Our penultimate day in lovely Lisbon. We still had Alfama to explore so we took the tram and did just that…
It started how I wish most days would start – a stroll along the cobbles with the girls, a cheeky stop off at Sephora (I squealed at first glance) and coffee in the square.
We chose one of the more tourist driven cafés but wished we had searched a little further along to discover something more ‘local’ – but coffee is coffee I suppose. It was nothing special and the menu didn’t offer many brunch options but for a caffeine pit stop it does it’s job fine, and it does boast a great view.
We sat and watched the world go by, wrote postcards to family back home and planned our venture for the day. It’s important to take time out to sit and enjoy the quiet moments, the more you rush around trying to cram everything in is where you stop living in the moment.
It’s not all about the beautiful architecture, ya know? The pastries in Lisboa are somethin’ else and worth stopping to gaze at. It would be rude of course not to have one so I went for a spicy sausage roll which was delicious, allowing room for something sweeter later on.
Located in one of the busiest quarters of Lisbon, Rua Augusta is a pedestrianised street that has all the shops you should need and if you follow the crowds they will lead you to two spectacular squares – the Commerce Square and Rossio Square.
Potentially my favourite building from the trip, from it’s colourful azulejo tiles to the pretty flowers lining the windows, I’m obsessed. There’s something special about it that really captures my attention – when can I move in?!
I managed to sneak in some shopping time whilst the others were busy snapping away. One kimono and skirt later from Stradivarius and it was back to sightseeing… although I could have happily stayed in that store all day, I wanted errrything!
After escaping a confrontation with a pirate (he came over all camera shy and began to tell me off, arrrgh), we marched underneath the impressive stone Rua Augusta Arch through to the other side to greet the other girls on Commerce Square. Known by plenty as Palace Square and situated near the Tagus River, it boasts a pretty spectacular view. Against the bluest of skies, the statues stand out and you feel teeny tiny underneath them.
Ready for their close-up… Glory rewarding Valor and Genius by Célestin Anatole Calmels
Statue of King José I – The King on his horse is symbolically crushing snakes on his path.
Feeling like a shade of lobster in the sweltering heat, we topped up our factor 50 sunscreen layers and continued our adventure a little way up the gentle slope to Alfama.
Walking is the best way to see most cities. Not only are you getting great exercise (not to mention working off those pastries) but you also discover how the locals live. From my few days spent there I realised how much you are able to soak up the environment without hardly any interest from those around you – you can explore Lisbon in your own way and in your own little world.
A Arte da Terra is an artisan gift shop that offers beautiful local art as well as fantastic souvenirs. The postcards are particularly fabulous so I picked up a few to keep for my scrapbook but there is so much to choose from. I only managed to snap a couple of pics before getting told off – something to be aware of, many locals seem to be sensitive about the photography of their art and crafts.
I left the girls to explore further, believe it or not but I get restless after too much time in one shop and there were so many beautiful tiles to admire…
The views offered when we reached our destination were beautiful. The purple blooms and blue tiles frame something even more spectacular when you get closer.
A peaceful spot to stop and take a breath and take in your surroundings, then stroll around the corner to enjoy even more bloomin’ beautiful views.
Palm trees make any view look more spectacular, particularly overlooking all the stunning terracotta roofs and bright buildings.
We stopped off for lunch at Portas Do Sol, a beautiful restaurant with a terrace boasting excellent views of the Tejo river. We shared toasted sandwiches and drank red sangria as we sank back onto the large sofas in the sunshine. I could have stayed there all afternoon, sangria on tap.
We somehow managed to find sangria-fuelled energy to continue our Alfama adventure up towards the castle. A brief visit but we still enjoyed checking out the souvenirs at the gift shop (souvenir crawl, anyone?) The narrow cobble stoned streets are so pretty, it’s so easy to fall in love with this place.
After taking a slightly frantic ride on the famous number 28 tram back to our home for the week, we opened a bottle of red wine and enjoyed a game of Bananagrams before we got ready for our last night in Bairro Alto.
I had my heart set on visiting PARK, a once used parking lot turned rooftop bar with stunning views over the city. After a stroll around the houses and some cheeky Ginja shots later, we finally found the bar – literally opposite our apartment! A DJ playing 90s and 00s tunes and a relaxed, cool vibe made it my favourite evening hangout of the week (Pharmacy still wins my heart for its food). Me and H sipped on Caipirinhas while the other two girls drank a gin based cocktail.
We had dinner plans at Restaurante Tascardoso, a cosy authentic Portugese restaurant a short but steep walk up from our apartment. It offered local cuisine and of course more beautiful tiles…
We snacked on fried courgette curls, bread, olives and cheese, before ordering our main courses. The menu is written in Portuguese so we asked the lovely waiter for assistance. I went for his recommendation, the steak. Huge portions that I couldn’t manage to finish and for reasonable prices, and we all made room for a bit of pudding too.
We toasted to the trip and friendship once more, before calling it a night and heading home.
Lisbon is such a beautiful city, which I hope I’ve managed to capture and share with you all. An idyllic place for all travellers, and you are guaranteed to come home with a new obsession with tiles.
Check out my trip on YouTube too!