Portugal Part 4 – Two+ Days in Lisbon

Santa Justa lift

After flying in and grabbing an Uber, we arrived at our hotel, the Tivoli Avenida Lisbon, around 7am. Unfortunately, the hotel was sold out the night before, so we could not get into a room at that time. They offered us breakfast, but we were so tired, we thought it better to walk around a bit rather than sit and eat. We stored our bags with the bellhop and went out into the early Lisbon morning, sleep deprivation and all.

The Portuguese love their statues

We walked through the Baixa district all the way to the Praca do Comercio, the square right on the waterfront. We managed to get some early morning pictures with no other tourists around. It was a bit rainy, but this morning was the last time we saw a drop before our last day in Portugal.

We were getting a bit hungry by this point, so on the way back to the hotel we stopped at Fabrica da Nata for some famous Pasteis da Nata and coffee.

Pasteis de Nata

We checked back with the hotel front desk at around 9:30am and they still could not give us an ETA on the availability of the room. They assured us that we would get the first available room once it was cleaned and offered us breakfast again, but we weren’t hungry after those pastries.

My wife saw that there was a Saturday morning flea market near the Jeronimos Monastery in Belem so we took an Uber over there. Unfortunately, when we got there, we realized that the flea market was every other Saturday and not this one, so we decided to walk over to the LX Factory in the Alcantara district. We took some pictures on the way.

We browsed around the market and my wife enjoyed the art galleries and craft stores. I tried the Pastel de Bacalhau pastry filled with cod and potatoes, another local specialty.

We were getting very hungry by this point and I found a local place for lunch nearby called O Mercado. It was excellent. My wife tried the cod, and I tried the sardines. Both are popular Portuguese dishes. The pitcher of sangria was also very good.

After lunch, we Ubered back to the hotel and our room was finally available. I’ll have a full review of the hotel in the next post. After a quick nap, we Ubered down to The George pub so I could watch the final Premier League matches of the season.

Tension at The George as the season comes down to the wire

It was a lively atmosphere and we were lucky to grab a table when some people left after the Formula 1 race ended. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out for my Liverpool FC, but it was a fun time. At the end of the match, a couple of over-exuberant (and over-lubricated) Manchester City fans jumped up on a table and ended up crashing through a huge window.

Climbing back through the broken window

We quickly made our exit as the police arrived and browsed the shops as we walked back to the hotel. I had booked a 9:30pm reservation at a local restaurant, but I crashed after the soccer match (the beer may have helped) and I didn’t wake up until 10pm! We tried to go up to the rooftop bar/restaurant to eat, but we were told that our attire wasn’t “chic” enough to enter the restaurant. It was also too chilly to eat outside at the Sky Bar area.

We ended up eating at the hotel restaurant to use our food and beverage credit and it was surprisingly good and a decent value for a hotel restaurant. Unfortunately, I was still tired and forgot to take pictures of our food but here’s the menu.

We went to bed around 12:30am and got a decent night’s sleep. The next morning, we had breakfast at the hotel, then we stopped at the nearby metro station to buy 24 hour transit cards that covered metro, trams, buses and lifts. We walked over to the Santa Justa lift, which was built in the 19th century to connect the Baixa district with the higher Barrio Alto district. The line was long, so we decided to walk up the hill. It wasn’t too bad to hike up there, and we got some great pictures.

We took the elevator down and from there, walked to Martim Moniz to catch the 28E tram, an historic tram that many tourists take for a ride around the city. The tram took us uphill and deposited us nearer the castle. We walked down to Castelo de Sao Jorge and I paid for entry while my wife found a place to sit in the shade outside the entrance. She wasn’t up for climbing towers or extra walking, so she saved us the entry fee. I climbed up the towers and got some great views and pictures on all sides.

We walked back down to Praca da Figueira, stopping at some antique stores along the way. We stopped at some stalls and tried ginja, the famous Portuguese cherry liqueur, but we weren’t impressed. We tried it twice just to make sure 😊

Ginja

We sat at an outdoor restaurant called Inhaca and ordered cod and sangria for lunch (again). Even though it was a touristy place, it was very good.

Cod (again)

We then walked all the way uphill to Principe Real to look at some art galleries and stores. By this time, we were tired and had walked a ton of miles. We walked back down the hill to the hotel for my wife to take a nap.

While she rested, I decided to go back to Belem to check out the tower and the Monument of Discovery. I started walking down to Praca do Comercio to catch a tram and ended up hopping on a scooter to get down there quicker. I caught the 15E tram west to Belem. Then I walked over to the tower, which was closed, but I got a picture.

Tower of Belem

I bought some gelato and continued to the monument, which was open and I took the elevator to the top for some great views of the bridge, the Christ statue and the other side of the Tagus River.

I also took a nice panoramic picture from the top of the tower.

Lisbon and the bridge

I took an Uber back to the hotel as the tram had been very hot on the way over (especially with the required mask). We had dinner reservations at a place called Pigmeu, but when I looked up the address, Google showed it was closed on Mondays. I called and no-one answered, so I made an online reservation for the next night instead. We decided to visit the TimeOut Market in the Cais do Sodre district and it turned out to be a great choice.

Time Out Market

There were stalls for many Lisbon restaurants. We ended up getting sushi and a caipirinha.

Sushi dinner at Time Out Market

We also shared dessert from Crush doughnuts.

Red Velvet donut

After dinner we went back to the hotel and got drinks at the rooftop bar as the sun went down.

We met a nice couple from Chicago who were headed on a Viking river cruise (along with many of the other guests at the hotel from the looks of things).

The next day we took a road trip to Evora and Sesimbra (which I will cover in a separate post), but on our return to Lisbon in the late afternoon, we visited the Santa Clara Flea Market, which was certainly a bit of a challenge to drive to.

Santa Clara Flea Market

I also walked up to the Parque Edward VII for some views of the city.

View from the top of the park down to the water

On our last night in Lisbon, we finally ate at Pigmeu and it was fantastic. We enjoyed the pork-based menu as a break from all the fish and drank a couple of bottles of wine. Unfortunately, my pictures didn’t turn out great as the wine kept flowing.

There is a lot to do and see in Lisbon and we only scratched the surface. The people, sights, and food were all fantastic.

Next up: a review of the Tivoli Avenida Liberdade.

If you enjoyed this post (or have questions), let me know in the comments or send me an email at emptynestermiles@gmail.com. If you are thinking about opening a new credit card, please use one of my links.

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