By Ryan C. Haynes
I didn't know what to expect before I made plans to go to Lisbon. Okay, I lie, I had started to develop some expectations. My friend and business partner, Flavio, has lived in Lisbon for many years - raving about it all the time. My university housemate was also living there for a few months, and perhaps her silence by email and Skype was enough of indication to know there was more to Lisbon than meets the eye.
Prices during the summer were extortionate, EasyJet was the best deal all round, however at nearly £200 I knew I had to leave it until the kids returned to school, at which point October proved the best time to visit at just £100. The return flights on a Sunday are pretty late, so I booked space at AirParks for the car - and plus petrol, only worked out a few pounds more than going by train - and much quicker.
Lisbon Airport is connected by the developing metro station, and took me to Rato within 45 minutes. Just West of the City, Rato is just a 40 minute walk to the centre, and easily accessible by the Tram number 28. Plus its spitting distance from the main gay scene. It's not long before you're in Bairro Alto to start your night, and then head to gay Rato and crawl home.
Tram, Metro, Bus, Taxi and by foot. Lisbon isn't that big and you can really get around on foot, but be fit - as there will be a lot of hills to climb and its all on cobbled streets. When the cobbles get warm, their smoothness becomes slippery and you can find yourself slipping down the roads. Visit the National Art Museum, walk along the river front and head to Centrale. It's that simple. You will however, get lost in Bairro Alto and surrounding areas, as the streets have no shape and order to them. So whether you have a printed map or a SatNav, I assure you, you will have navigational issues!
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