There is a place bordered by Spain where tourism has been gaining momentum over the past few years. Charming, old, quaint and yes still affordable,..I am talking about Lisbon!
Without a plan or a specific destination I set out to walk as much of the city my feet would allow. I wanted to meander through neighborhoods.
Stop just because; and discover the treasures of Lisbon one street at a time.
First priority the world famous Pastel de Nata. You will see this iconic dessert in all of the cafe windows. At every bar/cafe you can savor a coffee and this custard treat for around $1.60. Stand at the bar, sprinkle a dash of cinnamon over the Pastel de Nata and savor how you want to eat the tart. I like to pick it up and take it bite by bite to enjoy all of the flavors meshed together. You can also use the spoon from your coffee if you prefer to be a bit more delicate. For me it’s more fun to just dig in. The custard smears across your teeth and the sweet flaky crust combines for a velvety taste in your mouth.
Caffeine and sugar consumed it was time to walk. I started making my way to the neighborhood of the Bairro Alto. I walked the cobble stoned streets curving up and then down. Climbing steps, turning right and then left. Finally I had arrived at the top. This bohemian area has vibrant street art and sweeping views. You can ride the Bica Finicular and shop at the diverse fashion stores many of which sell clothes from Portugese designers. If you are shopping for tiles and antiques you’ll need more money in your wallet than I had. By all means pop into Solar at Rua D. Pedro V, 68 – 70. You will find century old tiles, hand crafted plates and decorative arts.
Although the Bairro Alto can seem a little quiet during the afternoon at night this spot comes alive with a diverse crowd. Hip bars with people spilling out onto the streets and music filling the air.
Next I set out towards the Tagus River and found the Praca do Comercio, the location of the Royal Ribeira Palace. This square was destroyed by the earthquake of 1755 and completely remodeled. Lined by cafes on the sides and an opening to the river.
I crossed the street and was drawn over to the banks of the river. I noticed a child running along the sand. I too wanted to feel young and impulsive. At that moment I took off my boots and socks and let the sand slip through my feet. I sat down and meditated. Letting thoughts of the day linger. Allowing the sun shine on my face and the wind to blow my hair in wild curls. I didn’t want to leave. Everything about this day had been perfect.
I began to feel hungry and thirsty. I headed to the fancy tree lined street of Avenida da Liberdade. A large boulevard of elegance which houses shops such as Burberry, Gucci and Furla. Along the avenue I found the kiosks offering drinks. After ordering a dry red wine, I sat down at one of the tables facing the avenue. My table partially hidden by the lovely tress and gardens. Taking away the hustle and bustle of the street and offering a sense of tranquility in the city. While I mapped out where to go for dinner I was completely relaxed.
The Avenida da Liberdade ends at the large roundabout and the Marquis of Pombal. From there I made my way to Foodprinz for a delicious vegan dinner. In the quiet restaurant I nourished my self and collected my thoughts about the day. Tired, full and happy I realized I had achieved what I wanted out of my day.
“There’s something about arriving in new cities, wandering empty streets with no destination. I will never lose the love for the arriving, but I’m born to leave” – Charlotte Eriksson