My 2nd trip to Lisbon was with my Australian friends N & V in December of 2007, and while they were into the daytime tourist thing like I am, they had never been to Lisbon before, so like B and I did on my first trip to Lisbon, we would frequently split up during they day to do different activities, meeting up for meals. And on this trip, we actually stayed outside of the city for a couple of days in Cascais and had a wonderful time!
Before we left Lisbon, though, we had a lot of fun together. One of the activities we did all together was to go on a walking tour, and enjoy exploring the city. The walking tour started on Rossio Square, near the train station, and conveniently near out hotel. We met our guide, and she took us around the city. Many of the sites we saw were places that I had been on my first visit to Lisbon, like the Castelo de Sao Jorge and the Patriarchal Cathedral. But the tour also took us to places I had not seen yet – a Moorish palace, for example, and the wonderful & delicious restaurant hidden within where our tour group stopped for lunch. The building does not look like much from the outside, with a simple outer wall. But you walk in under the “Casa do Alentejo” sign, and suddenly you find yourself in an impressive courtyard, and up the stairs is a simple restaurant, with very old and beautiful tiles. The food is delicious, and the price is low, so I’d recommend a stop here to anyone! The Lisbon Connection gives a good description of how to find it.
We were staying at the VIP Eden Hotel while in Lisbon, and it was a very basic hotel, with simple rooms – nothing fancy – but very well located, and had a nice rooftop with a pool. When I was booking hotels online, one of the things that I looked for was proximity to the Praça do Comércio, where I had spent New Year’s Eve on my first visit to Lisbon. We had planned to go to the same concert, but it was a colder evening than a few years earlier, and we were tired from our walking tour, so instead of going to the concert, we just went up to the roof. It was decidedly not pool-weather, but we found sitting poolside on the roof to be a lovely location to watch New Year’s Eve fireworks and sip on some cheap Champagne!!!
Another thing that we did on this trip, that I had not done on my first visit to Lisbon was to take a ride up the Santa Justa elevator. This lift was built around 1900 to facilitate movement between the main Baixa area and Carmo Square. (For more about the Santa Justa Lift’s history, visit its wikipedia page!) The lift itself is stunning in design, and the views it offers are incredible. Words won’t do it justice, so here are a couple of pictures.
After New Year’s Eve and some more time walking around Lisbon, it was time to go to Cascais. We stopped in Belem along the way, and while N & V visited the monastery, I went to see the cars gathered for a show about the Lisbon-Dakar rally. The Dakar Rally is a race that takes place from Europe to Dakar, and involved all kinds of different terrain, so people use all kinds of different vehicles to get there. For a few years (2006-2008) the race went from Lisbon to Dakar, and I got to catch a bit of the pre-race action in Belem! From cars, to the guy in a camel mascot suit walking around, the atmosphere was energetic! I think my favorite part (other than trying the race simulator) was watching the guy in the camel suit and an actual camel checking each other out. Seems like a cool race!
After stopping in Belem, I met N & V at our hotel in Cascais – the simple & well located Hotel Da Vila. It was the off-season, so we got to enjoy the empty streets of this beach-destination, and have the place practically to ourselves! I really enjoyed walking around and seeing Cascais, and when N & V went off to do something else for a few hours, I snuck off to the Toni & Guy hair salon, so when they got back they were surprised to find that I had cut off 12″ of my hair and had a funky new hairdo.
Well, that’s pretty much it for this trip. I’ll leave you with a few more of my favorite pictures from this trip. Thanks for walking down memory lane with me!!
Until the next post,