Take Two: Another New Year’s Eve in Lisbon

Rossio train station

Rossio train station

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!

View of Castelo Sao Jorge overlooking the city

View of Castelo Sao Jorge overlooking the city

A lovely little doorway we passed along our walking tour - this door is only about 5' tall!!  Short even for someone of my stature!

A lovely little doorway we passed along our walking tour – this door is only about 5′ tall!! Short even for someone of my stature!

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.

Our guide, who led us into the courtyard in the Moorish Palace before taking us to Casa do Alentejo for lunch

Our guide, who led us into the courtyard in the Moorish Palace before taking us to Casa do Alentejo for lunch

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Casa do Alentejo – closer view of some of the tiles

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Casa do Alentejo

Praça do Comércio

Praça do Comércio

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!!!

VIP Eden Hotel

VIP Eden Hotel

Looking off the hotel rooftop to see fireworks

Looking off the hotel rooftop to see fireworks

NYE Fireworks

NYE Fireworks

View of the Restauradores Square and Avenida Palace Hotel from our hotel, the VIP Eden

View of the Restauradores Square and Avenida Palace Hotel from our hotel, the VIP Eden

View from the lift of one of the shopping streets

View from the lift of one of the shopping streets

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.

Santa Justa Lift

Santa Justa Lift

Looking out from the lift

Looking out from the lift

Lisbon-Dakar Rally 2008

Lisbon-Dakar Rally 2008

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!

Race simulation ride - fun!! No pictures of me doing it, though, because I was by myself at this point.

Race simulation ride – fun!! No pictures of me doing it, though, because I was by myself at this point.

Some of the promo cars lined up in front of the Jeronimos Monastery

Some of the promo cars lined up in front of the Jeronimos Monastery

Camel costumed guy checking out actual camel.... and vice versa!

Camel costumed guy checking out actual camel…. and vice versa!

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.

Beachfront property in Cascais

Beachfront property in Cascais

A lovely beach house!

A lovely beach house!

Cascais

Cascais

Cascais home

Cascais home

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,
TC2

Another photo of the stained glass window in the Patriarchal church that I loved from my first visit to Lisbon

Another photo of the stained glass window in the Patriarchal church that I loved from my first visit to Lisbon

Another shot inside Casa do Alentejo

Another shot inside Casa do Alentejo in Lisbon

Another view of Lisbon

Another view of Lisbon

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2 responses to “Take Two: Another New Year’s Eve in Lisbon

  1. Hi Travelling Chillian!

    Sorry to bother you but I’m a freelance journalist and I’ve been asked to do a piece for the travel section of MSN about “rock n’ roll” loctions. I’m including Stone Town because of the Freddie Mercury connection, but I don’t suppose you have any pictures of Mercury’s Bar or the street where his former house was which I could use? I would obviously be able to credit the image and can link to your website.

    Thanks!

    Tam
    tamarahinson.co.uk

    • Hi Tam!

      I have a couple of pictures of from & of the bar, though nothing of the house. I’m out if town right now, but when I’m back I’ll look through what I’ve got & see what might work for your purposes. Your contact info is on your site, I assume? Thanks!

      TC2

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