Before I begin the first part of our Lisbon photo reel, I’d like to start off with a couple of ‘personal safety issues’ we experienced while we were there. By no means do I intend to put you off; they are just a couple of points that I feel are worth keeping in mind if you decide to visit:
Be streetwise – I’m stating the obvious here and I know it isn’t just limited to Lisbon. Having travelled a fair bit in the past, we thought we were quite up to scratch in this department in terms of being aware of our surroundings and keeping our personal belongings safe… this was until we encountered pick-pocketing first hand! I’ll keep it as short as I can:
So, with our backpacks in tow, we were walking leisurely side-by-side along a surprisingly quiet stretch of road that led off a very busy part of town that we had just passed through and Lee suddenly felt an awkward pulling sensation on his backpack. He turned his head back, saw nothing in sight so continued to walk. The pulling started again. He decided to pick up his pace to walk slightly ahead of me. The pulling stopped. Realising something wasn’t right, he did a full 180 degree turn this time to spot two ladies less than one foot directly behind us!
I was still oblivious to the situation at this point, wondering why Lee had suddenly slowed down and was facing the opposite direction to where we were heading. He insisted that we crossed the road but clearly, he could feel resistance from me as I really didn’t fancy switching the lovely shade on this side of the road for the blazing sun on the other side! Obviously, subtlety wasn’t working. “These people are pickpockets!”, he then exclaimed in a much more urgent tone. In total shock, I stopped, turned around and in front of me stood these two ladies disguised as tourists all kitted out with sunglasses, backpacks and one was now unnaturally holding up a paper map, pivoting on the spot, looking up at the buildings around us as if they were lost! In even more shock at how creepily silent they must have worked to get so close to us and at how seamless their disguises were (minus the paper map… who still uses a paper map?!), I obeyed immediately and we briskly crossed to the other side of the road.
Everything seemed to happen so quickly; 15 seconds, tops. When the whole episode eventually sunk in and we had enough distance from these ‘pickpockets’ who had now headed back in the opposite direction, I asked Lee how he knew they were pickpockets. This was when Lee told me he felt someone pulling at his backpack so I examined and indeed, the front pocket was almost half open! Fortunately, Lee clocked on just in time and the pickpockets did not succeed but it goes to show that they will always find a way to get to you, especially when you least expect it.
It’s sad to think that some people around the world have to live like this day in, day out, and unfortunately, some innocent tourists will fall victim to these people at some point. It isn’t easy to prepare for this type of situation but I hope that our story will encourage you to be more vigilant when you’re exploring, wherever it may be!
Secondly, wear shoes with good grip! Exquisitely designed tiles can be seen around every corner of Lisbon but whoever’s bright idea it was to use shiny, smooth tiles on the pavements as well did not turn out to be quite so bright; the walkways are the slipperiest walkways I have ever set foot on! I cannot stress enough the importance of wearing appropriate shoes in Lisbon, where a lot of the streets can be at an incline. On several occasions, I felt like I was walking on ice and slid a few centimetres!
Lisbon Photo Reel
With that out of the way, I would like to share part 1 of 2 of a selected collection of photos I managed to capture on our trip. If you can’t already tell, I have fallen in love with almost everything about Lisbon; the culture, the architecture and the cuisine, just to name a few. Lee and I have already talked about returning to Portugal again in the not too distant future!
I hope you enjoy the rest of this post 🙂
The National Palace, Sintra
Quinta Da Regaleira, Sintra
Azenhas Do Mar, Sintra
Belém Tower, Lisbon
Jerónimos Monastery, Lisbon
… to be continued in part 2 of 2.