So, I just figured I could use a blog once in a while to post pictures and reviews of my trips, visits to film festivals, etc. I just came back from a trip to Lisbon, so this week is a good one to start posting.
My top 10 favorite moments in Lisbon...
Strolling through the Alfama
One of the particularities about the Alfama is the smell of grilled sardines wafting its way through the meandering streets. I loved strolling through those local, charming roads and discovering places such as the Casa dos Bicos, the Miradouro de Santa Luzia and the castle of São Jorge.
I could oversee the Alfama and the Tagus from the Miradouro de Santa Luzia, located near the access road up to the Castelo de São Jorge.
The beautiful Castelo de São Jorge was built around the 10th century by the Moors as a means of defense and is now one of the best viewing points in Lisbon.
Dining in Mouraria
I stayed in an apartment in Mouraria, a picturesque and multi-racial part of Lisbon just outside of the Alfama district. The view from my kitchen was amazing as it overlooked the entire city.
In front of my apartment was the restaurant São Cristó Vão, a favorite place among locals where you can choose between Portuguese and African food. The restaurant was tiny and simple and the atmosphere addictively local. It was also very cheap: no more than 7 euros for a main dish and only 1 euro for a pint of beer. São Cristovão, Rua de São Cristovão 28-30, Mouraria, Lisbon.
Shopping in the Baixa
The Praça da Figueira was only a few minutes away from the apartment. The square led to the bustling Rua Augusta where street sellers touted souvenirs, drinks, and snacks.
At the end of the Rua Augusta, I drifted through the Arco Triunfal archway into the airy, neo-classical Praça de Comércio, a large square on the bank of the Tagus (Tejo) featuring the statue of king Dom José I.
I took the bus 714 at the Praça da Figueira to go to Belém. During the ride of half an hour along the Tagus, the only attraction was the Ponte de 25 de Abril, a huge bridge which name refers to the day the revolution broke out in Portugal.
The Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument to the Discoveries) of Belém was first erected in 1940 for display during the Portuguese World Exhibition. Its final version was completed in 1960 for the celebrations marking the 500th anniversary of the death of Prince Henry the Navigator. An elevator took me to the top of the monument where I could oversee Belém, the Cristo Rei statue, and the tiling in front of the Padrão dos Descobrimentos depicting Portugal's Golden Age of Discovery.
Exploring the Jardim Zoológico (Lisbon Zoo)
No city trip could ever be complete without a visit to the local zoo. The decorations of the Jardim Zoológico reminded me a lot of those from the Barcelona Zoo. Apparently, there's a funicular that takes you round the zoo and keeps you hanging just above the lions. Unfortunately, the funicular was closed when I visited the Jardim Zoológico.
Sipping Ginjinha in the Rua das Portas de Santo Antão
I loved sitting beside the Rua das Portas de Santo Antão in the thin spring sunshine and sipping Ginjinha as an apéritif. For those of you who wouldn't know, Ginjinha is the famous Portuguese cherry liquor. The Rossio district is well-known for its tiny bars that specialize in this delicious drink.
Sunbathing in Cascais
Cascais sells itself on its image of yachts swaying gently in the harbor, champagne on the terraces, and sports cars speeding across the coastal road.
I was shown the best places in Cascais: the Praia do Guincho beach, the Museu Conde de Castro Guimarães, the Farol de Santa Maria, the Casa da Guia (a complex on the beach with bars and restaurants) and the restaurant A Carvoaria, known for Portugal's juiciest steaks (if you want to know what the spiciest sauce ever tastes like, try the Devil Hot Ostrich at your own risk).