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Cyn arrives in Lisbon and the next three days are a feast of good wine and great food

Updated: Jun 10, 2023

Cyn arrived at the Lisbon AirBNB early on Sunday afternoon, a little travel weary but eager for her vacation to begin.

The sadist in me suggested that we walk 25 minutes to the downtown to find a place to catch up on the four months we had spent out of each other's orbit. The first half of the trek was down ... until the stairs in the final stretch.

We started with some vino verde and cheese and olives at a patio with a view of Lisbon's Castelo de Sao Jorge - which we put on our list to visit.

Then I took her to a few more wine haunts including another outdoor cafe where we had Aperol spritz, and to Grapes and Bites where we had a glass of wine and fish fritters.

We stopped at a spot where she could get a view of the city.

Then we headed back to our neighborhood where we had a mediocre dinner but the great company of an Indian doctor who was visiting Lisbon and shared our table.

On Monday, Cyn took the walking tour with Xenia and I visited some tourist spots including the LX Factory, which is an abandoned industrial complex that has been turned into an art and food hub, and the Time Out Market.

I caught a bus back to the city centre, had a salad on a patio, and connected with Cyn at the end of her tour - she also raved about Xenia.

Then we walked to the Castelo, which is an 11th Century fortification built on a Moorish castle which was built on a settlement that dates back to the Iron Age.

There are layers and layers of history. And I gingerly climbed the big steps that took us to the top of the ramparts where we could get a great view of Lisbon.

We had hoped to have dinner at the highly rated Italian place next to the AirBNB but it was closed. So I dragged Cyn back up the hill for another dinner at the Thai restaurant, which was just as good as the first night I had eaten there.

On Tuesday we made the mistake of buying hop-on bus tickets. I generally like the hop-on buses for quick glimpses of cities I don't know. But this one was dreadful - the earphones were next to useless, there was very little commentary when we did manage to get some sound, and the driver just sped by stops without announcing them.

We did get use the bus to out to the Tower of Belem which was built on the River Tagus in the 16th Century as an embarkation point for explorers like Vasco de Gama.

I took Cyn back to the LX Factory where we had lunch of sandwiches and empinadas and a great drink that entailed mixing white port with tonic. Delicious.

Then we made our way back to the centre of town, mostly on foot. The path took us through this amazing abandoned metro station where graffiti artists have had free reign.

In town, we took a funicular to a market on top of a hill and had a glass of vino verde. Then we walked to the port area and met up with Cyn's brother, Robert to begin a fabulous food and wine walking tour, called Oh My Cod, with our guide Baptiste.

First stop was a store called Manteigaria da Silva that sells ham (like prosciutto but not) and cheese and Port. Yummy!

We went into the Church of St. Dominic which was built in the early 1200s. In the 15th Century, it was a site of the Inquisition where 4,000 Jews were massacred. Two hundred years later, it was almost destroyed in the 1755 earthquake, and then it was severely damaged by fire in 1959. Inside, it is very much as it was after the fire - the people felt it was a sign of God condemning the massacre of the Jews so they did not make repairs. And it took my breath away.

Baptiste then guided us to this great African restaurant called the Cantinho Do Aziz where we had delicious vegetables, bean stew and coconut rice (and Portuguese wine). This celebrates the multicultural layers that came to to city along with the exploration and colonization.

We stopped at a traditional Portuguese restaurant called O Triguierinho for cod (and vino verde). Cod is a Portuguese staple but it is all imported. Then we went to a place in the Alfama where we had canned sardines (the Portuguese think they are awesome and there are entire stores devoted to them) as well as blood sausage and chorizo that was cooked on the bar in a fire fuelled by alcohol. That was washed down with some of the cherry ginga.

On Wednesday, Cyn went to Sintra and I caught the Number 28 Tram - which is a tourist thing to do but locals also crowd in - and took it 23 stops to a place called Mike's where I got my ears pierced. I figured, at the age of 65, it was time.

I then walked to the hop-on bus place and took route we had not done previously, which was mostly a waste of time.

Cyn and I met back at the AirBNB, freshened up, and took the Metro to the city centre where we, and Robert, had reservations at a restaurant called Belcanto. It is a one-star Michelin place, and super swank.

My deconstructed Caesar salad had avocado and lobster. The sea bass was lovely. But it was the excellent service and the 'surprises' (photo above) that kept arriving at our table that made the meal so special. This is the salad.

Now it is Thursday and I am writing this from the train because we are off to Porto for four days. I dumped two bags with Devon but we are still not travelling light.


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3 Comments


Erin Scullion
Erin Scullion
May 19, 2023

Stop having so much FUN! And hey, btw, I'm officially retired!!! And OVER THE MOON!

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gloria139
May 20, 2023
Replying to

That is so wonderful, Erin! Congratulations!

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ivanfelgate
May 18, 2023

Oh my goodness where did all those bags come from lol 🤣🤣. It's a wonder you are still able to walk you must have done thousands and thousands of steps take care and enjoy.

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