The day started with cakes and coffee. I’ve been eyeing this coffee shop on Graca main street even it’s my second day in Lisbon, where they not only serve at the counter, but also sell coffee beans, in whole or grained. I saw some old ladies with loyalty card, and bought a kind of ‘Mistura’ (not pure coffee beans, a bit like decaf).
Eat Lisbon way, eat standing at the counter! I now figure out the standard price for a espresso in Lisbon is 0.6 euro, a good one may be 0.65 – 0.7. If someone charges 0.8, it will be considered overpriced… not to mention over 1 euro.
The cake was fresh from the oven – the boss has a spot in the counter where he had different kind of cakes each morning.
Portela Cafes (facebook.com/portulecafes)
Then I started my craziest day of walking. The route was as usual uphill and downhill. I passed the Castelo de Sao Jorge, passing some ancient city walls, which are now all covered with bad taste graffiti. Some African boys played music there.
I passed Arco da Rua-Augusta, the city centre, and decided to continue my way by the river to Belem. There were not much to see, but it was definitely interesting for me to see how the landscape changed…
There were a man-made beach close to PONDE 25 DE ABRIL (the bridge’s name), a restaurant with trees in a warehouse called ‘Kais’ and Centro de Congressos de Lisboa (where looks like a conference centre?).
Well, the famous Pastis de Belem was crowded with tourists, and it’s hard to find a seat, and it would be too in the way to eat at the counter. The food was good – but not exceptionally good, just standard good. If it was bad, then it would be totally pointless, wouldn’t it?! The staff were quite rude, and the customers – some were rude, too.
No need to introduce this cafe… which you can see from 10 meters away for its queue
I started to chat with this French couple from Provence who were nicely agreed to share a table with me. The gentleman could barely speak English and tried to tell me his son studied for one year in London, and his niece graduated from a law school there, and it was so expensive. But she earned good money, he said. He also said Lisbon is like San Francisco which also has a bridge.
The main attractions in Belem are Mosteiro dos Jerónimos (a monastery converted museum), Tower of Belem (just like Tower of London, a former prison), and Centro cultural de Belem, where there is a contemporary art museum. I stayed in the museum for quite a bit of time, and also visited the architectural association next door.
The nice bit of the evening was a hipster feel in the park just opposite the monastery. No, no, I didn’t exceptionally like it, not in the carefree Lisbon, as the so-called food market was pricey, but a little luxury after one day’s walk was worth it – not to mention I would keep walking till dawn.
After some rest at the Art Fest of Lisbon, I walked towards the direction of RATO metro station for the dinner place. I accidentally found LXfactory on the way so wandered in. It’s somehow an equivalent of Hackney Wick Studios but all in one gated street.
It was a bit scary to walk in a quite and strange neighbourhood… but somehow there were always people popped up from somewhere soothed my worries. Oh, I also tried a doughnut on a street van, which was delicious.
The dinner was very good wine with a huge chuck of veal barbecued on stone. My first time eating raw beef… It was tasty. Warning: the staff almost speak only Portuguese, and the menu is in Portuguese. They have a very confusing English version that the staff can barely understand themselves… But the food is just so good to miss.
Casa dos Passarinhos, R. Silva Carvalho 195, 1250 Lisboa