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A leisurely weekend in Lisbon : 16th – 19th March

A leisurely weekend in Lisbon : 16th – 19th March

Old Apr 4, 07, 5:51 am
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A leisurely weekend in Lisbon : 16th – 19th March

I work for a construction company so our time off tends to be fairly regimented – 20 days leave – 5 which are used during our Christmas shutdown (read it & weep, you people in the USA!!), and 15 which are meant to be used at Easter & July. But I hate being told how to use my holidays so try to wangle long weekends away without taking annual leave!

Our weekend in Lisbon was a case in point – it was St. Patrick’s Day on Saturday 17th which meant we were closed Friday 16th & Monday 19th. With that info to hand, we decided to go somewhere a little warmer than Carcassone (it was arctic there last February) & picked Lisbon out of a hat. Flights were booked on line with Aer Lingus & an eye on the ICH boards on Flyertalk yielded a 2 for 1 deal in the Holiday Inn Continental, so I added an extra night and we were all set. Our original flight timing was 06.40* (check in 05.10) so rather than get Mr. Duck up at 2am, we decided to book the Holiday Inn Express near Dublin Airport. *changed to 07.00 by EI

We got home from work at about 6pm on Thursday, had dinner, emptied the bin (we once came back to an unemptied breadbin after a 2 week holiday… who knew Brennans Bread would turn that colour!), packed & headed off in the car for the 50-mile trip to the HIX. Luckily traffic was very light so it only took an hour & we had parked the car in the carpark (€7 per day) & checked in, all by 9.15pm. As we had such an early start, we decided to head straight to the room, bypassing the bar (but I’m on my HOLIDAYS!) to get some sleep. The room was great – clean, spacious bathroom and a very comfy bed with plenty of pillows. We arranged an alarm call for 5am (and I set another one on my BlackBerry just to be sure) and it was off to the land of nod. The phone rang at the ungodly hour of 5am and up we got. We were standing in the lobby at 5.23, ready for the courtesy 05.30 shuttle to the airport. I managed to choke down a cup of coffee from the free continental breakfast buffet before hopping onto the bus.

Friday 16th March
Dublin Airport, was as usual, the tenth circle of hell. It was absolutely jampacked at 5.45am with queues everywhere – it urgently needs to be extended. We did OLCI for our flight to Lisbon with Aer Lingus the day before so we just needed to “present our boarding card at the Bag Drop desk” to check in our solitary bag. Yeah right – there was a queue halfway down the street & most of the people shouldn’t have been there in the first place - due to abysmal signage at DAP, pax flying to Madrid were at the Lisbon counter, driving the staff bonkers. One queue down, one to go as we spotted the end of the security line… all the way over at the Bank counter in the corner. 30 minutes of shuffling followed as we waited to get through security. Eventually we emerged, a little flushed, but relatively unscathed and headed down to our gate in Terminal B via Hughes & Hughes for a pile of trash mags and a bottle of water.

The flight boarded very smoothly & we were soon in our seats – 4E & 4F ready for an on-time departure. The flight was fine and we availed of the gourmet breakfast – a ham & mozzarella panini & some fairly decent coffee for €7.50 each. We landed in Lisbon at 09.20, the bag was one of the first off the belt and off we went to find a taxi in the lovely warm sunshine.

It was about a 10-15 minute drive from the airport to the Holiday Inn Continental and we were charged €8.50 (cheaper than the pre-paid voucher available at the Tourist Counter in the airport) for our trip. The Holiday Inn Continental is located just 2 minutes walk from Campo Pequeno on a side street called Rua Laura Alves. I notified the hotel a few days previously that we would be arriving at about 10.00 and there was no problem in giving us our room – 1006 on the 10th floor. We had a large king bed, a huge bathroom & openable windows, all of which made for a nice weekend. After unpacking & figuring out what we wanted to do, we hopped into a taxi and headed for Centro Vasco da Gama, just opposite Oriente metro station. We wandered through the shopping centre, stopping for lunch in Cervejeira Lusitana before walking along the prom to the Cable car. We decided to take a one way trip down to the Oceanarium & took some gorgeous photos from the air. The Oceanarium was nice, but not a patch on Oceanpolis in Brest where we were last year. All fished out, we walked back to Vasco da Gama where Mr. Duck finally let me loose in Sephora to speed-shop. Taxi back to the hotel for a chill out before we headed out to dinner. The less said about it the better because it was dire. The service was Fawlty Towers, our seatmates were barking mad & they forgot to place our order, so gave us whatever the kitchen could cook quickest!!! Thank god the wine & caiprihinas were good enough to dull the pain.

Saturday 17th March (St. Patricks Day & a feast of rugby)
Breakfast wasn’t included in our cheapo rate, so we feasted on croissants & water bought in the supermarket before heading out to explore Lisbon. Mr. Duck bought us tickets for the Tram Tour but we just missed one and the next one would have made us late for the rugby, so we went for a wander stopping off for a Pastel de Belem and coffee in a wee café. Those little custard tarts are heavenly but very bad for you… We eventually found ourselves over at the Mercado de Ribiera which was closing up for the day. The area wasn’t the nicest so we turned back towards Hennessy’s Irish Bar opposite Cais do Sodre metro station to settle in for an afternoon of rugby & pints. I know, I know… but it was Paddy’s Day & we are Irish! We beat the Italians, but the French just pipped us to the post for winning the 6 Nations. More than a little merry, we headed for the hotel in a taxi because I knew one of us might fall asleep on the Metro & we’d be rightly stuffed. Eventually we decided to head out again later for some dinner which was not as bad as the night before, but not fantastic either (the best is yet to come).

Sunday 18th March
The weather was sunny and the shops were shut, so we decided to hop on a train to Cascais – the train trip was very cheap - €3.20 return and go for a wander. It was a lovely spot and after walking for a good while, we stopped for a drink and eventually a long lunch. We headed back to Lisbon and hopped on the tram for our tour. I know it would have been cheaper to get the No. 28 but it was nice to sit there & have everything explained to you, without having to constantly rifle through a guidebook. You don’t realise how hilly Lisbon is until you look back! That night, we decided to go to a restaurant called Cervejaria da Trindade on the recommendation of our trusty Lonely Planet guidebook. The queue was nearly as bad as the one in Dublin Airport but it was worth the wait. Our food was incredible, the wine was fantastic & the bill came to €34! Full & happy, we grabbed a cab & headed back to our hotel to catch some sleep.

Monday 19th March
Not much to report as we had to be in the airport for 9am to check in for our return flight to Dublin. Lisbon Airport is so spacious & uncluttered compared to Dublin and we were allocated the same 4 E & F seats as on our ourbound leg. We had a rather bumpy flight & landed almost an hour late into cold, wet & windy Dublin. Welcome back to reality!

All in all, we had a great weekend - Lisbon is truly a lovely place & so much cheaper than Dublin. Couldn't get over the cost of taxis compared to home and the weather was just gorgeous. Can't wait to go back ^
Babaduck is offline  
Old Dec 2, 10, 8:21 am
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thanks for the report^

The more I read about Lisbon, the more I want to go
Sweet Willie is online now  
Old Dec 2, 10, 12:31 pm
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Originally Posted by Sweet Willie View Post
thanks for the report^

The more I read about Lisbon, the more I want to go
+ 1
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