Going Around Lisbon with a Tuk Tuk

Going Around Lisbon with a Tuk Tuk

[ Feb.2019 ] On Monday afternoon in Lisbon in Portugal,  the museums were closed and we did not have a specific plan.

Then we noticed the Tuk Tuk waiting for customers at the Largo do Chiado square.

We had noticed many Tuk Tuks around the city.

We asked the driver and found that they were all for tourists, and he had three fixed routes.

The fare was €60 for one hour.

Because my husband had his leg injured in Lisbon, we thought this would be a good idea to sight-see around the city, so we decided to have a ride.

We chose the old town route, so from Bairro Alto we went down to the Praça do Coméricio and up to the Castelo area.

I think it was almost the same route as the No.28 tram route.

Tuk Tuks are small and can easily make tight turns.

At one point, the road was blocked because one minister or another was going through, but we could detour on the narrow roads to get back to the normal route.

The first stop was Lisbon Cathedral.

They started building this cathedral in 1147, soon after they got Lisbon back from the Moors, on the spot where a mosque used to be and it was completed in 1150, which means it is the oldest church in Lisbon.

After being damaged by the 1755 earthquake, it was restored.

The current building is the result of the careful restoration work in the 1930s.

Because the Tuk Tuk was waiting, we just had a quick look inside the cathedral.

After that, we looked over the lovely view of Lisbon, especially the Alfama area, from the observation deck called Miradouro de Santa Luzia.

Alfama is the oldest part of Lisbon and it is like a maze, similar to a Medina in the Islamic world.

The last time we came here, we had walked around Alfama and got lost, but this time, we just looked at it from above.

At this observation deck, some parts are decorated with Azulejo (Portuguese tiles) and the atmosphere was lovely.

Then we went even higher to another view point called Miradouro da Nossa Sanhora do Monte.

This is the highest point, so we could see a wide view of Lisbon.

After this, we went down, passing the National Pantheon and came back to the Praça do Coméricio and that was the end of the tour.

We realised that we had covered most of the main tourist spots last time, so this was our second visit to all these places.

The more interesting thing than the places this time was what the driver said.

He was from Bangladesh.

He had been waiting for a customer since 10am and we were the first ones.

The Tuk Tuk business started in 2012 in Lisbon, but in the last two years, the number of Tuk Tuks has exploded and now there are as many as 1,200 Tuk Tuks in the city.

The busiest season for tourism is from June to August, but because all the Tuk Tuks are out in those months, the competition is fierce anyway.

He has been living in Lisbon for 3 years and before that he lived in London for 6 and a half years.

I asked “Do you prefer Lisbon?” and he answered “Well, to make money, London is better, but…” ambiguously.

According to him, there are 5,000 Bangladeshis in Lisbon.

“But there are so many Brazilians here, as many as 80,000!” he said.

I did not catch his name, but he was nice.

His hobby is photography, so he took some good photos of us and showed us his own photos on his phone.

I hope he will do well without losing the fierce competition.