Getting Lost In Lisbon

If you too adore tiles, doors, smoothies, sunshine, trams, food, coffee…..I could go on listing all the things that make me smile and would you believe that I discovered my (entire) list plus bundles more in the beautiful city of Lisbon.

Being an eternal list-maker/creator, it was a sheer delight to set about my Lonely Planet guide with a highlighter whilst sipping through my favourite smoothie blend (Blueberry Banger currently, if it helps you to imagine the scene in more detail). From the highlights, I created a map. The map had a key and each colour of said key represented a theme which went somewhere along the lines of Food, Roof Top Bars, Micro Breweries, Juices, Art, Sights, Gardens.

I’m sure that each of these themes in turn had their own separate sub-headings but I won’t go into any further detail on this matter but I will add that a post grad degree in English Studies, before the advent of the internet instilled within me the ability to create lists with interconnecting sub-headings like some kind of mind-mapping bandit and it is a skill that I will continue to implement as I love to write, with my hand, and a pen, (something that is most certainly becoming more obsolete in my daily life as I more prolifically put my fastest typing fingers first).

So, with my colour-coded map in one hand, my umbrella (yes, it was raining), in the other and my camera flung around my neck, I set about my next mission of conquering the city of Lisbon (when I say conquer, I truly mean eating and sampling as much of the local fair as I could during my 4-day window of opportunity). A girl can do a lot of sampling in 4 days and I can most certainly substantiate the stats that there is a Ginjinha cubby hole/hole in the wall adorning most corners. I really mean adorning, too – each bar is decorated with the prettiest tiles, I was in Ginjinha/tile heaven and with a helping of my best pirouette, I danced between these little liqueur havens in an attempt (excuse) to dodge the rain. If you haven’t tried Ginjinha before, I wholeheartedly recommend that you give this sticky, cherry-based, warm-your-cockles tipple a whirl!

That’s the beginning of Day One underway and if you too find yourselves in Lisbon for a 4-day shimmy, here’s my snapshot guide of (mainly food-based) things to get up to! Being an avid smoothie- lover/queen/creator of all-things, healthy (and quite contrary to the facts stated in opening gambit), it seems only right to begin with a little gem that was a stones throw away from my B&B (which was part of the Shiado Group, by the way and the breakfast was totally amazing!). It’s okay for ones breakfast to fill the entire 7am-9.30am slot, right? Walking after all is hungry business!

YAO Pressed Juicery is quite literally powered by plants, on every level. I treated myself to the Blueberry Muffin Smoothie and I could’ve easily slurped my way through the whole menu which consists of an array of nutritious, smoothies, cold-pressed juices, boosters and homemade nut mylks. If tea and coffee are more your style, they have a sister location not too far away.


Take a look at YAO’s Instagram for inspiration, blends, fresh ideas, pics of Lisbon! I absolutely loved this hole-in-the-wall find; I will most definitely be emulating this ethos when I create my smoothie bar! 

The twists and turns of the mosaic-filled lanes of Lisbon delayed proceedings! So. Many. Photo. Opps! Being an avid tile-lover, oh wait, and door-dork, getting from A to B proved rather slow-moving. With each new step came a new, elaborately-decorated doorway with its accompanying flourish of meticulously-set, colourful tiles. The vibrancy and precision of which stopped me in my tracks! 

The juxtaposition of graffiti-tagged walls adjacent to the order and uniformity of the tiles highlighted the contrast between the transient and established. Both beautifully colourful, both competing for the limelight.

The streets are a continuous serenade of the senses; each new backstreet a cochophiny of colour, sounds, music, smells with the distant sound of Fado rippling through the air. We let the music guide us to discover a tiny Fado bar; the mesmeric singer spills the secrets of her heart with the adoring audience. We skip to the next bar and the next, each with its own unique tale to tell. 


Ok, so, if you love custard tarts, then you must catch the tram to Belem and visit Pasteis de Belém. It is incredible! Washed down with a shot of espresso, it’s the ultimate post-lunch treat! The queue was out the door (and around 2 corners), but it was most definitely worth the wait! And the tiles, the tiles alone were worth it!


En route back from Belém (with a full belly and a slight coffee squint), we stopped at the LX Factory. The library was insane with floor to ceiling books, suspended bicycles and a bustling coffee shop. Resident artists exhibiting their creations, tourists and locals, all humming along; it’s such a cool place!!!

If, like me, you LOVE coffee, you will be spoilt for choice with all that this beautiful city has to offer on the bean front! My favourite place to re-charge was Fábrica Coffee Roasters – I could’ve whiled-away many hours here. I could write a guide about coffee spots alone, I think! 

If you also LOVE a delicious and nutritious smoothie blend, then Nicolau is a definite must if you’re visiting central Lisbon. Smoothies, juices, smoothie bowls, I was in fruit heaven, I tell thee!!!!! I couldn’ve spent all day here, too! However, the sights were calling and the sun made an appearance!


 As if I needed anymore food, en route to our apartment, we passed-by the The Timeout Market. Well, I admit, I did actually engineer it so that we had to stop there! It’s buzzing with life; hundreds of people sampling the array of fine fair on offer! I didn’t want to leave! I discovered the Aperol Spritz counter, of course! I’d highly recommend at least one visit here, you’ll go for a second and possibly third visit, I can assure you!


8 Juice Bar and Health Lounge is a vegan restaurant and concept store. If I wasn’t grappling with hand luggage, I would bought the entire shop! Their smoothies and juice range was absolutely amazing! I picked-up a few tips that’s for sure! Vibrant, colourful, zesty, zingy, nutritious, beautiful; my kind of place!


Did I mention the tiles. Maybe just a few times, right?!? The shapes, colours and designs all boldly and proudly representing their place within the city; as we hop from place-to-place, we get lost but use the tiles to guide us home! 


It’s not an option to say no to hitching a ride on one of the many trams traversing the city’s roads, making light work of the steep inclines. It’s the best way to travel if you’re short on time. If you have a bit more time on your side however, then getting about on-foot opens-up a plethora of delicious sights! It wouldn’t have been a complete trip, however without a quick hop on a tram. Squished-in (face pressed to window type jazz), we scaled the cobbles to our next vantage point. And what a look-out spot it was so with (another) coffee in one hand and my camera in the other, I captured this rumbling thunder cloud a few minutes before it passed overhead and drenched us! It was amazing.

 

The juxtaposition of the elements; sun and rain, symbolised the contrast of this beautiful city so it all felt very apt to witness this sky-scape. Brilliant, radiant, beautiful sunshine followed by rolling clouds mimicked the old and new, antiquated and modern, light and dark – the many moods of Lisbon that we were undoubtedly treated to on our visit.

This whistle-stop tour, a nutshell synopsis, if you like hopefully encapsulates the snippets of beauty we saw. I would truly love to go back to this beautiful city to see what side of its character it’ll show us next xxx

 

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