December 22, 2014

A little tour in Lisbon 1/2

Two weekends ago I went to Lisbon. It's just 200km from my home but it has been awhile since my last visit to the capital. I was invited by an old college friend to spend the weekend. It was her birthday also! I had a wonderful time. After a visit to a great exhibition at Museu Fundação Gulbenkian - have a look at the exhibition's blog here - on Friday afternoon I had great fun at the dinner party with her friends. And I also met her beautiful dog, a very energetic Yorkshire terrier! This happened on Friday. I took a bus to Lisbon and was surprised to discover that we have internet on board, free. It's a three hour journey, by the way.
On Saturday the weather wasn't good. The streets of Lisbon were waiting so we took our umbrellas and tried to make the best of it!We visited some beautiful places and lots of stores. Many of the stores we visited are located on Rua da Escola Politécnica that is known for designer stores and cool brands.I want to mention TM(Teresa Martins), the store décor was perfect. Clothes and accessories exploration of tradition and modernity is very unique. 

This street has also beautiful buildings  like palaces and old factory buildings from maybe 18th  century like Real Fábrica da SedaPalácio Castilho is an example of Marquês de Pombal's residential arquitecture. The space is now an actual indoor marketplace called Entretanto where you can find women's fashion and accessories, shoes, decor, children's fashion, food or detox juices, which, by the way, we tasted and were great.

These two photos are from Embaixada. The building is Ribeiro da Cunha Palace, an arabian inspired palace built in 1857 located at Principe Real area. Now it's a Palace Bazar. It hosts lots of stores inside covering from Portuguese design to gastronomy. It has this beautiful wood staircase, flanked by romantic chandeliers. And what do you think about that Arab courtyard? What a nice place to eat a good meal!While you go around shopping you can also enjoy the stained glass windows, the wooden works of doors and frescos on the walls. Watch a photo from the palace's exterior here.

This must be one of the most romantic Lisbon's viewpoints. It's called Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara. It's a beautiful place to admire the city but it was such a cloudy day! I think it did not ruined the experience thow! The garden bellow is a landscaped terrace with busts of historical figures and a fountain. 
Going up and down the hill next to the Miradouro São Pedro de Alcântara is the Glória funicular. These used to run on water but are now powered by electricity. It's ideal to go up and down city's many hills. They also used to be brown, but have been painted yellow since the 1930s. In 1885 Elevador da Glória connected Praça dos Restauradores to Bairro Alto. (It should be yellow, not blue and yellow. I am fond of graffiti but I would prefer it to be just yellow...)
Next stop was a church, a beautiful and rich one - Igreja de São Roque. Unfortunately my photos are just too bad. This church is so precious with its several side chapels, lots of statuary, glit wood and glazed tiles. When you're outside and you look at the  exterior it looks like an ordinary church. This was the first Jesuit church built in Portugal. The chapel of Saint John the Baptist is considered a masterpiece of 18th century European art. The church survived the big earthquake of 1755! That was a miracle or maybe it was a very solid building. There is no entrance fee. From the inside you get acess to a museum - Museu de Arte Sacra  - that displays a collection of rich clerical vestments and liturgical objects. We did not visit the museum.


Now going down Rua do Alecrim (= Rosemary) we found a barbershop. "Figaro's is a men only old school barbershop in Lisbon specialized in classic haircuts from 1920's to 1950's and hot towel straight razor shaves."Not sure what to think about this barbershop advertising but I am sure pleased about not going inside. Oh, come on, men, grow up! Hot towel straight razor shaves?! Who needs that when you can buy a smooth face shaver?! The space is rather cool inside with the mosaic tiled floor and brick walls. There are old kind of vintage accessories like the telephone or the cash register and, of course, old-fashioned barber chairs, not sure if I aprove the presence of stuffed animals! Fábio is the name of the owner. I understand the idea of a male only barber shop like Figaro's inspired maybe by this one concept here or similar. Honestly I really never liked to have men around when I went to the beauty saloon. That was some years ago when I decided to go blond and was a regular client. Every month my brown hair needed maintainance and there I was in front of the mirror with all that stuff glued to my head. Not a pretty display. So I feel sympathethic with all this male thing, barbarian razor thing excluded! 


We were going all the way down from Rua do Alecrim to Cais do Sodré where you can find Pensão Amor - instead of the former old day's clients, there is sailors and prostitutes coming from the bars right alongside Tejo river, the new occupants of the rooms are artists  that needed a space to work. When you open the door there's this bar with red walls and lined chairs, old lamps and old images of ladies in erotic poses, it's very nineteenth century. Rain was falling heavily forcing us to take cover. We went Quinoa - coffee shop and biologic bakery - for some rest, more chatting and hot chocolate!


 The rain stopped and we got on the streets again. The traditional christmas tree in the Commerce Square or Terreiro do Paço has a charity mission. Each euro placed on the tree turns on a light and the money gathered will then be delivered to Caritas to combat child poverty. The big building on the last photo is MUDE - Museu do Design.  This is one of the most famous Lisbon streets - Rua Augusta.
Confeitaria Nacional is the oldest pastry in Lisbon. It's located at Praça da Figueira and it was founded in 1829. It's famous for traditional Portuguese sweets. One is the King Cake Recipe that is our traditional Christmas cake. The recipe is a guarded secret brought to Portugal by the son of the founder in the mid-nineteenth century.



A quick stop at Praça do Rossio (Rossio Square) for some Christmas outdoor decorations photos. If I am not wrong this is the centre of the city. The white building with classical lines is Teatro Nacional D. Maria and you can't miss the wave-patterned mosaic pavement. And by this time it was rather late, we were tired and aproaching dinner time! So we called it a day and went home! (Next post will be a shorter one.)

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