Wednesday, July 24: I return to Lisbon from Cascais in the late afternoon and take a long walk from the train station up an endless hill to Bairro Alto. Here I stumble upon my last sighting of pastel de nata. Oh how I will miss this treat when I leave Portugal tomorrow morning.
I’ll miss the mosaic cobbled walkways of the city.
And the dramatic statues in serene parks.
I drop into the Basilica dos Martires, dedicated to the martyrs who participated in the 1147 reconquest of Lisbon from the Moors. This beautiful Baroque church was built after the 1755 earthquake on the site of another where the first baptism after the reconquest took place. It was completed in 1784. Inside is a marble altar and a beautifully painted ceiling, as well as an organ that’s considered one of the best in the country (LisbonLux: Basilica dos Martires).
I think the ceiling in this church is one of the most beautiful I have seen during my trip.
I’ll miss Portugal’s amazing architecture and Lisbon’s colorful buildings and street lamps.
I also drop into the skeletal Convento do Carmo; all that remains after the 1755 Lisbon earthquake and a later violent fire are its cracked pillars and soaring arches, reaching longingly into the heavens.
The Carmo Archeological Museum keeps and exhibits important pieces of sculpture from the Carmo monastery and church, as well as from many other ancient buildings, such as monastic houses. It also holds works from prehistoric times until the present day.
I continue heading up the hill past inviting cafes and the Teatro da Trinidad.
And I head back to my favorite spot in Lisbon, LOSTin, for a beer and some parting views of the city.
After going back to my hotel to rest a bit, I venture out one last time to have some dinner. I pass more Lisbon balconies, which I wistfully wish were mine.
And I surprise myself by stopping into a sushi place that has been bustling every time I’ve passed it by. The food is delicious, even though as a parting Lisbon experience, it’s not exactly Portuguese food. 🙂
Finally, I return to my hotel, where I request an early morning wake-up call for my flight back home to the USA. 😦
Tuesday, July 23: I’m not a big party girl while I’m on holiday, but if I were, Lisbon’s Bairro Alto would be the place to play. The neighborhood is a short walk from my hotel, and this afternoon I explore its graffiti-splashed streets during the sleepy daylight hours.
This evening at 8:00, I’ll walk back to this part of the neighborhood to attend a fado performance at Luso.
I stop for a late lunch at what has quickly become my favorite lunch spot, LOSTin, right across the street from my hotel, with grand views of Lisbon. I order a sandwich and enjoy the pink, green and royal blue wicker chairs shaded by Indian patchwork umbrellas. This Esplanada Bar is an Indian snack-like restaurant that serves meals like toasts, wraps and sandwiches, but with an Indian flavor.
I order a ham and cheese sandwich, but it sounds a lot more fancy than that on the menu.
After lunch, I continue to explore the neighborhood, passing by the Elevador da Gloria once again.
Monday, July 22: After leaving Castelo de São Jorge, I head out into the charming Alfama neighborhood surrounding the castle. It’s a lovely little warren of cobbled streets where you just want to wander around forever. Entrancing. Bewitching. Beguiling. Utterly captivating. 🙂
I then meander my way to the spot close to where the Lisbon Sightseeing Bus dropped me off; here I have some mediocre lunch at an outdoor cafe. I then decide to take the iconic Vintage Tram 28 down the hill all the way to the end of the line.
At the end of the line, all passengers are told to disembark; we have to get on another tram to go back up the hill of Alfama. We wait a while in the new tram until it climbs back up the steep hill. We pass other colorful trams along the way.
I dip into a church along the way, but I’m not sure what this one is called.
And then I walk down the narrow street, where trams are going up and down, until I reach a pedestrian shopping street.
At this pedestrian street, I stop for a little lunch and then I make my way, walking, back up the hill. Walking in Lisbon is not easy as it has so many steep hills! I pass some pretty shops and beautiful buildings.
I make my way further up the hill to The Patriarchal Cathedral of St. Mary Major, also known as Sé de Lisboa or simply Lisbon Cathedral. The oldest church in the city is the see of the Archdiocese of Lisbon. Since the beginning of the construction of the cathedral, in the year 1147, the building has been modified several times and survived many earthquakes. It is nowadays a mix of different architectural styles (Wikipedia: Lisbon Cathedral).
And then I find a cute little cafe where I decide it’s about time for a glass of wine.
I ask the owners if they’ll take a picture of me in front of the colorful and paint-chipped doors. It looks a little strange because the door is either really small, or I’m really big!
I ask the owner where I can find Clube de Fado, because I’ve heard it’s around this area and I’d like to make a reservation to see some Fado and have dinner for tomorrow night. He tells me it’s behind the Sé de Lisboa, whence I just came, so, guess what, I get to walk back down the hill I just came up.
I finally find the Clube de Fado, and I pop inside to reserve a spot for tomorrow night. After this, I make my way back UP the hill, passing by the Igreja de Santiago and other interesting buildings.
Finally, I end up right back where I started from this morning, at the Miradouro of Santa Luzia, where I get more astounding views of Lisbon and the Rio Tejo.
Here, I hop back on the Hop On Hop Off bus to head back to my hotel, where I need to get off of my feet for a while. On the bus, we pass hundreds of colorful buildings.
I get dropped off at the bottom of the hill again, and have to make my way back up Calcada de Gloria. This time I decide to take the Elevador da Gloria up. I just don’t think I can walk up any more hills today!
Of course at the top of the hill, I must stop at Miradouro São Pedro de Alcântara for another view of the city and a cold beer at the little cafe.
Finally, I’m at the top of Bairro Alto where my hotel, Pensão Londres, sits pretty in green.
I am so happy to relax in my room for a while before I go out to have some dinner. My feet and legs are killing me from walking up and down Lisbon’s hills. This time, I go to LOSTin, an Esplanada Bar. It is an Indian snack-like restaurant that serves meals like toasts, wraps and sandwiches, but with an Indian flavor. The best thing about LOSTin is its gorgeous view over downtown and Lisbon castle; the cafe sits under the shade of beautiful trees with Indian umbrellas and cushions and pink and green wicker chairs. It’s a perfect place from the bustle of the city. Plus, it’s right across the street from Pensão Londres, which means I don’t have to walk far. 🙂
My dinner is Gratinado de Gorgonzola, which of course is accompanied by a glass of red wine; though it doesn’t look that enticing from the picture, I can guarantee it’s delicious.
I go back to my room, feeling like I definitely got the most out of my day. I loved all the views of the beautiful old city of Lisbon, and its charming and labyrinthine neighborhood of Alfama.