03 August 2010

how to make the weather even warmer: head south to lisbon

port47porto is nice. but your friend wants to see lisbon too. so you hop onto a bus, take a 4 hour nap, and wake up in the capital of portugal.

port48your first stop is to a grocery store to do, what else, buy sandwich supplies for lunch.

port49and then to head to a bakery to buy dessert! here, if you squint, you notice that people don’t sit. they just order and eat at the counter, standing up the entire time.

port50you pick a random trolley to ride, and lucky you, it takes you straight up to a castle. where you get a nice view of the city, as well as a peacock. can you find him?

port51on the way down the trolley breaks down so you have to walk, which you don’t mind of course.

port52you love bricked up old buildings. wispy translucent cloths. and a random leica sticker…?

the day ends, and you meet your lovely new host. a lovely dinner. 2 mattresses on the ground. you are so thankful to be able to participate in couchsurfing.

port53next day. you wake up in the gorgeous old portuguese apartment.

port54aaaand of course it’s pastry time. with a staircase, again. and lots of yellow colored pastries.

top left: confeitaria nacional. serving pastries since 1829.

top right: a guardanapo. literally napkin. basically a piece of sweet cake/bread with a layer of cream and then folded into half. yumm.

bottom left: an austriacos. something that has origins in austria. you’ve already forgotten all the details…

bottom right: scone simples. exactly what it sounds like. a scone, portuguese style.

port55you start the dangerous daydreams of wondering what it would be like to live in lisbon…

port56you take an old elevator up. just for kicks.

port57then you and your friend split. you head for a museum and she heads for some gardens.

port59you honestly are more interested in the actual museum than the stuff in the museum. it’s built to interact with the gardens outside so it’s hours of entertainment for anyone obsessed with light.

port60you find the empty corners of the museums and marvel at how the light dances with the edges and the walls.

port61and people watching is always fun too.

port62you meet up with your friend after the museum, and you both hop on the metro to the train station to your next destination…

port63water. that’s right. you’re on your way to a little beach town outside of lisbon.

but. on the way, you pause at a famous bakery in belem.

port64 oh, it is worth it. absolutely worth getting off the train and stopping for a bit to grab lunch and a bite. but not for this specific pastry, which was very good in it’s own right, but for the next one.

port65the pastel de nata or pastéis de belém. it all started in 1837. you think you’ve had egg custard tarts before? you’re right. you only thought you did. even if these are a staple in taiwan/china and dim sum restaurants in america and so you’ve had at least over 100 in your life, what you taste here in belem is just incomparable. it’s that good. the dough – crunchy, flaky, buttery, but it’s not the normal puff pastry you were expecting. it’s something that words can’t describe, only a trip out to belém will suffice. and while this pastry is available everywhere in portugal, the birthplace is where it’s really at.

belém also has a huge unesco heritage monastery. and a tower. and all sorts of important things. but you kind of skip it because you need to make sure you have enough time to go to the beach… so while the historical sites are more important and what you really should have visited, the beach and pastries make you much happier.

port66you make it to the beach. a bike ride. ice cream. a short nap. just perfect. a bit cold, but okay. and this time there’s sand instead of sharp rocks.

you head back for some dinner.

port67and… it isn’t portuguese. you stray. it’s called tamarind. that’s right, it’s indian. you go in with no expectations. and you’re blown away. you’ve never had indian done this well, because what you usually have are the buffets…  but here, the chef himself comes out and explains that he doesn’t like relying on tons of spices, he focuses instead on taste.

port68definitely did not forget dessert. never, ever. and it was just as perfect as the meal. you’re glad you’re not travelling by yourself, because you’re having fun doing things you don’t usually do.

one more day in lisbon. then back to porto and back to la france.


Lizounette said...

just delicious!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Fantastic and mouthwatering!



Opy said...

AMAZING! I am loving all your wonderful Portugal posts! I am dying to go there, hopefully for my honeymoon! :) Great blog!!