Within the square are two baroque fountains and a 27 meter high monument with Dom Pedro IV on top of it. The monument has 4 pedestrials depicting the qualities of Dom Pedro IV - Justice, Wisdom, Strength, and Moderation.

What we did enjoy visiting was Belém Tower, a boot shaped UNESCO listed World Heritage monument that was a fortress at the head of Lisbon harbour. Apparently, this tower was the last sight by many sailors of their homeland before their journey of discovery. The Belém Tower is Lisbon's iconic symbol of the Age of Disovery.

Unfortunately, we missed seeting the inside of all 4 Palaces in Lisbon, we simply ran out of time. We were however able to visit Sé do Lisboa (The Lisbon Cathedral), Lisbon's oldest building which dated back to 1150. Obviously, this building wasn't destroyed by the great earthquake in 1755. We also spent time at the Castelo Sao Jorge.

All in all, we had a fun time in Lisbon. We enjoyd the meals, sights and history of this wonderful city. It's worth visiting if you are in Europe but I would put cities like Florence; Venice, Milan, Munich, Paris etc.. ahead of it. This is still some work to go when it comes to "entertainment value" but the trip was nevertheless, fun!

We discovered a few things about some of the things in Portugal ...

Chicken Peri Peri, the spicy flamed barbeque chook made famous by the Portugese settlement in Malacca (incidentally, the one in Malacca is called Portugese flying flaming chicken as sold at the Portuguese Settlement in Ujung Pasir, Malacca, Malaysia), Nando's Chicken chain throughout Malaysia, Australia and South Africa originated from here. We had the plesaure to taste the original chicken and it was deliscious, tender and juicy - especially when taken with the famous Peri Peri sauce.

The Chinese Custard Egg Tart - came from Portugal. Here, its called the Pastéis de Nata which looks exactly like the ones sold in throughout Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Chinatown in Melbourne and Sydney. The only thing is that the egg custard is that it is more startched hardened and does not therefore taste as good. In fact you stop eating half way through the first bite after realising its not the same as what you know.

When you travel around Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong you'll notice that people often hang their washing out to dry in the front of their homes. Well, we can blame the Portugese for this as this is what they do too - except that this is Europe and something we don't really expect.

We hope you enjoy this edition.

Jeanette and Raymond Han
December 18th, 2008


Pasteis de Nata
Pastéis de Nata
Chinese egg tarts
originated from Portugal.
Beware though, it doesn't taste the same as Chinese ones we know.

 

Images of Portugal
Images of Lisbon

Note that images have a 24 bit colour depth, requiring both Adobe Flash and Shockwave to work. It works best when viewed through systems appropriately configured

 

hanging the washing
Hanging of the washing
can be see all over Lisbon
as we see it all over Malaysia
and Hong Kong.
Perhaps this behaviour was influenced by the Portuguese.

 

Portugal
located on the west coast
of Portugal, Lisbon is the west most capital city in Europe

 

Atlantic Pavilion
The Atlantic Pavilion
or the Spaceship as it was known in Lisbon World Expo 1998
today, its the Vasgo Da Gama Shopping Mall
 

People
The Portuguese were very friendly when we spoke to them. There weren't that many asians around - or Chinese restaurants for that matter. Perhaps Asians are a bit strange looking to them - we generally didn't have an issue about this. We had a good feeling about tthe place and people.
We rate this 3.5 out of 5.

Service
Service was very good although people didn't seem to know what to do around us. Our ariport shuttle bus driver decided to take a detour, dropping us right on the doorstep of our hotel wihout us even asking for it. It put a smile on our faces. An old lady who saw us looking at the public map asked us if we wanted to go to the castle, in Portugese. We nodded and she proceeded to explain to us how bus 37 worked before prompting getting on her tram. We got exactly where we were going thanks to her instructions..
I would rate this 4 out of 5 for Service.

Culture
Lisbon was rebuilt from scratch after an earthquake in 1755, hence most things should date after this date. Because of this, there wasn't much history to see except for whataever was erected after this date to commemerate the heroes of the past.
We rate this 3.5 out of 5.

Attractiveness
Really simply city to traverse on public transportation - bus, tram, train and even segway. As Lisbon was the site of Expo 1998, a city within a city full of its own recipe for life was built from the former Expo centre.
We rate this a 4 out of 5.

Food
Portugal is famous for their seafood! We had a great shellfish on rice and seafood stew, although the latter served with potatoes put us off. Famous for their seafood, this could be found as stews anywhere from €45 to €80 per serviing for 2 people. There was an abundance of restaurants everywhere although in Ciado, a Seafood platter would set you back €90 for two. The Chicken Peri Peri however was €9.50 for two.
We rate this 3.5 out of 5.

Cost
For Europe, Lisbon can be considered to be cheap. We stayed in an all suite hotel for under €100 per night. Pubic transport was about €0.80 per journey or €3 per unlimited travel within a 24 hour timelimit. We also had 2 cakes, an orange juice and capucinno for a total €4.80 - there are expesive places around for sure but generally, things are pretty much affordable for Europe.
We rate this 4 out of 5.

Overall
Everything considered; the sights, experience, food and cost - we still had a fun time and would rate this 3.5 out of 5.

Lisbon, PT

People

Service

Culture

Attractiveness

Food

Cost

Overall Score


McCurrency Index
ref: July 24th, 2008

Malaysia $1.70
Singapore $2.92
Australia $3.36
Europe (EU) $5.34