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A Lazy Day in Lisbon

sunny 25 °C
View Euro trip 2013 on travellinglise's travel map.

" Twas the day after Sant Antonio, and all through the town
Not a creature was stirring, not even a ...... Sardine!"

Foodie moment

We ventured out to try the famous Custard tarts of Pasteis de Belem, still being made using the ancient, secret recipe of the Jeronimos Monks. With cinnamon and icing sugar to sprinkle on top, we were not disappointed!

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We decided to stay in and try the advertised 'Hostel dinner'. For 10 Euros we were getting a starter, soup, main, desert and 3 drinks of our choice so it was a great deal... but you never know what the quality will be when cooking for a big group. Lucky for us the cook was a lovely Portuguese lady, who was a great cook!! Brie with honey on crackers, vegetable soup, chicken wrapped in ham and stuffed with pine nuts with rice and salad and a delicious chocolate brownie and ice cream for desert! So much food and so delicious!

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Cultural moment

Today we got to see the after effects of the partying at the San Antonio festival. All the shops were shuttered, the streets deserted apart from men in fluro vests doing the clean up, not a soul to be seen who wasn't a tourist! Needless to say it was a public holiday, so shops being closed wasn't that big of a surprise, but it just shows that they party hard in Lisbon... and then are more than happy to take the next day as recovery snuggled up in bed (Financial crisis or not!!)

Wow moment

We took the tram to 2 sights just outside of Lisbon today. The Belem tower was a fortress built in 1515 on the river to protect the nearby palace. The spiral staircases took us to the top of the tower for some amazing views of the water and bridge.

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We also visited the chapel of the Jerónimos Monastery. The most interesting aspect was the intricate carving on the columns, and the beautiful stained glass windows.

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What we learnt today

Throughout our trip we have come across A LOT of Americans also backpacking. They are often quite young (19-22), and either travel in big groups or gravitate towards each other at hostels. And unfortunately these groups don't do much to help counteract any of the stereotypes of Americans we hold - they are loud, cannot drink without a drinking game being involved, say incredibly ignorant things and can have the tendency to be quite obnoxious. Now, don't get me wrong we have met many great Americans who are none of these stereotypes... but in big groups, all around Spain and Portugal, Americans are driving us nuts!!!

Posted by travellinglise 07:41 Archived in Portugal Tagged lisbon belem_tower jeroninimos_monastery yes!lisbon_hostel_dinner Comments (0)

Celebrations with Sardines & Saints

sunny 22 °C
View Euro trip 2013 on travellinglise's travel map.

"Hard to call it a party without sardines" - Brandon Mull

Foodie moment

We trecked off to find a restaurant Lonely Planet had suggested for dinner, 'Faca & Garfo', this is can be a risk as they write the reviews such a long time before publishing you have no idea what state the restaurant will be in now (could be shut down, raised its prices due to Lonely Planet popularity, new owners). Luckily this time it was a lovely little restaurant with a really friendly waitress and reasonable prices. We were given the English menu and I couldn't find any of the recommended dishes on it. When i showed the Portuguese names to the waitress she pointed out that 'Alheira de mirandela' (chicken sausage) was 'traditional Portuguese sausage', and 'Bife a casa' ( Steak with Cream and Port wine sauce) was 'Steak knife and fork' on the English menu!! Sometimes the English menu can help... sometimes it hinders!! Anyway, needless to say, the dinner was delicious and she even managed to upsell us on desert much to Mark's joy, Creme brulée and Chocolate Mousse. Very satisfied :)

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Cultural moment

The Portugese LOVE a festival, and everyone gets involved. They are either out on the streets partying, eating and drinking, or they set up a stall in front of their house and sell food and drink to anyone that passes. They stay out ALL night regardless of age, much more stamina than us wimpy Aussies who definitely didn't make it to sunrise!

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Wow moment

We had heard a rumor that there was going to be a festival in Lisbon on the 12th of June so we skipped Coimbra and headed straight there. I don't think we really understood how big the Festa De Santo António (Feast of Saint Anthony) was until we walked around while they were setting up in the afternoon, and they were constructing beer stall after beer stall, setting up bbqs lining the street and there were kilometers of tinsel hanging in the streets. Later that evening, we met a girl from Darwin named Jelise and a couple of Kentucky boys (who we just called Kentucky!) and we hit the streets. They were heaving with people, the air full of Portuguese music and the smell of grilled sardines. The town of Lisbon is incredibly hilly and we climbed and climbed all night, roaming the streets, enjoying the amazing atmosphere! We met a group of Portuguese guys who we chatted to for hours learning all about them, the language and having a laugh. It was a great night!!

What we learnt today

The Festa De Santo António is also known as the festival of Sardines. The reason for this is that the story of St Anthony tells us that when he was a missionary in Italy he became depressed because the locals wouldn't listen to his sermons, so he went to the lake to talk to the fish. Suddenly row upon row of fish came to the surface to listen to him talk. The townspeople came to see this and were amazed as the fish bowed their heads and opened their mouth in reverence to Saint Anthony! In response to this miracle the festival is based heavily around the grilling and eating of the biggest sardines I've ever seen!!! Plus they hand out Sardine hats to wear in the festivities, but these are incredibly rare. Jelise and I tried our hardest to get our hands on one all night, even offering money to confused Portuguese children for theirs (One Euro for a child, Jelise?!)... we finally struck luck when meeting our lovely Portuguese friends who gave us theirs at the end of the night! Success!!

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Posted by travellinglise 09:11 Archived in Portugal Tagged lisbon Comments (0)

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