We arrived quite early this morning (about 7am) after an uneventful flight on SATA from Toronto. The broker for our apartment (Mary Goudie) met us at the apartment just after 8:30am. We were able to drop our luggage and have a brief look around, but couldn’t really take ‘possession’ until about noon. Mary showed us a few places of interest in the neighbourhood (Estrela), including a very nice place just up the street (Doce Estrela) where we shared a café.
After Mary took her leave, we spent some time orienting ourselves, then back to the apartment, and finally some lunch at O Lavrador (which is just metres from our door). We had wonderful frango, the famous grilled chicken of Portugal. It was the best that we had ever had. Finally, a late afternoon siesta (which went a long way to sorting out the time difference) and then dinner at (unknown restaurant, which we will update!), sharing a pork dish with mushroom sauce. And, a fairly early night.
The weather today was not great – only 1.5 on the Knowmark Weather Scale. There was rain off and on, plus it was fairly cool.
After our first night in Lisboa, we quickly established a routine: out for café (uma bica for Susan – uma bica pingada for Steve) at Doce Estrela; back to the apartment for breakfast (yogurt – fresh fruit – bread); up the hill to the Mercado de Campo de Ourique for various foodstuffs; across the street from the market to a belha d’ouro for another café accompanied by the wonderful pasteis de nata (which are excellent at this pastelaria!).
Today’s major task was to travel (on the excellent transit system in Lisboa) to the Instituto Geográfico do Exército in northeast Lisboa for some maps that we will use later on this trip when we rent a car and leave Lisboa. They were very nice at the Instituto and we bought what looks to be an excellent 1:250,000 scale map of the entire country (in easy-to-use book form).
This pursuit was actually our second map-seeking expedition here. On Monday, while we were waiting for our apartment to be available, we walked to the Instituto Geográfico Português, where we got a few topographical maps (1:50,000 scale) of a couple of the places we’ll be staying later on this visit. Steve (aka map boy) had been corresponding with a very nice man at the IGP (João Carvalho), so we knew they had some maps that we would find useful. And, they look great.
The weather is improving – a solid 2.0 today.
Slight modification to our morning routine today – instead of foraging for lunch ingredients, we were after things for dinner. As part of our meal planning, we paid a visit to the Garrafeira Campo De Ourique where on Monday we met a nice young man who was born in Toronto!
Lunch was at the nearby O Correio: shrimp omelette for Susan, grilled salmon for Steve. After lunch we spent some more time in the Jardim da Estrela as the afternoon was sunny and warmer. Later we went further north in the city to the Fundaçao Calouste Gulbenkian where there is a very well-thought-of museum; but we were there quite late and just wandered the grounds where we saw many lovely flowers and assorted fauna: a turtle sunning itself, lots of very noisy frogs and some ducks, including some babies.
Dinner was in our own place – take out frango assado from O Lavador (it really is great chicken) with home cooked baked potatoes and green beans accompanied by a nice Ribatejano wine; and of course, later we had port and chocolate!
A very nice 2.0+ on the Knowmark Weather Scale today.
Today’s main event (and, we usually only manage to do one thing a day, because we are very slow travellers!) was to have lunch with our Lisboan friend, Helena. We met her last year through The Travelzine and spent a very nice evening with her when we visited Lisboa in May, 2006.
Today we met Helena in Graça for an aperitivo at the miradouro beside the Convento Nossa Senhora da Graça and then lunch at O Jaime. From the miradouro, we could easily see the Basilica da Estrela (about 3km away), which is very near where we are staying.
A lovely day today – 2.5 on our scale.
Today was a perfect 3.0 on the Knowmark Weather Scale: a very blue Lisboan sky, lots of sun and very comfortable temperatures. In the morning, we checked out the place where we will pick up our rental car on Sunday then walked most of the way back to our place. After a lovely picnic lunch in our local jardim, we paid a visit to the Jardim Botânico which was quite empty of visitors.
Tonight’s special dinner was at XL, a very good restaurant within walking distance of our apartment, and apparently named after the size of the chef/owner.
Our last full day in Lisboa found us spending a leisurely day (what else?). We took full advantage of the sunshine (a very nice 2.5 today) to do some laundry. And, then a very interesting, enjoyable experience with fado in the afternoon in Graça.