This one day last week I didn't sleep well the night before, and I got less than my requisite minimum of six hours that I need to be a passable human being, but I woke up early and went for a cold, cold 8-mile run because I'm a masochist. Needless to say, by the time I sat down at my desk it was immediately apparent that emergency measures needed to be taken.
So instead of my normal-sized cup of coffee that I have every morning, I found my largest mug (aptly shaped and painted like a monster) and downed it like I was trying to match the rate of caffeination by IV. And because it was so warm and delicious, I decided to have a second monster mug.
I do this every few years once I've forgotten why I don't do it on the regular. When I'm particularly tired and the struggle is real, I forget just how bad it feels to double my caffeine intake on zero sleep and equally zero fuel. I imagine it feels like being on cocaine, totally tweaked out. I was jittery for the rest of the day and unproductive to boot.
But as harshly as a double dose of coffee affects me on a normal day, after taking an overseas redeye, no amount of caffeine makes even a dent. And if you measure success of a trip's first day on sticking to the plan and not getting lost, welp. Jen and I have yet to execute a successful first day.
Jen was super prepared on this trip though, right down to her liquid-free essentials. She also came upon this eboost natural energy stuff. I know, it totally sounds like some shady-ass drug that a baseball player would get busted for taking and then be like "But it's my ADHD med!" It even promises to promote a "positive mood," which is not a phrase I'd associate with me on too little sleep, no matter what kinda shit you mix into my drink. But then I saw it work its wonders.
She WAS in a positive mood despite having to wear a stress fracture boot. Despite having flown over on ::gasp:: United. Despite getting even less sleep on the plane than I did. Meanwhile...
Due to Jen's amped-up "natural" energy and my baseline ability to stay upright, we managed to see a lot on our first day in Lisbon. I'm not sure I can call the full day a success since we did get lost on the way to a swanky rooftop bar for a sunset happy hour where we couldn't really see the sun setting and then had a not great dinner at a place I can barely remember, but the day itself was pretty sweet.
We took the famous (or infamous) Tram 28 to the neighborhood of Alfama. Because Lisbon is so hilly, there are all kinds of trams that take you around the city. But Tram 28 is special (I'm told) because it takes a scenic route. Jen even immortalized it in our Lisbon gif above.
The gif is super cute but the tram itself? Not my favorite. Since it's a touristy thing to do, it's well known for being a hot spot for pickpockets. And you need exact change to buy your ticket. Naturally, I did not have exact change. The disgruntled driver yelled at me -- extensively -- in Portuguese. I mean I get it. I was probably the 15th tourist to do that to her that day alone. And she probably wasn't allowed to accept the extra money as a tip, but I wish I had looked up how to say "deal with it, lady" in Portuguese prior to that ride.
That ride also happened to not be the pleasant fairytale trip up the hills that I imagined but rather a violently jarring, standing room-only test of my balance and desire to not start the trip with a concussion. Luckily, once we disembarked the hellish Tram 28 (and vowed to either walk or take the insanely cheap cabs everywhere for the rest of our time in Lisbon), Alfama was beautiful. Those photos of the blue skies are untouched by even the slightest of Instagram filters. The sunlight over the views from the Miradouro de Santa Luzia was impossibly perfect.
From there, we wandered to São Vicente de Fora, the church I told you about that has cocktails outside. From there, we wandered back downhill through Alfama to Castelo de São Jorge, another overlook with stunning views. Then we made our way through the winding streets of Chiado-Baixa.
Have a look at our deliriously (in more ways than one) gorgeous first day in Lisbon!