Discovering historical Belém and Lisbons nightlife

Note: This post is from April 2015

After breakfast we walked down to the station Cais do Sodre. We bought a so called ”Zapping card” – 5 euros, and you can travel with every transport within Lisbon, even to Sintra and Cascais. Today we were going to Belem, so we took the Tram 15 to Belen. There were SO LONG cues and the tram was completely filled. Poor people that lives there and have do deal with all us tourists!

So Belém is famous as the place from which many of the great Portuguese explorers set off on their discovery voyages, like to India and Brazil. It is also a former royal residence and features the 17th–18th century Belém Palace, now occupied by the President of Portugal.

In the gardens and fountains in front of the Jeronimo Monastery

In the gardens and fountains in front of the Jeronimo Monastery

The cues outside the Jeronimo Monastery

The cues outside the Jeronimo Monastery

Once there we saw some very long cues at Dos Jeronimos, were we wanted to enter. So we thought, maybe a little bit later. Instead we walked down to Torre de Belém.

On our way there we passed by some big monuments, like the Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument of discoveries).

The Belém tower was built as a fortified lighthouse from the 1500 and made to guard the entrance to the port. It’s been a military outpost built to protect from Pirates and enemy attacks.  It’s a beautiful little tower on a small island in the Tagus-river, attached to the mainland with a small bridge, but the cueues were also sooo long…. So we just watched it from outside and walked along the path and the port. More people tried to sell us weed and stuff again.

The Stone of the discoveries. Huge!

The Stone of the discoveries. Huge!

The Tower of Belém, from the 1500, a military outpost to protect from pirates and enemies

The Tower of Belém, from the 1500, a military outpost to protect from pirates and enemies

Cute turquoise house down the port

Cute turquoise house down the port

We walked back to Mosteiro Dos Jeronimos again, and there were not fully that long cues now, but enought. While Duilio was in the cue I went to buy us some really nice sandwiches, some beer and some pastel de nata. That’s the good thing about being 2 who travel.

Inside it was a quite fantastic place. The Tower of Belém was party built to defend this place. There are so many details, I loved the roof.
There are different saloons with history and it was a pleasant stay. All though I do not recommend to visit the Chapel, which you have to make yet another cue to go in there, and is definitively not worth it, just a dark room.
Both the Belém-Tower and the Monastery is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

Inside the Monastery. Really cool!

Inside the Monastery. Really cool!

The roofs around the monastery are spectacular!

The roofs around the monastery are spectacular!

We enjoyed our first Pastel de Nata inside the Monastery :)

We enjoyed our first Pastel de Nata inside the Monastery :)

We walked around a bit and found a nice park where we watched people and then took a siesta. It was a nice park with a lot of people around, we were asked about 2 or 3 times from different kids sport teams if we wanted to buy some lottery or something. Cute :)
I made some macramé bracelets and Duilio got together with a bunch of guys playing fotball. :)

Duilio joined a team and played some fotball

Duilio joined a team and played some fotball

We took the tram back and walked up the hill to Bairro Alto. We went into a coffee shop just beside our hostel and hade some ”fika” – Pastel de coco, sandwich of mortadela and 2 coffees for 5,6 euro. Totally ok, in Sweden it would be around 17 euros :)

Went home and showered again after yet another sweaty day, and then we met up with my mothers friend Filippa who is now living in Lisboa with her Portuguese ”boyfriend”Jose or ”Ze” as they say to all the Joses here.

We walked to the Alafama area and ate at a restaurant, we sat outside which was a little bit chilly actually (and no seat cushions), but it was ok :) We had some Vino Verdhe for the first time, really good wine!

We all talked in ”Portuñol” – which is a mix between Spanish and Portuguese, since all of us didn’t speak the same language. We talked about the traffic, politics, the differences between Portugal, Spain and Sweden. It was a very interesting and pleasant evening. We also brought them a swedish ”Påskägg” – a big egg filled with Swedish candy, which was appreciated :)

Dinner in Alafama with Zé and Filippa

Dinner in Alafama with Zé and Filippa

My vegetarian dinner

My vegetarian dinner.. not o much to brag about, but no meat, thats good ;)

After we said our goodbyes me and Duilio walked back to our hostel, we made a stop at Cafe A Brasileria in Baixa/Chiado area , it’s one of the oldest and famous cafés in the old Lisbon. It opened 1905 :) We had some Vermut there.

Having some Vermut in Cafe A Brasileira

Having some Vermut in Cafe A Brasileira

Then we walked to Bairro Alto and went higher up to visit the lively night neighborhood. It has small streets, it’s full of people and it’s packed with a high variety of bars. On weeknights bars close at 2 am, weekends at 3 am. There was people literally eeeeeverywhere!

It’s like a big street party, you go in to a bar and order something, and then bring it out and drink it out on the streets. Haha. We first sat down in a place and tried some more local liquors like ”Licor de Beirao”, but then we just ordered from some bars and took it with us around the streets and some people-watching. One Moragnoska and one beer costed 8 euros. Totally ok once again :) (swedish price would be around 20 euros).

In the lively streets of Bairro Alto at night

In the lively streets of Bairro Alto at night

 

The city of the 7 hills – Lisbon, Portugal

Note: This post is from April, 2015

 

Leaving fairly cold Sweden for Portugal!

Leaving fairly cold Sweden for Portugal!

We were all excited about our trip Portugal, but the first day didn’t start so well. Yes, since I had written this down, I feel like I have to complain a bit. But if you’re interested in what Lisbon has to offer, just scroll down! :)

We arrived in Lisbon Wednesday evening. The flight went quickly even though we had a stopover in Vienna. But from Vienna to Lisbon we got our seats on different rows…  Well, doesn’t matter that much, it was a short flight. Also there was no vegetarian food for me, of couse… There’s never. So now I don’t like Lufthansa so much.

We arrived in Lisbon quite late around 21 and took a taxi to our hostel. The taxameter was on 11,50 euros, but then the driver wanted to charge us 19 euro because we had luggage with us! We got to see the chart were it says that yes, it costs like 4 euros for luggage, extra 3 euros for airport etc etc. So well. We paid that.

We stayed at Passport Lisbon Hostel, right in the famous Praça Luís de Camões. But we couldn’t find the entrance…. We were just outside the number 36, and it was a just a regular door to an apartment building, with a code, and we did not have any code… So we stood there for a while until some other girls were going in to the hostel, and followed in. The elevator was so small we couldn’t fit our two together and our packback… So we walked up to the reception, which was also super small. We checked in and bought a beer there to bring up to our rooms, hehe, well worth it after all the floors we had to walk up!

We got in to our room and it was…… not as expected. Sure we are not luxury-travelers or anything, but the hostel looked really cool when we looked it up on booking. We got a room just next to the kitchen, and we had a private toilet but it was outside our room, so we had to go out in the hallway to go to the toilet.. .Which means you have to get dressed if you want to pee in the night. Well well… Also not that big deal.

This is what our room looked like, but it was not as spacious as it looks, and nothing else there... Picture taken from their website

This is what our room looked like. Picture taken from their website

But then the room was very basic, everything I had seen online that made it look rustic and awesome on the pictures actually just looked rusty and dusty in reality. We did not have a working night lamp, our night stand was broken (it was a book screwed into the wall that has broken, so it was just a book on the floor now), there was NO furniture at all – basically just a bed and you had to put your backpack and your clothes on the floor… no balcony (most of the rooms have a french balcony), we only got 1 really thing pillow each… And on top of that  it was super hot this nigh (it was really unnecessary for us to bring so much long-sleeved). I didn’t manage to fall asleep until 6 in the morning. Buh :(

Next day we woke up when the hostel started serving breakfast, since we could hear everything in our room. Not that much of a breakfast, yoghurt, cereal and white bread with cheese. There’s some construction going out just outside so it was not so pleaseant sound at when we had the window opened. We started by asking the reception to fix the light in the room and to give us a few extra pillows, there was no problem with that at all. Then we took a couple of chairs from the kitchen ”borrowed it” to have as furniture in our room, haha.

THEN, FINALLT, the adventure began!

View over Elevador Santa Justa from the hilltop

View over Elevador Santa Justa from the hilltop

Lisbon is the capital and the largest city of Portugal, it has about 550000 habitants. It’s one of the oldest cities in the world, actually older then London, Paris and Rome by centuries. It’s built on 7 hills, so you are almost always going either up or down :)

Our hostel was in the Bairro Alto (the upper town), in one of the hills in Lisbon.

We walked down towards the water and the neighbourhood Baixa (lower town). We could se the big Christ on the other side of the water, we had also seen him from the flight yesterday. The Monument is in Almada on the other side of the river Tagus, it resembles de Corcovado monument in Rio De Janeiro and was built after the second world war as a memorial of thanks that Portugal was spared of the destruction of the war.

It was beautiful down by the water, nice walking areas, boats, people walking everywhere… It reminds me of Spains coast.

Within 15-20 minutes three different guys asked us if we wanted to buy Marijuana/Hash/Cocaine. We were quite chocked first, but we got used to it. I don’t know if it’s because of my dreads or Duilios curly hair, if we are a young couple, or if they just ask everyone. Haha.

It was a sunny and super warm day, about 30 degrees. Not that very common for being april! Of course we found some Swedes in bikinis in the small beach by Praca do comercio, haha.

Quite odd plastic puffs to sit on next to the water

Quite odd plastic puffs to sit on next to the water

Tourists enjoying the small city beach :)

Tourists enjoying the small city beach :)

The gate of Praca do Comercio, and a guy trying to sell us drugs

The gate of Praca do Comercio, and a guy trying to sell us drugs

We visited a lot of small artisanian shops.The daughter of one of the managers in a small shop we visited painted a drawing and gave to Duilio. So sweet :) She spoke spanish because her father is Peruvian. We kept walking around for a few hours along the water, then we needed to cool down and eat something, so we walked all the way back and then sat down at Café Vitoria in one of the main streets the city center.

Lisbon is full of trams, cars, there are constructions everywhere, half torn down buildings, but it feels safe and very homely. But yes, the traffic is horrific, I would NEVER drive here! There are cars and trams coming from all the sides! Haha

In the center of Lisboa there are quite many downed buildings... some of them even abandoned

In the center of Lisboa there are quite many downed buildings… some of them even abandoned

The buildings around here have quite spectacular facades..

Some of the buildings around here have quite spectacular facades..

Along the beach walk - painted house

Along the beach walk – painted house

Visiting crafts shops close to Praca do comercio - please notice the white man in the back who is painting his face white in the reflection of the window :)

Visiting crafts shops close to Praca do comercio – please notice the white man in the back who is painting his face white in the reflection of the window :)

The famous trams

The famous trams


There’s a lot of traffic everywhere
, but there is a few main streets in the center that are closed and only to shops and restaurants so it was peaceful there. We ordered fried potatoes and vegetarian crepes and tried Pera de gallinha and some other portuguese thing, and I ordered a medium beer which was huge! We were enjoying our selves so much this first chill vacation days with hot weather, haha.

Gallinha de Pera and Crepe Vegetal

Gallinha de Pera and Crepe Vegetal

At café Vitoria, enjoying or "medium sized beer" :)

At café Vitoria, enjoying or ”medium sized beer” :)

We went to visit the famous Castelo de São Jorge, a hilltop fortification that you can see from wherever you are in Lisboa. On our way up there we passed some really cool streets with plenty of beautiful street art on the walls. Loved it!

Around alfama on our way up to Castelo Sao Jorge, beautiful grafitti!

Around alfama on our way up to Castelo Sao Jorge, beautiful grafitti!

The last bit we took the elevator up to the Colina. The entrance fee to Castelo had gone up to 8,5 euros per person. There was a lovely view from there, you could see the whole Lisboa in front of you. Apparently all the houses have orange ceiling! I couldn’t stop singing the intro song to the series Weeds ”Little houses on the hillside” when I was there, haha.

View over the orange roof tops in Lisboa

View over the orange roof tops in Lisboa

But anyhow, the proper Castelo de S. Jorge wasn’t that much of a big deal – I know it has been there for a long time and lived through Visigoths in the 5th century, Moors in the 9th century, Christians in the 12th century, royals from the 14th to 16th centuries, and convicts in every century.. But now it’s pretty much just stones. You could walk around there above the walls and inside, but it wasn’t that special inside.

Castelo Sao Jorge

Castelo Sao Jorge

Outside Castelo Sao Jorge, duilio is hiding from the sun.

Outside Castelo Sao Jorge, duilio is hiding from the sun.

We went home for a quick shower and then just walked outside our hostel  – just in the square ”Praça Luís de Camões” – to join the Free walking tour that had their meeting point there :)
It was quite a big group – and guess what – ONLY spanish people!! Duilio was the only one that wasn’t from Spain. Haha. Since it was easter – all the spanish had a few days of do travel in the areas around, and they all got here to Lisbon. We heard spanish eeeeverywhere.

Our guide was funny, he really loved his countrys’ food and music, but hated its politics. We discovered a lot of new places, around in Bairro Alto, Chiado and Alfama.

A street with a nose. (Apparently there are many restaurants around here so this is a good place to smell Lisboa)

A street with a nose. (Apparently there are many restaurants around here so this is a good place to smell Lisboa)

Street music around Bairro Alto

Street music around Bairro Alto

With our guide in the middle of the mainstreet Rua Augusta

With our guide in the middle of the mainstreet Rua Augusta

A wall in Bairro Alto where they have azulejo of all the typical and traditional portuguese things

A wall in Bairro Alto where they have azulejo of all the typical and traditional portuguese things

Alfama is the oldest district of Lisbon, it was the largest part of the city during the Islamic Invasion of Ibera. Increasingly, the Alfama was inhabited by fishermen and the poor, and it continues so to this day. We got to hear about the Great Earthquake that destroyed almost everything in the year 1755 – except for Alfama, thanks to its compact labyrinth of narrow streets and probably because it’s built on firmer rock. Alfama is cozy and historical, old buildings mixed with Fado bars, restaurants, small shops and pracas. And yes, you can easily get lost there ;)

While there we tried Ginja de obidos, a liquor not to far from here – so good! We also listened to the traditional music Fado. After a few hours of walking around the tour ended and we watched the sunset from the roofs of Alafama. Then we were hungry!!

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Ginja D’Obidos – a liquor from Obidos, fruity and sweet!

Alfama, narrow streets and restaurants or bars in every corner

Alfama, narrow streets and restaurants or bars in every corner

In Alfama, the typical square where there are nice restaurants with fado.... And where they never even intended to invite us in..

In Alfama, the typical square where there are nice restaurants with fado…. And where they never even intended to invite us in..

We walked around in Alafama to find a good but cheap and not so touristic place to eat, that also had something vegetarian. Most of the waiters didn’t even bother to look at us or invite us in, or even show us the menu.. We probably looked to poor to them and they were out after more spending tourists. Well… F them – so we kept walking and walking until we found a cute little restaurant – called ”Almargem” very close to the Cathedral – and the waiter was lovely! He showed us the meny and in portuguese of course, told all about how it was made and what was in it. It was a great service!

Our waitor at Almargem :)

Our waitor at Almargem :)

Very happy with my vegetarian Caldereida :)

Very happy with my vegetarian Caldereida :)

The entrance of the restaurant

The entrance of the restaurant

They had the typical portuguese course ”Caldeleira” in a vegetarian option – and it was soooo good! Duilio had som Bacalao, a fish which they have everywhere here and can cook in about 4000 different ways, haha. We were surprised that you pay for entrances (different cheeses and bread) since we didn’t request them and they brought them just like that to the the table, so we thought it was free and was super happy about it and ate it all –  but that was not the case… Haha. It was around 8 euros. And since we had a very nice experience at that restaurant, we didn’t mind paying that either, it was good cheese and bread :)

Then we went home for some good sleep.

Next day; BELEM! I will tell you in another post, this is to long!