My birthday treat from Sue was to go to Lisbon. We flew from Liverpool with EasyJet which was quite painless and got us into Lisbon early afternoon. We went to the information desk to get some Lisbon cards to make best use of buses, trams and trains and asked where the taxi rank was. There were hundreds of people just outside the entrance milling around and we found out that the taxi drivers were on an 8 day strike, protesting at Uber being given more licences than the official taxi drivers. We opted for the bus and waited in the queue, only to get to the head of the queue and find out we needed to buy a ticket before we got on. Instant panic and I just managed to get tickets whilst Sue stayed in the queue. When we asked for Avenide do Liberdade, where our hotel was, the driver said he couldn’t take us there as the road was closed off owing to the taxi drivers’ strike but we would be dropped off 10 minutes away. For 10 minutes, read 25 minutes with a stop for beer on the way. It was boiling hot and dragging a case along cobbled streets and map reading at the same time isn’t the greatest of fun. We were 200 yards away from the hotel (although didn’t know at the time) and we asked a group of 4 policemen where our hotel was but they didn’t know……
Anyway, after the travel trauma we got to our hotel and it was just lovely – not a brilliant view out the window but a great room. The bar was good but the food in the restaurant was decidedly average for the price. We went out on subsequent evenings and had mixed success. One restaurant with a sniffy waiter and average meal, next one much better – and the final evening we decided to go to a small family restaurant in a back street near to the hotel. We had looked at it previously and thought it might not be very good and given it a miss, despite it getting great reviews on the net. However we decided we wanted to stay local on the last evening and walked to it to see if we could reserve a table. The two guys sitting in the front of the restaurant (looked like someones front room) were taken aback that someone wanted to reserve a table but booked us in. When we get there later that evening we were asked where we wanted to sit – there was nobody else in which we thought a bad sign. We ordered a wine which he hadn’t got but he offered a substitute for the same price which was great. The menu was short but we took that as a sign that the food would be good – it was excellent. Then an Asian lad started to play accoustic guitar and one of the two lads who took our booking sang. They were both quite good. The downside was that the second guy then went to do some washing up and left the Asian lad to sing – he was just awful. I think 1 out of 25 notes was in tune. By this time the restaurant had started to fill up and one girl at another table who seemed to be known by the guys, got up and started to sing and rattle her maracas. She sang a couple of Fado type songs which led to a healthy discussion about the origin of the song between head waiter, guitar player and a couple of Belgians at an adjacent table. What a great evening for almost half the price of the two nights before.
I arranged with the hotel to get me a taxi driver to take me to a couple of places to take some night time photographs. It was a bit windy and I couldn’t get to all the places I wanted to but here’s a few images from my birthday break.
Thanks to the couple in the Park for posing against the statue