Portugal · 6 Days · 7 Moments · December 2016

New Year in Lisbon

5 January 2017

Visited Alfama this morning. Previously the red-light district of Lisbon, this hill-top area survived the 18th century earthquake that destroyed most of the city. Lots of nice viewpoints (although the mist/fog covered most of the view!), monuments and churches along the walk. We discovered a very interesting museum on Portugal's dictatorship, set in the very prison where many victims were kept in isolation and tortured only 50 or so years ago. We returned to the TimeOut Market for our final meal- black risotto with scallops for me, Ox burger for Leo and €2 glasses of wine for both. Currently sat in an overpacked Lisbon airport waiting for a flight currently delayed 4 hours due to fog.

4 January 2017

Yesterday we made another day trip, to Belem. Here we visited the impressive monastery, the monument to the Age of Exploration and the Tower. More importantly we tried Portugal's custard tarts from the cafe they first came from. We returned to my now favourite place, the TimeOut market, for drinks and dinner.

3 January 2017

Started the day yesterday with the reputedly best croissants in Lisbon and were not disappointed. Leo was excited to visit the world's oldest bookshop and we broke up further window shopping with some late morning shots of Lisbon's traditional cherry liquor (apparently enjoyed by locals before work). We enjoyed lunch at the TimeOut Market- a food court of about 40 food stalls all curated by TimeOut and washed it down with more cherry shots and mojitos. Before dinner we stopped by a speakeasy style bar for the most original cocktails with the strangest ingredients (e.g. 'Smoked bacon', 'Thai green curry', 'bee sting'). Dinner was great- tried octopus for the first time.

2 January 2017

Took a 40 minute train to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sintra this morning. Unfortunately we were treated to stormy weather with strong winds on the top of the pine-covered hill where the stunning views from the colourful Pena Palace were hidden by the dark clouds and pounding rain. This gave us the excuse for a long lunch of tapas but our clothes were still soaked through so after a trip to the National Palace we hurried back to the train station, unfortunately more intent on not drowning than taking in all the sights of what would clearly be a picturesque town.

1 January 2017

After late New Year's Eve celebrations we had a late start today, heading off for an early afternoon free 3hr walking tour of the city. This taught us a lot about the history of Lisbon, the vast majority of which I (typically) had had no knowledge off e.g. that Portugal had been under a dictatorship in the 20th century- in fact the longest running in W. European history. Since it was New Years all shops and 98% of shops and restaurants were closed. We eventually found a bar with outdoor seating balanced on a pretty slope with the old fashioned yellow trams rattling past. (The service was actually quite entertaining: after 45 minutes we still hadn't had our drinks, despite being asked several times what our order was by the sole waiter who we can only assume was throwing away the paper on which he was noting the orders of the only 6 customers there...we gave up and returned to our apartment for a night in, glad with the wine and food we had bought yesterday.)

31 December 2016

Happy New Year from Lisbon!
Left freezing, foggy London behind today for sunny and mild Lisbon! Checked into our very cute AirBnB in Santos and had dinner on the private little terrace. About to head out for New Year's Eve celebrations!