The main thing that we orient our trips around is eating.
Good food is a big deal to us, and so we’re often looking to try new restaurants, in hopes that they impress. In Lisbon in particular, where we hadn’t spent much time, we were looking to try new places, in search of some future favourites. We make our choices based on online research, recommendations from friends, and TripAdvisor lists.
We were in Lisbon for 2 nights, staying in our friend Soledad’s beautiful apartment while she was away on a business trip. After our long drive, we got settled into her apartment, took a quick nap, and then headed into downtown Lisbon for dinner. Kevin knew I was having a bit of a craving for my grandmother’s perogies, so he took me to Stanislav Avenida, a well reviewed new Russian restaurant in town. And let me tell you, those reviews were well-earned. The food was amazing, as was the selection of specialty vodkas.
Before heading back to the apartment (I’m working, you know!), we took a short walk through Lisbon. Because Kevin and I speak english to each other, we’re often mistaken for foreign tourists. People selling things on the street often call after us in English, and they’re always surprised when Kevin responds in Portuguese.
On this particular day, this resulted in us getting free entry into the House of the Alentejo (a remote farming province in Portugal, known for being rather traditional). We definitely didn’t expect just how traditional the inside of the club would be. It was like travelling back in time. The decor throughout the building was beautiful, and obviously hadn’t been changed since the decadent days when it was built. And to top it off, upstairs was a dinner with traditional Portuguese dancing. We took a bunch of photos, otherwise we might have thought it was all a dream.
Despite working till after 4am, we were up bright and early to explore the sites in Lisbon. This was a really fun day for me, because Kevin planned everything and I was just along for the adventure. We started off on the west side of Lisbon, in what’s known as Belem. We saw Lisbon’s famous Jeronimos Monastery, the very old Tower of Belem, and a great big monument built to commemorate Portuguese exploration. After lunch, we headed to the Aquarium, which I’ll write about separately.
In the afternoon, we went right into Lisbon proper, where we walked, and walked, and walked, and walked. Eventually, we stopped at a pretty unique bar called Pavilhao Chinese. Their claim seems to be ‘collections of stuff’, and they have that in spades. I’ve never seen a bar quite like it, and I definitely recommend stopping in at least once.
The last destination on our list that day was obviously dinner, and we had some of the best seafood that Lisbon offers, at Cervejaria Ramiro. Since coming to Portugal, I’ve become a complete and total seafood monster. That night we had goose barnacles, multiple types of shrimp, and clams. And we even met a fellow Canadian!
After a full day of activities and amazing food we headed back to Soledad’s apartment. Worth noting is that this is probably the cleanest apartment I’ve ever been in. While Kevin slept, I took some of my phone calls in the bathroom, where I spent a lot of time sitting on the floor. If you can keep your bathroom floor spotless, then you’re probably the cleanest person ever. Thanks Soledad!
If a picture is worth a thousand words, and I’ve already written 600, then you should probably just look at the photos below. They’ll tell you much more about the amazing-ness of our trip to Lisbon!