We got out of the Porto Aeroporto and saw an entirely different kind of Europe. Since I had only seen Germany and its surrounding countries so far, I never thought there would be an Europe where house balconies would have cloth lines, people would talk loud and dance on the streets and cats rule. But here were and I loved it. There is a sense of relaxation in the air, just like the slow metros and trams that traverse the cities.

Boats at Porto Once these boats would have sailed the world’s seas and brought riches to the people here.

Sao Bento Train Station The Frescoes here tell the story of how rich they once must have been.

Lisbon is a bigger city with a lot more tourist attractions; The iconic yellow tram, the pretty neighborhoods and the view of the city itself.

Tram A lot of people cram inside the trams. And an equal number pose in front of them for photos.

Lisbon The Santa Justa from where we took this picture was built by one of Eiffel’s (the tower guy) students and is a big attraction.

Neighborhood Walking along these neighborhoods is one the best parts of traveling in Lisbon.

This was one of the largest and longest lived empires in history which we have learned so much in school. Bartolomeu Diaz and Vasco Da Gama are names known to everyone. I learned that the empire truly ended only in 1999! I am not an admirer of empire but I am surely an admirer of history and sustaining a global empire for 6 centuries truly is something. The country is so small but its language is spoken by a quarter billion people across the world! The original explorers surely wouldn’t have thought about their impacts when they started all of it. And then history just happened.