May 06, 2011

Lisbon

The first stop of our European trip was Lisbon, Portugal. Lisbon is a charming city, with a village-like atmosphere. With seven hills, you can be sure to get pretty views of the city, and to climb those hills, the best way is probably to hop on one of the old trams. Or, you might prefer to get lost walking in the Alfama, a neighbourhood with tangled alleys that seems to be locked in time.

Portuguese cuisine is home-style cooking and often rustic, with a lot of fish on the menu. Pastelerias (pastry shops) are on every corner and we’ve both fallen for Lisbon’s speciality, pasteis de nata – mini custard tarts in a crispy puff pastry case.

Pasteis de nata at Confeitaria Nacional, Praça de Figueira

Also, make sure you don’t leave Portugal without having tasted Port and Ginja, a sweet flavoursome cherry brandy, drunk by the locals.

We stayed at a guesthouse called Pensao Royale, right in the city centre, and were made very welcome by the owner, Paula. Our room was nice and clean and the breakfast was very big with not only toast and cereal but also fruit and the choice of at least four different cakes every morning.

Pensao Royale, Rua de Crucifixo 50

A few places we enjoyed eating at were:

• Pois Café, a very chilled out café with sandwiches, toasts and healthy salads on the menu.

Pois Café, Rua de Sao Joao da Praça 93

• Restô do Chapitô, The Chapitô is an art and cultural centre, but also has a bar and restaurant where you can enjoy tapas and grilled dishes, and if you book ahead, you can have your dinner with splendid views of the city and river.

Restô do Chapitô, Costa do Castelo 7

The perfect spot for a picnic of local ham and cheese sandwiches, nuts and cherry tomatoes.

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