ROOM FOR ONE: Lisbon, Portugal
Why did you go it alone? When I travel alone, I only have to go to those places I want to see. I can start and stop as it is convenient for me. I packed so much into my three-day trip that I was able to see every attraction on my initial itinerary – except for the one’s I could not find – and then some. It was the perfect 37th birthday trip.
What was your favorite thing about the city? Lisbon is delightfully inexpensive. I had wonderful meals for very little money. Much like Paris, there is such a wonderful array of good food in Lisbon. The only time I really had to dip into my pocket was for lunch in Sintra, when I was mailing post cards.
(I stayed at a hotel located off a pedestrian walkway – the Portas de Santa Antão – with lots of convenient shops and restaurants. It’s also quite noisy at night. If you stay there be sure to request a room in the middle of the hotel.)
What do you recommend? I rose at dark o’clock to meet my tour group for a day tour in Sintra. We stopped in several unmemorable spots before arriving at the Palácio Nacional de Pena. The castle is at the top of very steep hill and the first thought that crossed my mind when I saw it was that it was very, very colorful…pinks, yellows and purples. Fascinating fact? Among my tour group were two Italians, two Australians, one Romanian, one German and our tour guide who is originally from China. Each and every single one of them has visited more states in the USA than I.)
(The airport has advertisements starring actors that would never consent to shill products in the U.S. Here is George Clooney looking somewhat Bond-like and extremely cheesy while shilling some liquor.) What was your most memorable experience? The highlight of my experience was my visit to the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos. I literally used an entire roll of film for this museum. It was the interior architecture of the building that was so phenomenal from the courtyard to the crypts, high ceilings, the way they were laid out and the grass was so green and the archways so bright with color.
Worst/Most embarrassing moment? The 100 meter climb from the ticket booth to the Palácio Nacional de Pena. Fortunately our guide was kind enough to pace us, and to teach me some breathing techniques, but I was still huffing and puffing by the time we were done.
Got any solo travel tips? Purchase maps carefully in advance. Try to take a walking tour with a “native” when you arrive to get the best idea of how the city is laid out and learn how to use public transportation. *Got a solo travel story, you'd like to share? E-mail us at: firstname.lastname@example.org