Sunday, 25 January 2015

Rainy Adventures in Lisbon

The second stop on our Portuguese adventure was Lisbon. I'd been here once before in the winter when I was studying abroad in Barcelona, so I kind of knew what to expect. The city is beautiful and inviting and much larger than Porto. One thing I found a little sad was the amount of graffiti covering buildings throughout the city; clearly a sign of the times. We arrived late on our first night but were able to squeeze in a tasty meal at Club de Journalistas. This place is secluded and unassuming and the fare is a mix of Brazilian and international. My seafood paella and the dessert platter were the highlights. Our home away from home was Hotel Lisboa and it was just the right place: a little modern with a delicious breakfast included each day (plus they also had very attractive doormen!). Although it was raining on our first day, we made our way up the hill on a trolley to Castelo de Sao Jorge. You can see the entire city from the vantage's a beautiful sea of terra cotta roofs. After walking around the center of town in the afternoon and checking out the Arco Triunfal da Rua Agusta, we ducked into an adorable hipster hotel called Brown's Downtown and had a few Super Bocks (local beer) while sinking into cushy chairs. It was a perfect break from the rain.

Our second day was dedicated to exploring Belem. From the center of town, you can get there by trolley in about 20 minutes. The first thing you see is the Mosteiro de Jeronimos (the gorgeous old palace-like structure photographed below). If you head towards the water, you'll bump into the Padrao dos Descobrimentos monument and then a little further down the water is the Belem Tower, which served as a medieval fortress back in the day. The foodie highlight in this area is undoubtedly Pasteis de Belem, known for delicious sweet custard pastries. Don't miss it! When we made our way back into town, we spent time walking around Chiado, the fashionable area of Lisbon filled with boutiques and chain stores. Dinner was at Frado Dos Mares...all I can say is WOW. I had cod Lagereiro style (bathed in olive oil, garlic, herbs) and it was perfectly cooked. The ambiance is small but romantic and the service is friendly and welcoming. It was a lovely way to end our adventures in Lisbon before heading back to London. The next stop on our European trip was coming soon!

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