Adventures in Lisbon

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Our Eurotrip (recap) continues to Lisbon! From Madrid we took a gruelling overnight bus over to Portugal. I can say that we really, really missed the efficiency of German strains at this point, and arrived in Lisbon at 6am feeling exhausted and very much worse for wear. Thankfully the lovely hostel we stayed in let us in to shower and have coffee and breakfast to recharge our batteries.

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Feeling more refreshed and ready to explore, we took a walk around Alfama, an old Moorish influenced part of Lisbon with winding hilly streets, beautifully tiled buildings and colourful doorways. We climbed all the way up to the Castelo de São Jorge, or St. George’s Castle, which has amazing views over the city and the river. It is also home to a large number of cats, which freaked me out a bit given how bad my last allergic reaction was!

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The main squares of Lisbon really came to life in the evenings, especially the one just outside our hostel which had a small bar serving cherry liqueur. In Rossio Square we spent a rainy day in a very cheesy museum covering the history of the city, then drank wine whilst watching the sun set over the river.

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We took a tram out to Belém, where we dodged the rain and visited Belem Tower and Jerónimos Monastery. But the real treasure of Belém is the pastéis de Belém, the original Portuguese tarts!

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Foodie Notes:

  • I really didn’t love Portuguese cuisine from what we sampled – it seemed to mostly consist of some kind of grilled meat or fish, plus undercooked chips. It’s possible I was just really, really missing spices at this point. no fax payday loans direct lenders
  • I did however really enjoy the frango assado (a roasted chicken with chilli marinade) from Bonjardim, which had a decent kick to it.
  • When we were starting to get a bit bored of Portuguese food, we found Restaurante Indiano Delhi Darbar, which bizarrely has a ridiculously huge menu consisting of Italian and Indian dishes. Normally I wouldn’t bother with a place that thinks it can serve two such different cuisines properly, but the Indian food we had there was actually amazing!
  • At most restaurants, small starter dishes will be served when you sit down – these are not free, so just leave them and they will be taken away.
  • I’ve always liked Portuguese custard tarts (pastéis de nata), and bought them at every opportunity. They varied in quality between the different pastelarias we tried, but the original and best is Antiga Confeitaria de Belém. It was pouring with rain and the place was absolutely packed when we went, so we lined up outside where an impressively efficient takeaway service was pumping out tarts to the gathering crowd. I can tell you now you will regret buying only one – we got two each and I was considering going back for more. The crisp pastry, caramelised top and soft custard centre, plus cinnamon to sprinkle on top, was simply the best version of this dessert I’ve ever encountered. In fact, I’d go as far as saying it was my number one dessert that we tried in Europe!

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Yes they were epic enough that I made The Boy pose with them. I still dream of these pastries.

The next destination is Sintra – coming soon!

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