We had two weeks in between the wedding and the honeymoon to conspire and develop our plans. Of course, we had places to sleep, ideas of things to see, and transportation mapped out, but we wanted more structured opportunities to learn about Portugal.
Since traveling to Rio de Janeiro, we’ve since learned a bit about the value of guided tours, especially when traveling to a country that speaks a foreign language! It takes the pressure off knowing where to take your next turn, and allows you to learn more about the places we often overlook. It’s also great to just talk with a local, someone who can answer your burning questions and assist in translating with other locals. The best part is guided tours come in all shapes and sizes. Whether you’re interested in food, history, art, politics, architecture or drinks, there’s usually something for everyone.
Through Airbnb experiences, we found a walking tour with photographer Emanuele Siracusa. The Italian-born, Portugal-based Emanuele guided us and five other tourists through the narrow streets of the Aflama neighborhood, the oldest part of Lisbon.
The Alfama neighborhood is Lisbon’s oldest child. It was once the Arab district, home to the poorest residents, such as fishermen. With its narrow maze like alleys, steep stairways and stone arches, Alfama is known for its old world charm. Every new turn and alleyway leads to more terracotta rooftops, pastel-colored houses, tiled exteriors, and narrow balconies with jungles of potted plants. We would have loved to do a history tour of the neighborhood!
The tour took us all around the neighborhood, up elevators and narrow steps to scenic lookouts and past the locals, the beating heart of Alfama.
We were even treated to a shot of Ginjinha. Yum!
Emanuele explained some tips when taking photographs, and was really professional when answering tough questions about camera technicalities.
Even though we understood much of the tips Emanuele was sharing, it was a great way to see parts of the neighborhood we would have missed.
We were happy to have someone snap a few photos of us, since we typically forgo turning the camera around on ourselves.
It was the hottest day of the trip, but Emanuele led us through the shaded corners of Alfama, and the sunny spots worthy of the heat.
At the end of the tour, we were treated again to a refreshing Portuguese lager. To Emanuele and our crew, thank you for the experience!