Sunday, August 30, 2015


Way back at Easter we went to Lisbon for a long weekend.  We started the visit with a walking tour of the city's food highlights.  Our guide was great -- we enjoyed local breads, coffees, liquors, sausage, cheese and of course wine.  All before 1:00.  The other good thing about the guide is that she had the good sense to take a taxi to the top of the hill and then walk down from there.

Walking the narrow streets

One specialty was this bread baked with an egg inside.  We ate the bread but not the egg.  

Cod fish fritters.  They were much better than expected.  

One of the traditional "bars" that serves cherry liquor called Ginjinha.  There are no chairs or stools and there is room for about 3 people total.  People just stop by and get a shot.  

The tile is interesting.  The door is not.  

Traditional sausage cooked right in the pan.  

The largest pile of strawberries I've ever seen.  

All the food of Lisbon was great.  Probably the highlight was the Portuguese egg custard tarts.  The best were served at Antiga Confeitaria de Belem.  What was probably once a small bakery now retains its small storefront but has a never-ending maze of rooms behind it for people to sit with coffee and an egg tart.  The recipe is a secret that is supposedly only known by three people in the world.

This place was geared up to produce egg tarts in mass quantities 

Must have been a new baker taking a picture of his work.  

Gates that lead to the shopping street

There is a beautiful square near the river.  They had a cooking contest (i.e. Iron Chef or something like that) set up for filming later that day.  

Lisbon is the city of seven hills.  This is an elevator built to take people from a lower shopping street to the upper part of the city.  From this vantage point it looks like it is freestanding.  Wrong.  The back side of the elevator connects to the upper street.  There was a long line so we didn't use it.  

This shop sells handmade gloves.  The store is slightly smaller than the cherry liquor shops; it only holds one person plus the sales person.  The lady looks at your hands and instantly knows your size.  Then there is an elaborate preparation of the glove for you to try on -- put a dowel down each finger, blow in some powder.  In the end they are great gloves.  In fact they fit.........I won't even say it.   

Train station

All the sidewalks have a mosaic tile pattern.  It really makes the city look special.  And I bet they are super slick in the rain.   

Historically Portugal explored the world and accumulated a lot of wealth.  Much of which went into churches.  

We didn't take the elevator but we did take the funicular up the hill  

One day we took a road trip to central and eastern Portugal.  On the way we stopped to see the cork trees.  The bark is harvested every 7-9 years so all the trees have a number on them which tells the owner when they can next be harvested.   We didn't see any harvesting going on, but it looked like hard work to get the bark off the trunk of the tree.

A grove of cork trees

These megaliths date back before the 6th century BC.  But they were not rediscovered until 1966.  

One of the churches in Evora is decorated with human bones.  A lot of human bones.  These look like leg and arm bones placed on end.  

There are skulls too.  

The church is lined with tiles from the 18th century. 

A cistern filled with bones from the crypts.  

The view from the top of Evora

After visiting Evora we went to Monsaraz, a village of white-washed building set on top of a hill.  Across the river is Spain.  

The main street of Monsaraz.  

We spent one day touring Sintra and then winding down the coast back to Lisbon.  Sintra is where the elite went to get away from the heat of Lisbon.  It's kind of a fairy tale village set in the hills.  For good reason it is listed as one of the "1000 places to see before you die".  

This painting was displayed in the National Palace in Sintra.  I show it here because it's a Dutch ship.  

This antique secretary had lots of little drawers; all of which were carved to look like stacks of books.  

Restoration project underway in the palace.  
The National Palace de Pena is built about 1500 ft above the town.  Getting there requires a long drive up a very winding road.  We had the pleasure of being behind a truck pulling a trailer with an excavator on it.  It just barely made it through every switchback.  

The view of the Moors Castle (and the town) from the Palace de Pena.  

Some of the fine art in the Palace.  

Note the teeth on the snake.  

Cabo da Rocha is the westernmost point on Continental Europe.  

The view at Cabo da Roca.  We had lunch in restaurant overlooking the sea.  

Back to Lisbon where these structures guard the entrance of the Tagus river.  

More tile sidewalks.  

This memorial was built in the 60's to honor Portugal's explorers.  One of the guidebooks encouraged us to see how many we could name.  That was a short game.  

One of the explorers that I had heard of.  Vasco da Gama.  

The beautiful cathedral in the Belem section of Lisbon.  

A view of St. Georges Castle on top of one of Lisbon's seven hills.  

Walking the castle walls.  

Looking down on Lisbon's primary cathedral and the Tagus river.  

The bridge across the Tagus is designed after the Golden Gate in order to survive Lisbon's earthquakes.  

No comments:

Post a Comment