Today we started the day at 8.30am and walked around the old town area of Lisbon. The sky is cloudy, and once we got out of our hotel door (Eden VIP Aparthotel), we could feel the slightly cold air on our skin. Our breakfast was at Manteigaria, an old pastry shop specializing in tarts filled with egg custard – a Portuguese classic – which was followed by my girlfriend and I hopping from one shop to another to hunt for souvenirs. Perhaps the most interesting shops we went to is a bedding stores selling customized pillow cover and blankets called Loja de Burel, where my girlfriend bought a red, textured pillow cover to match her green sofa back in Montreal.
Going to the northern side of the old town area, we arrived at Museu Arqueológico do Carmo, a Gothic church that was destroyed by an earthquake in 1755, now a roofless structure with a museum on one part of the building. For only €5, it is worth a quick visit. Inside the museum there are two mummified remains of children that link the Peruvian and Spanish culture, and also an audiovisual room where a brief movie related to the church is being played.
Our next two destinations were ceramic shops near the Intendente metro station. The first one is called A Vida Portuguesa, housed in an old building with beautiful interior selling not only ceramics but also cooking ware, clothes, and other accessories. The second one called Cortiço & Netos, which sell only ceramic tiles (azulejos) with various motifs. We bough several pieces for saucers at home. Mind you that they are quite heavy and could rapidly increase your luggage weight.
In hindsight, we should have taken a taxi or at least metro to go from the old town area to the ceramic shops. It was only a 1.4 Km walk but the sun was especially bright and considering the souvenirs we bought, we had a 1-kilogram worth of goods in a shoulder bag we just bought earlier, hence our decision to order an Uber to go tour next destination, Telecabine Lisboa.
We did not know that the Telecabine station is located just next to the city’s oceanorium, which explains the reason we saw lots of elementary school kids in uniform around the area. Although the oceanorium is located under the ground floor, the restaurant and gift shops are open to public on the ground level, where we did a quick toilet stop and drank orange juices. We also passed Lisboa Casino that is located across the street from the oceanorium.
The telecabine ride from the north to south station took only around five minutes and there are options for round-trip ticket too, in case you want to get back to where you departed from. The city view from the gondola was okay, but not amazing by any count. Given that our carry-on bag was becoming too heavy to lug around walking, we went back to our hotel before going out again to Bairro do Avillez, the restaurant we booked for dinner.
Bairro do Avillez is located near Museu Arqueológico do Carmo and the road leading to the restaurant is an uphill. Since we came from Restauradores metro direction, the fastest way for us to get there is to take the staircases of Calçada do Duque. There were few restaurants on the left side of the staircase on our way up that caught our eyes and had a good ambience for a dinner.
At the end of the staircases on the top, there is a clothing store called ISTO that caught our attention. They are a made in Portugal clothing retailer that champions transparency in the pricing of their goods. I bought a nice green sweater from them and later learned its cost breakdown, which is an interesting business concept and may in the future be followed by large retailers globally as we become more conscious on the sustainability and transparency of the daily goods we consume.
The interior and ambience of Barrio do Avillez deserves a thumbs up. The service was nothing short of excellent and we really like the bulhao pato clams we ordered for appetizer. The main meal, however, do not fit our palate. We had a shrimp acorda and cod with “exploding olives” that were served with a pot and resembles a soup rather than a main meal. The former is very salty, and we did not even finish the second. Note that we also paid double the average of our meal cost during the trip. In total, our dinner cost €130 for 2 appetizer, 2 main meals, and a chocolate cake.
The sky was turning darker by the time we got out of the restaurant and we did not want to miss the sunset, so we went directly with an Uber to Miradouro de Santa Luzia, a popular sunset-watching park on the east side of Lisbon’s old town area. The place was a bit crowded, but people are moving from one spot to another that allows us to get a good spot for taking pictures. There was also a local artist entertaining the crowds with his guitar, singing a classic love songs. Lisbon is a lovely city indeed!