Before we earned the rewarding views, we had to walk up tons of stairs. Alfama is located on a steep hillside, so I could hardly believe our guide when he said guys race bicycles from the castle at the very top down these steep stairs and narrow alleyways, ending down on the waterfront—all in under two minutes. Red Bull sponsors the “Lisbon Downtown Downhill Race” each year. If you don't believe me, check it out for yourself.
We invited a guy from our hostel named Max, from Brighton, England, to join us for an afternoon at the beach. (It's nice to bring a guy friend along because then we are subjected to a lot fewer brazen catcalls.) We rode the convenient train route west along the river to Cascais. The beach was crowded with Portuguese youth. Zoe and I waded into the water, but it was too cold for us to go much past our knees since this is where the river nearly reaches the Atlantic.
For dinner we went to a restaurant recommended to us by Rita (our guide from Monday) to finally try dried and salted codfish—the dish Portugal is most well-known for. It's called bacalhau and they purportedly cook it a million different ways, so the locals never get sick of it. The version Zoe and I tried was almost like fried fish and chips, with all the oil they cooked it in. It was topped with onions and homemade potato chips. I liked it more than Zoe, but from my first experience with it, I wouldn't say I absolutely love bacalhau.
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You are reading "“Absurdly Gorgeous” Views, Ludicrous Sexism, and Ridiculously Oily Fish", an entry posted on 25 July 2009 by Jackie Steves.