|A street in the hilly Alfama neighborhood.|
|A streetcar wends its way through vehicular|
traffic on an Alfama street.
Other neighborhoods in town include Baixa, which includes the gigantic riverfront plaza Praca do Comercio; Chiado, known for its chic international retailers; and Bairro Alto, with narrow streets from the 1700s lined with restaurants, bars and designer shops.
Belem, however, well west of downtown and on the river, is the don't-miss area. It's home to a large contemporary art museum (you can see one of Warhol's Judy Garland portraits), the National Museum of Archaeology, the magnificent Jeronimos monastery, the quaint Belem Tower, the striking Padrao dos Descobrimentos sculpture (depicting Portugal's greatest explorers), along with a wonderful waterside restaurant. But for many the real attraction is Antiga Confeitaria de Belem, a bakery and cafe serving pasteis, the little custard tarts that are a Portuguese staple. Here the recipe is a bit different and they're said to be the best in the land. We were told to skip the long line for the bakery and instead find a seat in the large cafe area, but the little tarts weren't on our agenda.
|Tourists can rent two-person, easy-to-park vehicles|
for getting around in Lisbon.
About the only thing we failed to do in Lisbon was to take in a fado performance. It seems that at most of the fado clubs, the music starts very late, and that at most of the fado clubs the food isn't great. We had a reservation at a club one night, but we opted to eat and drink in the LX Factory area instead (dinner was at Da Praca, which must be one of Lisbon's liveliest restaurants). Perhaps with more research and planning, we could have found a fado performance to suit us. Fado would have to wait until Porto.
We spent three nights, April 1-3, 2017, at Casa Amora in Lisbon. It's not far from a metro station and a streetcar stop, but the neighborhood is largely residential and there are few restaurants nearby. We did find two places worth mentioning. Banca de Pau (click HERE) on Rua Nova de Sao Mamede is a small-plates restaurant serving food and wine from the northernmost parts of Portugal. Just down the same street is Iiimpar Restaurante, a full-service restaurant which provided my introduction to Portugal's black pork. Jane had a quail appetizer and a charcuterie and cheese board. We found Banca de Pau on TripAdvisor, walked there and were told it was booked for the evening. We were pointed toward Iiimpar and had a very good meal there. A couple of days later, with a reservation, we were seated at Banca de Pau. Advice: if you're really hungry, go to Iiimpar.
On our return to Lisbon, on April 18, we returned our rental car at the airport and checked into Tryp, an airport hotel. We took a taxi back to LX Factory to dine on tapas at Central da Avenida, a wine bar with well-informed and friendly servers. This was our last indulgence in the cheeses and ham of Portugal.
|Aboard the funicular seen below.|
|A funicular runs from Praca dos Restauradores at the foot of|
Avenida da Liberdade to the Bairro Alta district, one of three
such lines giving pedestrians a break in Lisbon.
|You can get there from here: a directional sign in Alfama.|
|Streets become stairways on Lisbon's many hills.|
|The Tower of Belem, as seen during a cruise on the Rio Tejo,|
which in English is called the Tagus River.
|A monument to Portugal's many great explorers. It soars over|
the Tagus River in Belem. Tourists visit the top for great views.
|The huge Praca do Comercio on the riverfront. Tour|
boats leave from docks across the street.
|The cloister at the Jeronimos Monastery in Belem.|
|The refectory at Jeronimos.|
|The church at Jeronimos Monastery. We were there on a Sunday and tourists were|
allowed in after the morning mass.
|A waterfront restaurant in Belem. A sculpture pool separates the dining|
terrace from the river, where a constant parade provides excellent
|A kiosk is the source for food and drink on this small plaza.|
|St. George's Castle presides over Lisbon's Alfama district.|
|A water course enlivens the middle of Lisbon's Avenida da Liberdade.|
|A riverfront cafe offers in-demand lounge chairs along with lunch|
just downstream from more formal restaurants at Praca do Comercio.
|We took a taxi from our airport hotel to have our last dinner|
in Portugal at this wine bar in the LX Factory complex. The use
of English reflects the international nature of the crowd
that LX Factory attracts.