Lisbon – it’s my birthday!
Once again the bus was easy, we arrived and checked into our airbnb room with our male model host “the winking Hugo” (which oddly Jono never saw). Cool room in a great part of town, literally across the road from the Bairro Alto!
Hugo gave us the word about viewpoints and so without hesitation we were out and amongst Lisbon. We walked to view point at the Santa Justa elevator and then down to the water for a beer. Lisbon is one Cool city, all cobbled streets, tiled house facades and bright colours!
Since it was a Saturday and we were right next to the most amazing street of bars and clubs and wine cellars that ever was what else was there to do other than buy pizzas to cook up and nap? Ha, we headed out in the Biarro Alto bout 10:30 and the place was only just starting to come alive. We stopped at a couple trendy spots for cocktails, my favourite being the Mahjong Bar. It had cabbage lampshades, the sickest beats and delicious cocktails not to mention the very attractive Portuguese waiter 🙂
As we walked from bar to bar people would stop is and blatantly ask you if you wanted _________ (insert drug name here). Honestly there were police on the street that didn’t even bat an eyelid as time and time again we were offered pot, ice, coke and even GBH!? What the?
At a dodge-as street bar Jono grabbed a 750 mL beer for 2 euro then thanks partially to this very large drink we had a fun dance in a tiny packed club! Makes you realise how legislative Australia is compared to practically anywhere else in Europe! People were drinking in the streets in huge crowds and it was all cool and chilled. The cops didn’t care, no one was having a punch on and no one seemed overly mangled.
Pretty funny, when we got home it was real late but Hugo the host and his Mrs. were still up and they were letting loose at each other in loud, aggressive Portuguese. I felt a bit awkward, like an unhappy child lying in their room while their parents bickered outside! Jono and I locked ourselves in our room and giggled. Well I did anyway, I suppose Jono laughed.
Portugal and Lisbon in particular is famous for its delicious pastéis de nata or de Belem. It’s a small sweet tart made mostly from egg yokes and served warm from the oven with cinnamon and icing sugar sprinkled over it. Yum – o! Apparently the place to get them is from a shop in the suburb of Belem so off we trooped on the train, joined the queue and carried the goodies reverently to the park… I am happy to report they melt in your mouth!! Here is a fine example of one, modeled for you by this gorgeous man I found reclining in the park.
Catching the train back, I’m sitting and Jono leans over and says watch out for this dude he’s a pickpocket for sure. I turn and we watch as he sways with the train and unzips this older tourists bag!! Another young woman who had seen what was going down slapped his hand out of the way and the bum ran off, after flipping her the bird with a filthy hand. Pretty sad but I guess when you have nothing picking the pocket of a tourist seems the least of your troubles.
We love a sunset, you have probably noticed that by now! So off we pop on a crazy full tram to a sweet view spot over the city and harbour! It was the highest point in the city and there wasn’t even a crowd! It’s was above the Miradouro da Graça, up the street and round the corner to avoid the crowds. Lisbon, like Rome, Istanbul and Moscow, is said to be built on seven hills so you can get a pretty cool view from plenty of places.
Not wanting to go to bed too early we hopped off the tram, wandered round Lisbon and then stopped for a coffee at a cute little restaurant. The waitress was offended we only wanted coffee even though it was 10pm, “we are actually a restaurant” – awkward! We got up to leave but she said, “no, stay”. Definitely something that we miss is just knowing what your ordering, we had a laugh when the longed for coffee appeared and it was a horrendous tasting, bitter-as espresso shot.
Never have I wanted to stick forks in my ears as badly as when we finally got back to the apartment and unfortunately met a fast talking, self obsessed Aussie chick who we could not get out of our door way! Through airbnb and travel you meet some lovely people and some nice people you don’t particularly ever want to see again.
Monday dawned and I turned 25!!!! I love birthdays and Jono had planned a smashing day and evening for me!! I felt super loved and spoilt! Up early and off on the Tram 28 for a morning of exploring and photos. The cool thing about buying an all day pass meant we could hop on and off all day whenever we saw something fun! We stopped at viewpoint for a coffee, chatted about a charity idea Jono’s developing then wandered down through the narrow streets of Alfama.
To my surprise we headed back home and checked out of Hugo’s apartment and said our goodbyes to Hugo and the fast talking Aussie. We took the metro to a secret location! Turns out Jono had booked us into an awesome lush hotel for my birthday! We had a great day wandering through Lisbon, shopping for presents (I got awesome Ralph sunglasses) 🙂 and finished with a beer.
If that wasn’t enough Jono had an amazing evening planned for us as well. We took the metro to pre-dinner drinks from roof top bar number one – The Bairro Alto Hotel. We were there in time to watch the sun set over the Jesus statue and the harbour with a cocktail in hand.
It was a beautiful view and we sat soaking it all in until well after dark. We arrived at Cantinho do Avillez for a late dinner, and my goodness it was the most delicious food I’ve eaten in ages!! The restaurant was small but packed and had a wicked vibe.
We shared more than a few laughs with the two gay guys sitting right next to us, since we were so close we could hear everything each other said (they were speaking English it was very distracting!) I had scallops and they were the biggest, freshest scallops ever.
After dinner it was on to roof top bar number two, Park Bar, which is on top of a car park. Really funky place with lots more people, cool music and yummy mojitos. Jono and I scored the best seats in the house and as we were cuddled up watching the view the clock struck midnight and everyone behind me sang happy birthday in Portuguese (wasn’t for me but I was happy to enjoy it too)! It was the perfect end to an amazing day with the best guy!
Next up the surf town of Peniche!!