During the first week of August, I travelled to the Portuguese capital, as a friend had graciously offered up her flat, and the two cats who live there, for accomodations.

The city was as splendid as I had expected, and not overwhelming for a 4-day stay. I’m not sure if I managed to scale all seven hills, but my urban climbing muscles certainly received a decent workout. I would almost imagine it as a slightly more dilapidated Barcelona, spread out over San Fransisco-like terrain. My use of San Fransisco might possible be influenced by the fact that the old heart of the city has a number of old-time trolleys, if you’re tired of climbing the cobblestoned hills. I actually didn’t use them because they were always packed to the gills.

I did the double decker tour bus (good value for a quick tour and some historical context), but my most enjoyable trip round the city was in one of the hundreds of Tuk Tuks that now sputter their way through the narrow web of streets in the old city centre. The 45 minute tour was 50 euros, and was guided by a cheerful, well-informed university student. He was also quite intuitive, glossing over things like the history of the two or three cathedrals we passed, but making a point to stray off his beaten path and pass by some fantastic street art, particularly some famous pieces which form part of the Lisbon street art tour.

The first mural was a clearly political piece, as our guide explained some of the political heritage of the city, which soon became evident in a lot of the graffiti I spotted throughout the city.

I missed the official street art tour, by the way, but was able to find some of the important landmarks on my own, for example the GAU, or Galeria de Arte Urbana.

Other things not to be missed in Lisbon are the sardinhas assadas and fado–both of which I was able to enjoy in the same outdoor patio, which despite the crowds and the terrible Tripadvisor reviews, I quite enjoyed.

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