We woke up quite early today, and despite the cloudy morning the temperature was already above 25 degree Celsius. The plan was for my girlfriend to do her morning run while I will be flying my drone from Praça do Comércio, a large open space near the water that is a perfect take-off and landing zone.
There were not many people early in the morning and it seems that workers have yet to come to their office by 8am, unlike in North America. I recorded several footages and also took photographs of the city from above, which highlights the uniformity of its buildings’ rooftop. Most of the cafés and restaurants around the square were still close, but luckily there was a small café on the northeast corner that was open already (Martinho da Arcada). I waited for my girlfriend to finish her run and had a glass of orange juice and my usual café con leche.
My girlfriend finished her run half an hour after I sat, and since she was quite sweaty, we went back to the hotel so she can shower first. We then had a breakfast at Paul that is on Rua Augusta. Breakfast is our favorite time of the day. Few things are better than having a croissant and a cup of coffee on a patio while watching the world goes around.
As this is our last day for the trip, we had few “must see” places left to visit. We took a slow walk to the pink street (Rua Nova do Carvalho) and also Rua De São Paulo to took some photographs of the iconic city tram. Unfortunately, the waiting line to ride the tram to the top of the street was quite long and after 15 minutes of waiting we gave up and opted instead to hike the same alley that the tram passes via staircase next to the building.
To save some time and energy, we took an Uber to go to Belem Tower and Jerónimos Monastery, both located 5.7 Km west from where we were – a solid 70-minute walking distance, according to Google. We did not get inside the Belem Tower due to the long line up, but instead sit on the staircase facing the ocean and listened to a local musician playing his violin, which was beautiful.
The Jerónimos Monastery was erected in the early 1500s near the launch point of Vasco da Gama’s first journey, and its construction funded by a tax on the profits of the yearly Portuguese India Armadas. In 1880, da Gama’s remains were moved to new carved tombs in the nave of the monastery’s church, only a few meters away from the tombs of the kings Manuel I and John III, whom da Gama had served. It took us an hour to tour the complex, which we then proceeded to eat an ice cream at one of the cafés in Rua de Belém – where many souvenir shops are also located.
And after having disappointed by our dinner last night, our willingness to try new restaurants in Lisbon was diminished. On the other hand, I had been drooling over the grilled seafood we ate two days ago from Monte Mar in the Timeout market. This time, we sat on the counter table behind the restaurant rather than trying to find a seat on the crowded tables in the center of the market, and satisfied ourselves with platters of Mediterranean seafood.
For the rest of the day, we wandered east to the section of the city we had not been. My girlfriend and I split halfway, as she still wanted to walk while I preferred to find a café and sit. At 7.30pm we met at a Starbucks near our hotel in Restauradores and went together to watch the sunset at Miradouro da Senhora do Monte, another open space area on top of the mountain that is perfect to enjoy the scenery of both the city and Tagus River.
It was dark when we descended from the mountain and the road in the small alleys were dimly lit. Nevertheless, walking around the old town area of Lisbon after the sunset has its own charm. The cobblestone road, quiet street, and the city’s colorful walls transport us to an era when life was simpler and perhaps, better.
We were not in the mood to have our dinner in a restaurant and knowing that we have to wake up at 3am – in six more hours – we went instead to a McDonalds nearby our hotel and took away our dinner to eat at the hotel’s room.
The next morning, we departed to the airport and things go relatively smooth compared to our earlier flights. We were 5 hours early in the airport and among the first in line to check our baggage. However, we again found that the airlines staff were mostly new employees that had not used to processing a Canadian permanent resident card, which cost us an hour of waiting on the counter while a more experienced employee was being called in. Despite that, we still had time to claim our tax refund and got some of our tax money back. And that, was the end of our Spain and Portugal vacation!