Once we landed in Lisbon, we had to stand in an insane passport line for 2 hours. That was a little trying for everyone, but once we got through we got to our driver and into our hotel pretty quickly. We changed and started walking around the city.
From our hotel, the Altis Grant Hotel, we could walk a pretty short distance to a square where there are trolley cars. After missing our stop the first time, we rode around the loop the trolley makes once more before we hopped off.
There is a big castle with amazing views of the city called Castle of St. George. From what I had read online, and what our driver told us, going in the castle itself is pretty unexciting, but that the views and having a cocktail in the restaurant were great.
There was a huge line to get into the castle and you have to pay to even get into the viewpoint. So we ended up walking enough circles that we finally stumbled upon a really cute restaurant in an area called Senora de Graca with views that were just as good, called Esplanada de Graça. We grabbed drinks and shared a snack before we continued walking around the old town. After more walking, we got a TukTuk back to our hotel, which was a lot of fun.
We met friends who were in town at the same time for a drink at Trivoli hotel, which has a great roof top view. From there, we went to a restaurant called Bairro Do Avillez. When we got there, we realized it was actually 4 restaurants and each of them was incredibly busy. The 4 restaurants are Taberna (tavern), Páteo (seafood), Beco (a gourmet spot with a caberet), and Cantina Peruana (Peruvian). We put our names in at 2 of the 5, and got into Taberna first. Every single thing we tried was amazing. It was a tapas style spot and we got a few things to share. By the time we were finished, everyone was full and sleepy.
My dad and I got out for a 4 mile run in the morning. The sun didn’t come up until 8am, but the streets were very well lit.
After a quick breakfast, we had a wine tasting trip scheduled to the Setúbal region. The breakfast here was a little more European – still a lot of meats and cheeses. But I did find Nutella and had that on toast with banana! Europe really doesn’t do peanut butter much – it is expensive and hard to find. I also had hard boiled eggs every day to get some protein so that I wouldn’t be starving by 10am.
Our driver picked us up at 9am and we drove about 30 minutes out of the city to the first spot. On our way, we got to drive over the 25 de Abril Bridge, which looks a lot like the Golden Gate. They made a smart move when they designed it though, and made a lower level for a train, and upper level for cars.
Our first stop was at José Maria Da Fonseca. We got to see the cellar where they store a few bottles of each year of Moscatel wine that they’ve ever made. The grounds are beautiful, which a small topiary maze and bamboo garden. They still make wine in a very traditional way. We got to taste 2 wines at the end, one of which was their Moscatel. It is like a wine mixed with brandy, not for me.
From there, we drove into the Arrábida Hills, one of Portugal’s most scenic National Parks, for our second winery, called Quinta de Alcube. They had a very big & sweet dog that had the run of the place, along with a pen of goats, emus, chickens, & a baby horse. We tried their various wines and their version of Moscatel, which was much lighter and I liked a lot.
The third and final stop was a small shop and liqueur maker, called Lima Fortuna. We tried 4 types of liqueur, a Ginjeira – a local cherry drink, Bicabagaco – a coffee flavor, and two types of their special Arrabbidine. Along with it, we had some amazing bread with homemade jams and sheep’s milk cheese. I’m not much of a liqueur person, but that bread and cheese!
We headed back to Lisbon after that stop, and headed down to the walk along the waterfront near the 25 de Abril Bridge. After cruising around that area for a while, we caught an Uber back towards the old town to go see if we could do the Santa Justa lift, which is a 19th century lift that transports passengers up the steep hill from the Baixa district to the Largo do Carmo and the ruins of the Carmo church. The lift dates from an era when wrought-iron was both a construction material and art form, and the structure is adorned with glorious neo-gothic arches and geometric patterns, while inside two sumptuous polished wood carriages whisk passengers up in style. At the top of lift is a newly opened viewing platform which provides wonderful panoramic views over the historic centre of Lisbon.
As we approached, it was quite a long line, so we decided it might not be worth it. Right as we were walking away, however, John spied an elevator in a nearby cork gift shop. We decided to get in and see where it would take us – and it went right to the top of where the other elevator would have gone! We were pretty pleased with ourselves and loved the views from the top. We got drinks at a place called Bella Lisa Elevador. There was a second line & fee to get to the platform above the elevator though, so we enjoyed the views and walked to dinner.
We had snagged a reservation at the same restaurant we had been to the night before because we liked it so much. Only this time, we went to the Pàtio – which is a completely different space and menu. Again, the food was incredible. Especially their twist on Prawn Açorda, which is a traditional Portuguese bread stew. Theirs had an egg on top and I am definitely going to have to try to make it.
After dinner, we went back to the Santa de Justa lift and were able to go up on the platform at the top. The views were awesome, and we could see Pink Street, which is where all the nightlife is in Lisbon.
My folks headed back to the room and John and I decided to try checking out Pink Street. I can’t hang at a club (#runnerproblems), so we decided to just walk through and get a drink at one of the cool spots. We decided on a place on the edge of where the more intense clubs were. It was a super cool set up with cushions going up some steps where you could sit. I asked the waitress for something similar to a mojito, so she brought me a Caipirinha – which is Brazil’s National cocktail and so so good.