Lisbon


I am in love with Lisbon!

Some general impressions include: the wonderful pavements, the amazing ‘churrasco’ restaurants, custard tarts, films & television programmes shown in the original language with Portuguese subtitles, hardly any souvenir shops but lots of sunglass and hashish street hawkers, cream coloured Mercedes sedan taxis, the trams, the HILLS …

I found the best way to communicate was to start off by speaking Spanish. If the person knew English they would automatically switch to that, if not it turned out quite easy to converse using Spanish and Portuguese. I picked up a few phrases while I was there and noticed that people quite liked it when I made an attempt at speaking their language.

The Lisbon photo albums are mostly up and somewhat organised, but still haven’t been properly edited and labelled.

And this is what we did . . .

Wednesday June 6th

  • arrived at cute Lisbon apartment just four hours after leaving casa az – cool!
  • discovered that cute apartment (a total IKEA experience) could not have been in a better location
  • unpacked and went to El Corte Inglés to pick up some groceries
  • lovely walk up (and I mean up) the Avenida de Libertade with its wonderful boulevards
  • taxi home (eep! they drive really fast here) and then we headed out in search of dinner
  • found fabulous churrasco restaurant in the lower part of the Alfama
  • nice slow stroll home, put out the sandals, and went to bed . . .

Thursday June 7th

  • found out that Corpus Christi is also a public holiday here
  • after a lazy start we ended up at the very famous Brasileira Cafe for brekky – sat inside rather than out on the terrace to soak up a bit of the wonderful ‘ambientation’
  • bought a newspaper and was thrilled to see that there was a Fado concert festival starting the very next night at the Sao Jorge castle and that the first concert would feature Teresa Salgueiro from Madredeus – so we went out and bought tickets right after breakfast
  • walked down to the riverfront, then up towards the Barrio Alto, veered off into Chiado (downhill! phew! ) and ended up back in the lower Alfama, so just had to have another ‘churrasco’ meal
  • walked up to the upper Alfama for awhile – got caught up in a Corpus Cristi procession coming back down
  • brief rest back at the apartment in the evening before going to the cinema to see Pirates of the Carribean – ha!
  • midnight snack back at apt, along with an episode of House on the telly – felt just like at home

Friday June 8th

  • up and out earlyish (9.30) and had a quick stand-up brekky at an excellent café/bakery just across from the apartment
  • quick visit to internet place, then took a tram to Belém
  • had elevenses at the VERY famous Patéis de Belém, which specialises in the ubiquitous custard tarts, selling up to 10,000 a day
  • visited the Monestario Sao Jeronimo – just the church part
  • walked along the riverfront to the Belém tower – it was nice but kind of felt like a ‘touristy/obligatory’ thing
  • got back to the centre and decided to go to the upper Alfama again – found a lovely lookout and then got a bit lost
  • by chance found the most charming place to have a late lunch (it was 4pm)
  • visited the castle – very nice
  • wandered home knowing we’d only have a brief rest before going back up to the castle again for the concert
  • cleverly got a taxi back up to the castle …
  • the concert was superb and also solved our dilemma of trying to find an authentic Fado house – after hearing Teresa Salgueiro we couldn’t have heard anything better (you can hear her singing here )
  • back home for a midnight snack and an episode of CSI Las Vegas

Saturday June 9th

  • another excellent stand-up brekky at the place across the street – the best coffee we had in Lisbon
  • about noon we headed out to Sintra by train
  • made friends with nice guy in the tourist office there who recommended a non-touristy place to eat later on
  • quick walk around the town – bleh, total tourist trap
  • cold beer pitstop cost us 6.50€
  • tourist bus up to Moorish Castle and the Pena Palace cost 8€
  • to visit them cost another 30€
  • the castle was just the castle walls and parapets, and also lots of nature all over the place – oh, and views
  • the palace was interesting … up until the point that we were told we couldn’t take any photos inside the palace – like, WTF???
  • huge queue for the tourist bus back to town … were both starving by then as it was 5 o’clock and we hadn’t had lunch
  • luckily our friend at the tourist info place hadn’t steered us wrong – we had a wonderful late lunch and happily lurched back onto the train back to Lisbon
  • got back to cute apartment around 9pm and there was just no way we could go out again, so we decided to have an early night and get up extra early for our last day in Lisbon

Sunday June 10th

  • up and out about 8.30 … went to the Brasileira Café again and sat out on the terrace even though it was raining a bit – very pleasant
  • dodged scattered light showers for the next hour or so while we walked around the centre
  • took cute yellow tram up to the Alfama to see the Graça lookout – by then it had cleared up and the views from up there were lovely
  • walked down the Caracol de Graça – a zigzag series of old stone steps leading back to the centre
  • cold beer pit stop overlooking the Placa Rossio (the one near our apt)
  • last lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe – it’s becoming a thing with us though I’m sure if there was one in Sevilla we’d never go
  • one last stroll back to the apartment, packed up and four hours later we were back at casa az

We are already talking about the next trip to Lisbon. Both of us felt so at home there. For us it would be the perfect place to just go and chill out for a week, just enjoying the city without having to do any of the touristy stuff. Well, maybe next year . . .

Hope you enjoy the pics. 🙂

[from casa az – Lisbon Story]

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