Lisbon: do a tour or your homework
I just read a post by a travel blogger saying that Lisbon disappointed her. It is not something that I read or hear often, so I decide to read all the text. And I found out that she wondered in the most touristy places in the city – despite not liking the crowds – and tried italian and spanish restaurants – and not even the best.
A few years ago, I went to Milan, Italy. Arrived in the night – which I hate doing – and spent some days, enough to decide that I didn’t like it. In 2009, I went back and had probably the best Tiramisu of my life in a local/family run place. After leaving the small restaurant, I had a new city in front of me. I still talk about that Tiramisu and Milan.
I really believe that when visiting a city you should do one of these things:
1) going for a tour with a local;
2) doing your homework.
A few years ago, I decided to always do at least one tour in the place that I visit. This has completely transformed my experience of traveling. It has offered me new Londons, Paris, Milans, Romes, etc. It is amazing what you get. And, of course, I always ask for some food recommendations, the less touristy places, those where you can see real local people. It is good investment!
Reading that blogger’s complain about Lisbon is almost painful. Not because she writes that Lisbon was disappointing for her, but because she complains about a Coca-Cola that costed 2,40 euros, when she could have a wonderful sangria or a vinho verde. And because, instead of the crowded castle, she could have visited some of the most beautiful views in Europe – in my opinion – in the hidden sightseeing points in town while learning about the Portuguese unique culture and soul in a tour.