Tuk Tuk’ing in Lisbon

Tuk Tuk's in the Praça da FigueiraAfter wandering past the Santa Justa Lift, I continued down the street I was on, turned onto the next, strolled down the next…  Eventually I found myself on the square, Praça da Figueira (Square of the Fig Tree).  It is a large square with a bronze statue of D. João I de Portugal.  The highlight for me, were the little tuk tuk’s sitting in the square in front of the statue…  I had been thinking of making my way next to the Castelo de Sao Jorge.  From my prior vantage point on the lift however, I could see this castle was quite a distance away, and, up on top of a large hill.  I had been rethinking this decision…  Until I saw the tuk tuk’s!!

D. João I de PortugalTuk Tuk'ing!I made my way across the street and asked one of the driver’s if she would be able to take me up to the castle.  She informed me that because they are not a taxi service, she could not just give me a ride there.  But, she was quick to add in, she could give me a tour of the city and just drop me off there on the way back…  I quickly agreed, and was quickly bouncing in the back of the tuk tuk as we drove up through the hills of Lisbon.  The streets in many areas are still stones, which are not smooth, and have quite a lot of holes throughout them. I am not exaggerating about how much I was bouncing around!  The tuk tuk’s don’t go all too fast, largely due to the holes, but also due to having to navigate amongst the cars, both those driving, and those that parked in less than ideal spots.  So, since it was slow, the bumpiness wasn’t unbearable, I just laughed the whole way up the hill.

View of the castle and LisbonSé CathedralShe first took me through the streets with several churches and cathedrals, pointing them out as we passed by.  Eventually we arrived at a viewpoint on one of the largest of the hills in Lisbon, Miradouro da Senhora do Monte.  If I remember right, Lisbon is built over 7 hills.  The view was amazing.  The castle was on a hill to the left, with the town below, and the river beyond that.  Towards the right I could see the Santa Justa Lift and Carmo Convent where I had just been earlier…  Lisbon is a beautiful city to look at from above.  I got to get out and survey it for a while, before resuming our trek through Lisbon.

The Grounds of the Castelo de Sao JorgeIn the wall inside the entrance to the castleI think I got lucky with my driver, but then again, maybe they are all super nice and friendly, but I can’t be sure.  She took me next to another pretty church with a view point.  She had been telling me about how gorgeous the church was inside and told me if I wanted to go in quickly and see it, that was fine, she’d wait for me.  In fact, she insisted I go and check it out!  So I did, however, unfortunately, since it was a Monday, the place was closed.  At least she didn’t have to wait for me for long!

From there it was a short drive to reach the castle.  She drove me right up to the entrance and dropped me off there, as agreed upon.  I had not expected it, but I thoroughly enjoyed my tuk tuk tour through Lisbon, and I highly recommend you catch a ride on one of those, and maybe even work a deal to your benefit while you’re at it…

Castelo de Sao JorgeThe castle had a bit of a ticket line when I arrived, but it did move quickly, and I was soon inside.  The view point from the castle grounds/walls of Lisbon is, of course, beautiful as well.  In the heat of July, it is a very welcome relief to be walking in the shade of those trees on the castle grounds!  Eventually I found the bridge into the actual castle and walked along the walls of the castle towards the archaeological excavation they had along the side.  From there was the nice view of the church above.

View from the castleSilly GandalfWhen I actually entered into the castle’s inner area, I found a little area set up with various birds of prey and a stage of sorts for you to have your picture taken with the bird of your choice.  I love animals firstly, I love raptors and owls, so I debated doing this for all of about 10 seconds.  However, I did debate which bird for several minutes while I waited.  I eventually decided on this beautiful grey and black owl who was pretty much rolling in the sand way over on the side (they had the birds spread out through a roped off area amongst a couple trees or in other shady spots).  He cracked me up, so I decided I’d like to meet him the most, it was only €5 to meet him (for me the picture was just an added bonus).  His name was Gandalf, and he was just as silly on my hand.  Rather than look at the camera he kept turning and staring awkwardly at me and my necklace.

Posing with GandalfThat is a picture of a picture, sooo… not the greatest quality.  And yes, I was wearing a dress around Lisbon that day.  I found it slightly amusing to be so well dressed, standing there with that large birding glove, holding an owl…

Portugal!!

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