Lisbon by Train, Boat, Tram and Scooter – Part 1

(Love the colours. Cafe near the train station at Cais Sodré)

We went to Lisbon on Saturday. If you remember I was to be the tour guide and Denis the tourist. We set off at 8.30am to get the metro train (tram) from Corroios. Corroios turned out to be a bit of a hub for transport. There was a train north to Lisbon or south to Setúbal (also worth going to, tell you soon). There was also the metro tram train that went to Cacilhas and the ferry port. Also a bus just across the road from our parking spot going into central Lisbon. Then more busses within a twenty minutes walk.

(From the ferry, see the bridge?)

We were taking the ferry! It’s a passenger ferry that takes commuters from the south side of the estuary to the Lisbon side. Plus there’s a bonus – it’s two minutes walk from the port to the Time Out Market. Denis loves this place so it was to be our first stop. It’s an old food market with a new section with restaurants. It’s like an upmarket food court for good food from Portugal. We arrived about 9.45am but it wasn’t open yet.

(The outside of Time Out)

If you decide to run your own tour you might want to check the opening times of the attractions. Fortunately, I had built a little flexibility into my planning (sure I had) and there was a cafe on the outside so we loaded up with coffee and cake. Course we did.

(See the sea in the distance? That’s how far we’d walked and we weren’t there yet…)

Then we walked to the next attraction. It was only an 18 minute walk… but it was uphill and the temperature was rising. (Top tour guide tip: check the gradient of walks, over a certain percentage your clients may need public transportation.) My plan was to walk to the Ascensor Da Glória. You may not know this but Lisbon is built on seven hills. We were getting to know theses hills, exhaustively. My next two attractions were very old ways the people of Lisbon invented to cope with their hills. The Ascensor Da Glória is an old, old tram (technically not a funicular, seemingly) that travels up an impossible incline so you don’t have to.

(There it is, ascending)

We were almost there. I was following google maps and we had just one more street to go and it looked pretty straight on the map so no room for error. Well no room for that kind of error, I had made a different kind of error. I couldn’t believe it. We had arrived at the top! Google maps was directing me to the bottom of the incline via the route of the tram…

(There’s the driver and his empty Ascensor da Glória)

But Denis didn’t know that… hey look at this! Yes lovely. We waited for 190 (felt like it) people to get off and then the two of us, the driver and a local got on. No one, no one goes down the Ascensor da Glória, the hint is in the name. But hey, remember the best tours take you where the locals go, the locals go down, only the tourists go up!

Tour guide in training, Mairead.