Saturday, October 24, 2015

48 Hours Lisbon. Day One

Before boarding our Windstar ship for a cruise of the south of Spain last spring, we spent 2 fantastic nights in Lisbon, Portugal, the departure spot for our ship.

We flew in with our friends Matt & Jen via Amsterdam, giving us all just enough time in Schiphol to check out the museum, buy some duty free gin, Gouda, stroopwaffle, as well as have breakfast of sushi & champers. Just your typical layover...

It was our first time to Portugal, our first time to Lisbon, and Matt's first time in Europe! We found the city to be beautiful, interesting, and filled with exceptionally friendly people.

We arrived in Lisbon, bought the Lisboa Card and paid 2Euro for a bus into the city, which just happened to drop us off right at our hotel, the Avenida Palace.

Gorgeous right? And a perfect location to stay at, centrally located and easy to get verywhere.

The weather was lovely so we set out to do a little exploring, window shopping, sit outside with beers and snacks, and stretch our legs after a day spent flying.

Lisbon is almost as enthusiastic as southern Spain when it comes to gin and gintonics. We found a great place called Taberna Moderna which had a fabulous menu of gins - some known to us and many not - with recommended tonic choices - some known to us and many not - and created beautiful fishbowl-sized gintonics which we sipped outside enjoying the lovely evening. We'd return to this bar again in our short two 1/2 days here.
Just a few doors down we had a casual dinner of simply grilled seafood and fish at O Cofre. Nightcaps back at our fantastic hotel bar completed our evening.

Well rested and ready to see Lisbon we headed out after breakfast (included with our room rate) and grabbed the 28 Trolly which goes all around town, including up to the Castell Sao Jorge. The trolly is *the* way to get around Lisbon and with the Lisboa Card it is free.

We got off before the castle and walked around the Alfama area, views from the hillside were spectacular! Then we headed into the castle and explored the grounds, walking on the walls, and enjoyed more amazing views of the city.


We explored the area a bit more after leaving the castle, looking for someplace for lunch that wasn't overly touristy but finally decided to leave and walk to the nearby Graça area. We stopped at a random restaurant and had an excellent lunch of octopus salad and grilled fish.
Back on the trolly we headed to the Sé cathedral, then on to the gorgeous square on the waterfront, the Praça do Comercio. A quick stop to enjoy a glass of port and finally to the Santa Justa Lift. As Lisbon is so hilly there is an elevator that was originally built to help residents get from the lower area of the Baixa up to the Upper and Largo do Carmo. I think some still use it but it's mostly a tourist attraction now.

Up at the top we walked around the posh Chiado area and then down a steep set of stairs towards our hotel. The views were so pretty we just had to stop of a glass of wine on the terrace of the aptly named Panoramico O Sol and enjoy.

That night we had an absolutely fantastic dinner at the 1 starred Michelin restaurant Bel Canto (its now received its 2nd!).

~Wave breaking, bivalves, coastal prawn, "seawater" and seaweed "sand"
~Smoked mackerel belly, marinated vegetable puré and confetti
~The garden of goose that laid the golden eggs, egg, crunchy bread and mushrooms
~Red mullet, "Lisbon's sidewalk stones" and a liver sauce
~Milk-fed lamb twice cooked with a pea and "fairnheira" stew
~Mandarin


I highly recommend having dinner here if you find yourself in Lisbon!

We finished our very full, and very fun day with nightcaps at our hotel bar as we had another full day tomorrow!

All Lisbon photos here.
Day two post is here.


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