lisbon

Tile (Azulejos) painting in Lisbon

When you’re in Lisbon, the first thing that strikes you is the tiles – they’re EVERYWHERE! they are beautifully painted and cover the facade of apartments in the city. The most common colours I saw were the blue and white ones with geometrical patterns, so so nice!

So my friend who is a local, booked us in to a tile painting class (teacher’s details are below) or Azulejos as the Portuguese would say… The class only cost 15EU where we painted two tiles. She had drawn the pattern on with lead pencil and she demonstrated how we should paint and how dark each section should be. It was really nice in that it was only us three and the teacher. Her English was good enough and she had even researched the correct English words to use – which impressed me, it showed that she cared…

In the end, we all painted a village woman and for my second one I chose to paint a yacht (I love boats!). She had to put them into the kiln so we didn’t get a chance to get them back as we were leaving the next day. However, the teacher dropped them off to my friends house and has them safely (soon to be picked up on another trip to Portugal…). I filmed a bit when the teacher was instructing/demonstrating (apologies for the low light…) and I’ve inserted this video below.

I definitely DEFINITELY recommend attending a tile painting workshop! It’s not difficult and it’s alot of fun – plus it’s actually relaxing. Plus it’s a cultural thing – so go for it!

Azulejos Artisticos

Marie Caroline Vidal

mariecarolinevidal@hotmail.com

No: 934 144 520

Facebook: Workshop-de-Azulejos

 

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Beautiful beaches of Lisbon

As an Australian, I really appreciate the coastline of Lisbon – they have actual beaches! not the stoney beaches that I’ve seen in the UK…

And the beaches stretch endlessly – and they are clean! so so beautiful!

The only bad thing that I can say is that I don’t like the development on the beaches ie the stores, cafes, the sun mat hiring places. Beaches should be kept natural – best way to conserve them. I’m so glad that the beaches in Australia don’t have any development on them – I hope it remains like that…

The beaches that we went to were: Estoril and Caparica. Estoril is on the same side of downtown Lisbon whereas Caparica is on the otherside, ie you have to cross the bridge. Both are about 30mins drive from Saldanha and they aren’t over crowded.

The day we went to Caparica, there were a group of kids with bicycles with parachutes attached to the back, where the wind was providing momentum – it looked like so much fun! I walked along this beach, the weather was warm and it reminded me of home…

Seeing this coastline of Lisbon, really makes me want to see the Algarve – which is supposed to be really really nice! Definitely going on the bucket list!

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this is actually a lighthouse (so I'm told...)

this is actually a lighthouse (so I’m told…)

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Caparica

Caparica

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Streetart of Lisbon

Lisbon has a great street art culture. There are different types of work scattered throughout the city. One that I kept noticing was always when we were driving somewhere and I couldn’t take a photo of it. It’s work by Vhils – I absolutely love this guys style! It basically looks like he has scraped out the wall and thats how he gets his images. I can’t describe it so just click on the link…

There’s alot of streetart also at the LX Factory – various styles from cartoonish to screen painting-like to graphics…

I honestly didn’t get a chance to take photos of all the streetart I saw, but here are the ones I managed to capture, enjoy!

Click on the images below to enlarge them.

 

Pastéis de Belém

Now because I’m a bit of a foodie (others may call me a food snob), I am dedicating an entire post to the ever so delicious Portuguese tart: Pastéis de Belém.

My history with this particular goodness goes years back as I was first introduced to this speciality by my good friend Nancy – who has a Portuguese background. When we were both living in Sydney city, she took me to the Portuguese burrow of Petersham. We went to a cafe called: Sweet Belem Cake Boutique. The first bite was AMAZING! Just biting into the pastry makes all the flakes get on your clothes, and honestly, you don’t mind, because it tastes oh so good! So this became a regular “go to” place for me. The last time I went here was with a friend visiting from Porto years ago – who actually said that these pastries were as good as where they were from originally = BELEM!

So there you have the history of my obsession with these tarts… A few years ago, I visited that same friend in Porto and there the name of this pastry is called Pastel de nata. They were ok, but not WOW…

On this trip, I was very excited to be having the real thing = FINALLY! So when we all sat down and our Pastéis de Belém arrived with our homemade lemonade, I wanted to squeal with delight. I ate all THREE!!!! they were oh so YUM! I then got some for take away (will not disclose the number…) and enjoyed some more later on the beach…

If I haven’t convinced you to try the real thing – you simply don’t understand how good it is. It is DEFINITELY worth it! If you do nothing else in Lisbon and just go to Belem to get the pastries – I’d declare that an awesome trip in itself! I really am not exaggerating – they are simply YUM! Oh and just a note: do not wait outside in the line like all the other tourists, go and find a seat inside, the place is massive and you won’t wait as long! You can also see the place where they make them, take them out of the cases etc, it’s simply brilliant!

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Lovely Lively Lisbon

A friend that I met on the G Adventures tour in Peru moved to Lisbon.  So together with another friend that I met on the tour in Peru, we travelled to meet up and unofficially celebrate our 6 month anniversary (we didn’t realise this till we were all sitting around and playing the card game “shit head” – as it reminded us of Peru!)

We stayed in the neighbourhood of Saldanha – which is a more residential area. Getting here from the airport is super easy and cheap. We used the metro which only cost us €1.90! Note: taxis are also relatively cheap compared to other cities… We stayed in an apartment from airbnb.com and it was absolutely fantastic! Our host was lovely and showed us around the apartment. Just down the road from where we were staying, there was a cycling cafe called Velocite Cafe, the staff were very friendly and the cafe itself was very tastefully decorated (as a cyclist from Cambridge, I can appreciate pretty bicycles)

We were quite lucky to have a friend who was a local – it’s much nicer seeing a city through a locals eyes…. We had dinner and I ofcourse went for something that had Bacalhau (salted cod fish), so I had the Bacalhau lasagna – YUM!

Over the next few days we explored downtown Lisbon – Commercio Square was very grand and you get a nice view of the bridge (25 Abril) from here. Yes it’s the bridge that looks like the one in San Francisco. AND my friends actually told me that it used to be named after a dictator but now the name changed to 25 Abril to mark the revolution (now thats some trivia for you!).

My friends and I have very VERY sweet tooths – so we mostly ate our way through the city! There is a place called LX Factory (X is pronounced as “sheesh” in Portuguese) which is an old manufacturing district that has been transformed into a hispter place full of design, cafes, restaurants and book stores. We had the worlds BEST chocolate cake here – believe it or not the cafe ONLY sells this cake! it was yummylicious!!! The place is called Landeau Chocolate  trust me you won’t be disappointed. The LX Factory also has an awesome book store – the interior design is AMAZING! I think I saw that it was one of the most beautiful book stores in the world (or something like that). It’s definitely worth a visit, it’s called Ler Devagar.

Our friend also took us to Mercado de Ribeira which is basically a foodie heaven! We obviously went for something sweet… I had a divine caramel cake from Nos E Mais Bolos – oh so good! But they have other stuff here, as in really good food and coffee!

Besides eating, we did see other cultural aspects of Lisbon… We went to Sintra, but unfortunately the weather wasn’t so good and it was all foggy. We didn’t see the amazing view atop the mountain – we could barely see the exterior of the castle! We also went to Gulbenkian Museum – which was only a short walk from our apartment. We actually went on a Sunday – free admission YEH! The museum had alot of painted tiles, ornaments, rugs and clothing from the Ottoman Empire. But there were also artworks from Monet and Renoir – among other artists whom I can’t recall… It’s worth visiting on a Sunday if the weather is poor…

The city has also an aqueduct – which I simply didn’t know how to capture, it’s so grand! There is an elevator in the city (grey tower like structure) we didn’t go up, because there are other nicer view points, plus the line was really long and you had to pay for it! Instead we went up to the fortress – didn’t do inside but the streets were nice and the view is also nice from here. We explored the Parque das Nacoes area and coincidentally there was a triathlon that day! There is also a very very long bridge around here called the Ponte Vasco da Gama – it’s 17km long!

Definitely recommend visiting Lisbon – the city has a lot to do and it is very easy to get around: the metro system works well and takes you to all the major places downtown and it’s relatively cheap.

BIG SHOUT OUT to my friend Claudia for showing us around – Lisbon was a great experience with you! Alex thanks for being a chillaxed and great travel buddy – till the next adventure!