Day 1. June 26th
One last breakfast in Praia das Maças before driving to Lisbon. Now trying out Nuno's last breakfast tip a Galāo, basically a Portuguese latte.
We first dropped off our luggage at our next address, Pestana Palace in Lisbon. A beautiful hotel a little outside the city center. When we arrived there was quite a spectacle with black cars and security guards with sun glasses. Turned out the president of Columbia was staying is in our hotel as well.
After dropping off our luggage we returned our rental car at the airport. We then took an Uber to the museum of modern arts (Maat) along the Tagus. Finding the Uber was a bit of a problem as I had mixed up the terminal 1 arrivals vs the terminal 1 departures. The Uber app did not help either, although it showed where the pickup location was, it did not show where we were and we could see we were at the wrong spot. But after a quick call with the driver we figured it out and we were on our way.
The Maat museum is a modern looking building next to the Tagus. We got a quick lunch in the museum's restaurant with a nice view of the river. Afterwards we bought the tickets for the museum and went inside.
The first exhibit featured large video installation, showing slow motion video's of various parts of the world. The artist blended in this slow motions a faster moving foreground with slower moving background, which kept your attention. Lamps where strategically placed to create shadows of the visitors on of the video's. The back of the large displays where curved mirrors which reflected video behind you and merged visitors into video. The other exhibits where about our impact on the environment and Portuguese's immigrant population.
Afterwards we walked back to the hotel. Once we were settled in our room, we went down to the pool for a drink and a swim. For dinner we tried to find a local Portuguese restaurant. There were not many open on a Sunday night. The grill place we found, looked a bit too sketchy. It was probably fine, but we did not feel comfortable entering it. Instead we picked up kebab takeout; brought it back to the room and watched a Godzilla movie. We were tired.
Day 2, June 27th
I had set the alarm at 7am as I wanted to get to the gym. The gym was next to the pool. First I went into the gym for an upper body workout. After the strength workout I went outside for a jog along the river shore. It was my first run in 2 weeks and my legs felt a little heavy. Since I had to work my way up the hill back to the hotel, did not go too long. Just a 20 minute run. During the run I passed under the large Bridge and took some photos from underneath it. Then it was time run up the steep hills back to the hotel. Ouch.
The room where breakfast was served was part of the the original palace and beautifully decorated with gold leaf patterns and marble pillars. I served myself an English breakfast with bacon, sausages eggs and white beans in tomato sauce. Then I made a mess while trying to make a mimosa as the champagne flute glass was too tall to properly fill under the orange juice dispenser. Fortunately the alert hotel staff was there quickly to clean up the mess. Oops. The coffee they served was interesting. It tasted like Nescafe instant coffee, but I needed the caffeine and requested a refill anyway.
The hotel provided shuttle buses to downtown area. However it was just after 9am when we finished breakfast and the first shuttle was going to leave in in another hour. Fortunately Paula had figured out that there was a city bus leaving every 12 mins from the bus stop just behind the hotel. The bus driver luckily accepted cash and after paying 2 euro each we were on our way. I find a bus the best way to get around and explore a city. It provides a great view of the city and not expensive.
Twenty minutes later we got off near the Lisbon commerce square. We then started walking up hill towards St George Castle in the hope to get a good overview of the city. We passed a cathedral, an archeological dig of a roman amphitheater and also a shop that just sold cans of sardines. The latter did not look too busy. However there was a long line for ticket counter at the castle. Since we were not so much interested in the castle itself, but more in the city overview from the castle, we decided to skip the castle and look for another vista point.
After some further uphill we found a great viewpoint. It provided a beautiful overview of the city and also down on the castle, where we just where. We took a bunch of photos of the city and bridge across the Tagus. At the viewpoint there was a coffeeshop and we had a galāo (latte) and a Portuguese snack while watching other tourist taking in the views.
It turned out there was an even better viewpoint even higher up. We arrived there after climbing up another steep road, and admired the views from there. There was also a large banner that said: “Who the f*ck is Henry”.
Off course we had to take a picture of that. We had seen these signs all over the city. It turns out they were made by a Lisbon based art collective as a marketing spiel.
We then descended back down to river shore and worked our way to the Alfama area. It is known for its beautifully colored narrow alleys. While exploring these we found another viewpoint near the harbor that gave a view of the river and the huge cruise-ship that had moored there.
By now it was lunch time and we found a little restaurant with a good view over the neighborhood.
After lunch we explored the neighborhood more and noticed that Monday’s must be laundry day. The Alleys smelled of freshly washed clothes. Lines with clothes hanging to dry above us. After we got tired of walking and exploring, we took the bus back to the hotel.
After a quick rest break in the hotel room we went to the pool. There were more guests lounging than the day before, but we still found a spot next to the pool. It was also warmer. Not long after we took a swim to cool off and then continued our drinks and reads.
With the Sardines festival going on during the month of June in Lisbon we definitely wanted to eat some sardines. For dinner we took the bus back into the town center and found a cute little restaurant. We ordered sardines and Vine verde (Green Portuguese wine).
Back at the hotel we went for a cocktail at the bar. It was pretty busy with some company outing flocking the bar. When I asked the bartender if he could make mocktails, he said he could make any cocktail. I asked him to make a non-alcoholic mojito. That perplexed him a bit and then started working on it, by pulling out leaves which turned out not to be mint but basil. On my suggestion he also added some simple sugar. Paula found it interesting and not bad. My gin-tonic needed some stirring but then was great.
A long day with lots of bussing and walking, but a great Lisbon explore.