The plan was to take a trolley through the Alfama to the Castle of St. George, but I couldn’t find an empty seat. I then decided to walk up the hill through the Alfama to the castle.
At first, my new plan seemed to be a good one. Around the bottom of the hill there were fairly gradual increases in the slope of the sidewalks. There were several churches that I could visit. I also stopped to take pictures of quaint buildings. I began to notice that it was becoming quite a strenuous walk.
Along the way I stopped in many shops and bought necessary items: key chains, refrigerator magnets, and post cards. Every time I came around a corner, there was just another hill and no sign of the castle. Sometimes I wondered if I was even going in the right direction, and then I would see trolleys going by (and they were still always full.)
Finally I arrived at the gates of the Castle of St. George. While I was there I discovered gorgeous views of Lisbon and its rooftops. I wandered around the castle and enjoyed the fresh air. It was one of those times when you really feel you are on vacation, where you are doing something completely different from the things you do in your everyday life. When I found a bench that had a commanding view of the city, I just sat and admired my surroundings.
After I had strolled through the castle grounds, I thought it was probably time to go back down and visit the downtown Baixa district. Now I was looking forward to a leisurely walk through the Alfama. Certainly it would be a lot easier going downhill!
I took a different route through the Alfama and this time I stopped to admire the view, and not just because I needed to rest. Buildings had lovely tiled facades, and I saw some billowing sheets hanging from a balcony in an alley. People stood chatting outside of cafes. Since I was walking at a leisurely pace, the Alfama became an actual neighborhood where people live.
Nearing the bottom of the hill, I looked back – and up – and saw the imposing wall of the castle. In front of me was the city. And now I was ready for another adventure.