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Don't think we'll go back to Lisbon

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Boston...
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Don't think we'll go back to Lisbon

Spent 3 full days in Lisbon. Stayed in the Baixa, a block from the restaurant area. While we found most of Lisbon interesting, what we didn't like was the crime and selling of drugs we encountered. We were also ripped off by the yellow tour bus company (?). In broad day light, walking in the Baixa area near H&M, several young men tried to sell us drugs, or at least that's what they said they had. Both my partner and I are in our late 30's, we were surrounded and these guys just wouldn't take no for an answer, finally we pushed our way through these men. Found the local police and they basically just shrugged their shoulders. Walking the main street near the square in Baixa another day, early evening, another man either tried to grab the strap of my purse or pinch my breast. I was wearing a cross body bag, and when I saw he was reaching for me, I put my arm up to block him, he ended up grabbing my forearm instead. My husband yelled out at him, but the guy just kept walking casually. We had just left the Rossio train station about 10 minutes prior to that, having witnessed a fight between young men on the train ride back from Sintra. Sintra is a beautiful town, but having to endure the train ride back in the evening was beyond crazy. The train stops in some pretty rough areas, and the young people getting on the train just basically took over the train, yelling, fighting, cussing. Not to make this a racial topic, but in our cabin of the train, there were only 4 white people and the rest were black. We were singled out, and harassed. Getting off the train wasn't a good idea, as there didn't seem to be a safe stop before we got back to Lisbon. If we would have known this, we would have never gone to Sintra by train, even though it was inexpensive and easy to get to.

We were also ripped off by the yellow tour bus company (?). Bought the tickets were you could ride any line of the yellow tour bus within 24 hours. The first day we were on the blue tour line. What a waste! The recording wasn't on par with where the bus was, my husband's recorder didn't work and there wasn't another seat open for him to be able to listen to what was being said. The second day we waited over 45 minutes to take another tour, only to be told that we didn't pay for anything other then the blue tour line, even though we had our receipts to prove otherwise. Tried to go to the Yellow tour bus company to complain, but the office was always closed.

If your arriving in Lisbon plane, take a taxi. Don't bother with taking the bus into town. The taxi costs approx. the same amount and is much quicker. Wish we could be more upbeat and positive about Lisbon, but honestly couldn't wait to leave. I've traveled all over Europe and Asia, in cities much larger than Lisbon and have never encountered any issues such as what we dealt with in Lisbon.

Scotland
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1. Re: Don't think we'll go back to Lisbon

What a shame your holiday was spoiled by these events.I thought Lisbon was a safe city in comparrison to some others. It wont put me of going but will maybe make me more security conscious now you have pointed this out.

Sydney, Australia
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1,735 posts
33 reviews
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2. Re: Don't think we'll go back to Lisbon

I'm very sorry to hear of your unfortunate experiences. I think, sadly, you may have been unlucky. In five trips to Portugal I have never seen the drug dealers or the people on the train, no matter how young, be anything but pleasant and polite.

Mississauga, ON
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107 reviews
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3. Re: Don't think we'll go back to Lisbon

Very sorry to hear of your negative experience.

We had a completely opposite experience this past June. No issues whatsoever. We travelled by train to and from Lisbon. We rode the ferry. We walked the streets. No problems. No signs of problems.

We are already booked to return next year.

bristol
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400 posts
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4. Re: Don't think we'll go back to Lisbon

sorry to hear about your bad time in lisbon,we visited lisbon at easter

we are a couple late 40s from uk yes we were offered drugs in rossio sq several times

not our thing we just walked away.we also visited sintra by train & cascais no problems. prehaps ypu were just unfortunate

we loved lisbon,looking forward to returning in nov

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1,791 posts
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5. Re: Don't think we'll go back to Lisbon

Sorry to hear about your misadventures in Lisbon. I also think that it was just bad luck. I know the area that you mentioned where those guys try to sell drugs. They asked me but I just ignored them and they just left me alone. I love Lisbon and would love to go back again. However like many cities in Europe I am always on alert. I don't want to be a victim to those damn pickpocketets.

Saint Paul
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109 reviews
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6. Re: Don't think we'll go back to Lisbon

I too am sorry to hear about your problems. It really sounds like you were in the wrong place(s) at the wrong time(s).

My wife and I have been to Lisbon 4 times, and will most likely return again. We've never encountered problems to the degree that you experienced.

We simply wave off the dealers (and sunglasses salesmen) and don't usually have a problem.

Did you have any good experiences?

I'd write (email) the bus company to see if you can get some closure. I'd also write a review of your experiences with them and post it separately.

Wigan, United...
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353 posts
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7. Re: Don't think we'll go back to Lisbon

Sorry to hear of your problems, been to Lisbon the last eight years, never had a problem other than the bloody sunglasses pedlars. Even ask when you are wearing them.

Astoria, New York
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141 posts
8 reviews
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8. Re: Don't think we'll go back to Lisbon

Not that i dont want to be sympathetic to you, but for you to experience so many problems in 3 days seems a little far fetched.

Like in every city and i have been to many (i am a travel agent and travel a bit) there are always druggies trying to sell their stuff, etc etc.

but like most people have expressed, you say no and keep walking, maybe you were to nice to them, or looked them in the eyes or something that attracted them to you.

Lisbon and Portugal are wonderful and one of the safests places in europe and it sad to see you having a horrible experience

hopefully, you will come back one day and try another part of the country

Boston...
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161 posts
21 reviews
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9. Re: Don't think we'll go back to Lisbon

Far fetched? Did we encourage the drug dealers or the man who grabbed at me? Seriously??!!! We went to Lisbon expecting nothing but an enjoyable time but after 3 days were happy to leave. Maybe the man trying to grab at me while I walked hand in hand with my husband put a bad taste in my mouth for Lisbon. Maybe being surrounded in a train and harassed shocked me. Did I expect this to happen? No. Did we encourage this behavior, not at all! Did we experience anything positive in Portugal? Yes. Lisbon is interesting, loved the trams, the food, the views from the Castle, the Alfama area, taxis were affordable. Found Sintra beautiful. Maybe someday we'll go back. Would love to see other areas of Portugal.

Phoenix, Arizona
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10. Re: Don't think we'll go back to Lisbon

Your experience on the train to Sintra wasn't a fluke. The "Linha de Sintra" is pretty notorious in Lisbon. It passes through Amadora, Queluz etc... cities home to many African immigrants. The Portuguese media is always covering one story, or another, of violence and anti-social behavior on this suburban train line.

Edited: 17 November 2012, 22:57