My first memory of Lisbon is feeling like I might die. The Pensao Royal on Rua do Crucifixo is some six flights up. No elevator. Tony and I, hauling our overstuffed backpacks, tromped the narrow, ascending stairs with slow-witted footsteps, our chests heaving. But the walk is worth it, because the Pensao Royal, run by Paula, a lovely hostess with long, dark brown hair and an enchanting accent, is a miracle in the center of the Chiado district. The room we are housed in is a cheery yellow with butterfly and flower decals on the walls and optimistic pillowcases and small throw pillows in the shape of owls. The room overlooks the Rua do Crucifixo.
Walk Through Lisboa or "How They Found Their Way."
During our trek, I had happened upon an Italian restaurant with a beautifully decorated interior. It was too late for lunch and too early for dinner, so I had planned to return. As it happened, though, when we returned to the hotel, Paula provided sausage rolls for our dinner, and my traveling companion was too tired to go out for a meal. So, we decided to rest for a time.
That evening, Tony and I find our way into the Bairro Alto to have a beer at one of the many bars with outside tables. The bar we chose had a band playing in front of it, some traditional music of one of the islands off the coast of Africa, which unfortunately, after a drink or two, now eludes me. A wispy, dark-skinned girl was dancing in front of her bandmates, alternately moving in swaying ecstasy and peddling CDs to the bar's patrons. I am always afraid I am being rather rude to those solicitors, but I do not often buy things off the streets, since once I start, every peddler within a two-mile vicinity will expect to make a sale. When you are traveling Europe on a budget, you have to be discerning. Plus, I had little room left in my carry on and was saving most of my room for goods procured in Morocco, which we would not be in for several days' time. By now, my exhaustion is seeping from my pores, so we decide to call it a night. The night time had become increasingly cold, so we expected a rather miserable rest; however, the blankets on the bed kept us delightfully warm.