Thursday, September 01, 2011


There is no filter on this photo. That is the actual colour of the sky in Lisbon. Also if someone had told me Lisbon had such a thing as a neo gothic lift with original wood interior designed by an apprentice of Gustave Eiffel that looks like it stepped out of 1900s Paris (Elevador de Santa Justa) I might have booked my ticket there sooner.

I had always thought that Pasteis de Belem (or Nata) were kind of a niche thing, that only me and a few other bloggers people knew about. This assumption was blown out of the water upon arrival at the Pastelaria de Belem - swarming with tourists and extended to at least six times its original capacity, with a flippin' branch of Starbucks next door (the only Starbucks I saw in Portugal actually *edit* oh yeah, and the massive one dominating the beautiful Rossio train station building - I must have blanked it out - thanks for reminding me A). Luckily the pasteis didn't disappoint: served warm, with flaky, crisp pastry and extra cinnamon. It was well worth the pilgrimage and being shoe horned into a tourist annexe. Our waiter was also amusing.

I just basically need these wall lamps with the brass arrows - not that I have any wall light fixings to attach them to. They're at the Confeitaria Nacional where we sat and had tea after a day of walking. Lisbon has these beautiful old mosaic pavements that - being old - are all uneven and bumpy; add to that the steep hills and we discovered new muscle groups in our legs. We had a nice rest here: tea, freshly squeezed juice and one or three of the many varieties of little cake Lisbon excels at. (This was the day of The Fifth Pastel de Belem Of The Day Defeat.)

Here are pictures for comparison's sake of hotel rooms in Lisbon and Tomar. Yes! Because we didn't just go to Lisbon! No. We went to Sintra, Cabo Espichel, Obidos, Peniche and Tomar. I think that's it. Up next.

The room in Tomar was charmingly old fashioned but I really sort of loved our hotel in Lisbon if for nothing else than its total contrast from the rest of Lisbon, with its sliding electronic doors and modern design. It was the Gat Rossio - with cat as patron (gat means cat in Catalan - the hotel chain started in Barcelona where there are two branches.) It also has hotels in Paris and Berlin. It was really affordable (I paid €50 per night including breakfast) and was in a newly renovated building. Apparently all I need to be happy is a clean white box with a bed, a functioning shower and wi-fi, as that's what my room was. I'm not that bothered about bed linen thread count or room service. I could complain about the lime green accent colours but I won't. It had everything I needed plus a terrace to hang out on and this great buffet breakfast that set you up for the day. Also - it was worth it for the virgin cat mary statue in the lobby alone (see posts below).

The Gulbenkian quietly became our favourite place in Lisbon I think. I had never heard of it or of him actually, but I think Calouste and I would have got along just marvellously. I'm so glad we went there.


Bardotty said...

You've made me reminisce do a post on Porto (which I liked even more than Lisbon). Your trip looks great! I love natas and now know what I'm having for breakfast today ;) x

lola is beauty said...

Ahhhh, my friends went on to Porto, while I went as far as Coimbra and came back to Lisbon to fly home. Now, seeing all the links of amazing places they went in Porto I think it will have to be my next trip!

la femme said...

Custard tarts, chandeliers, and beds... some of the better things in the world. That looks like it was a wonderful trip.