22 10 / 2014

Lisbon Day 2, Part Two: The second half of our first full day in Lisbon was mostly spent eating and drinking. After leaving the Alfama, we headed back to the center of town and paid a visit to the nearly 200-year-old Confeitaria Nacional (the Ladurée of Lisbon if you will) and tried a couple of their house specialties (the bolo-rei, or Portuguese King’s cake, was the standout). Afterward, on our way back to the hotel, we accidentally stumbled upon another Lisbon institution, a tiny hole in the wall that serves only shots of ginjinha (a liqueur made from sour cherries). For dinner that evening we went to Cervejaria Ramiro, an extremely popular seafood restaurant that was packed with locals (and a few tourists) when we arrived shortly after 7:30. Unfortunately we missed out on the lively atmosphere of the main floor since we were a bit late for our reservation (I underestimated the amount of time it would take to make 2 line changes on a metro system that only has 4 lines!) and were promptly escorted into a side room. We ended up sharing the space with a group of locals who had gathered to watch the Portugal vs. Denmark soccer game over shared platters of pata negra, clams in garlic sauce, and grilled lobster, all of it washed down with bottomless glasses of Sagres beer. The experience was eerily similar to our last night in Naples almost one year ago … in any case, we still had a fun evening and the staff was friendly and attentive, even bringing us bibs to wear while cracking open the crab legs we had ordered. They were delicious as were the garlic shrimp and grilled tiger prawns. If you love fresh seafood, you should definitely check this place out. Just be sure to be on time for your reservation!

Photos from top to bottom: purchasing shots of ginjinha and then toasting to our vacation before sipping them with the rest of the crowed gathered in the nearby square; garlic shrimp at Cervejaria Ramiro; and finally DD working really hard to get every last bite of crab meat.

21 10 / 2014

Lisbon Day 2, Part One: I wasn’t in Lisbon long enough to be able to say with any authority what my favorite neighborhood is, but based on the few days that I spent there, I will say that the Alfama is a strong contender. The Alfama is the oldest surviving part of the city (the rest was destroyed in an earthquake in 1755 and rebuilt afterward) and is located on one of the “seven hills of Lisbon,” just to the east of the Praça do Comércio (see yesterday’s post). In the past it was largely a village of fisherman and the poor, but today it is also known as the place to go to hear Portuguese Fado music. You can also ride the Tram 28 up its steep and narrow streets to the Castelo de São Jorge, a historic castle rebuilt by the Moors (after the Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, and Visigoths) in the 10th century. The best way to experience the Alfama though is to simply wander the smaller streets and admire the beautiful azulejos (tiles), colorful flowers, and breathtaking vistas.

Photos from top to bottom: waiting for Tram 28 near the Praça do Comércio (tip: don’t attempt to ride the tram in the middle of the day like we did at first - we were packed in like sardines and it wasn’t very pleasant, especially for the poor locals that use it for their daily transportation - instead take it in the early morning or evening); two stunning views of the Alfama and Rio Tejo from the Miradouro das Portas do Sol; a peacock near the entrance to the Castelo de São Jorge, colorful decorations leftover from the Festas de Lisboa, which takes place every year in late spring/early summer; and finally the view from the Jardim Júlio de Castilho, which is filled with beautiful azulejos.

(Source: uneamericaine)

20 10 / 2014

Lisbon Day 1: After arriving in a torrential rain storm (which we waited out in our hotel room), the sun appeared and we had a lovely late afternoon stroll from the Praça Dom Pedro IV (known to locals as Rossio) to the Praça do Comércio and finally to the banks of the Rio Tejo where we caught the beginning of the sunset. We had dinner at Can the Can, a restaurant that specializes in canned food (although not exclusively) and has the most adorable décor including a tin can chandelier. Highly recommended if you enjoy canned seafood (the anchovies, baby horse-mackerel, and dried tuna fillets were particularly outstanding).

Photos from top to bottom: the Teatro Nacional de Dona Maria II on Praça Dom Pedro IV (Rossio); the Statue of Cristo Rei, the 25th of April Bridge, and the Rio Tejo at dusk; the Statue of Dom José I in the Praça do Coméricio; the second floor of Can the Can (it wasn’t empty I swear, just a Monday night) at 82, Praça do Comércio.

(Source: uneamericaine)

19 10 / 2014

And just like that we’re back home.

And just like that we’re back home.

(Source: gif-able, via nprfreshair)

18 10 / 2014

One last pastel de nata before heading to the airport in Faro. Obrigado Portugal!

One last pastel de nata before heading to the airport in Faro. Obrigado Portugal!

18 10 / 2014

Faro.

Faro.

18 10 / 2014

You can buy azulejos (tiles) here.

You can buy azulejos (tiles) here.

18 10 / 2014

The Algarve = sun.

The Algarve = sun.

18 10 / 2014

A gorgeous day for our last in Portugal. Here in the Vila Adentro (historical center) of Faro.

A gorgeous day for our last in Portugal. Here in the Vila Adentro (historical center) of Faro.

18 10 / 2014

Sunset overlooking Praia da Rocha in Portimão.

Sunset overlooking Praia da Rocha in Portimão.