last year in december a couple of colleagues and i decided to take a little trip to beautiful lisbon, portugal. we wanted to escape the winter cold of our town, booked a plane ticket and in a few hours we were in sunny, warm lisbon.
to make everything even better, the apartment that we booked over at airbnb.com was everything we dreamed of. 2 gorgeous terraces, beautifully decorated and in the very street that is always depicted on lisbon postcards. it was such a treat to wake up every day to the lovely view of lisbon and to just sit for an hour or two soaking up the sun before setting off to explore the city.
as soon as we got settled, we went to dinner and then just walked around the town. and then, in a window of a cute little bakery, i saw bliss. pasteis de nata. no words could describe the happiness i felt in that moment. this tasty little egg tart pastry was my favorite dessert as a child, which i always ate when in china (in shanghai they often serve this portuguese pastry, probably under the influence of macau, former portuguese colony). i went in straightaway and indulged myself in these delicious little pieces of heaven.
(they even have rickshaws with pasteis de nata)
i find that the little streets in lisbon have two personalities. the daytime personality, which is a calm and relaxed one. and the nighttime one, where all the little streets come to life, all street level doors open up and somehow there is always a little bar or club hiding behind them. at night, everyone that doesn’t want to dance in one of the charming little bars and clubs, is standing on the streets, singing loudly and chatting with friends until the early hours of the day. so everywhere you go at night, you will have fun, because portuguese people are the nicest hosts you could imagine.
and the portuguese food?? oh my. i enjoyed every meal i had to the fullest. we went to a lot of restaurants, but two places that amazed me the most were “sea me” (www.peixariamoderna.com), where you can get all kinds of fresh fish (and even choose the exact one you want from the ice bed) and mercado da ribiera, a food hall with many little restaurants. here you can look around and try out various bits from different restaurants and then sit at the big wooden tables in the middle of the hall and just enjoy it all.
the other thing i very much enjoyed is the famous “tram 28” ride through the sometimes really narrow streets of lisbon. you can ride through the town and exit on a stop near sao gorge castle where you can enjoy the most astonishing view of the city, walk around the ruin and watch the sunset with a glass of “(port) wine with a view”.
if you are interested in architecture (or fashion) go to the lisbon design and fashion museum in the heart of the old city. it is an old bank building that is now adapted for museum purposes, but the most distinguished parts were left untouched, like the massive marble counter that stretches all through the ground floor of the building. however, the part that really made my friends and i feel like we were in a james bond movie was the basement, or the former bank vault. the entire vault is left as it once was with the heavy door and all the little compartments for storing valued possessions. unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take photos… so you’ll have to go and see it for yourself! :)
one of the most beautiful moments from my lisbon trip was after the visit to the design and fashion museum. we walked down to the praca do comercio, a beautiful, huge square and then down the avenida ribeira das naus. it just so happened that we got there exactly in time to see the stunning way sun sets in lisbon.