We had a plan to get up at 6am and do a day trip to Sintra but our car was blocked in by someone and we weren’t going to start knocking on doors at 6am. We did, however, end up seeing an enormous amount of Lisbon and pretty much covered all the parts we hadn’t seen yet. 20km of walking, but we've now seen all 7 districts.
We started off by heading up to Alfama again for the flea market.
The only thing we purchased were the roasted chestnuts. Yum.
We wandered down to the coast and walked around taking in the more “touristy” attractions. Like, REALLY touristy. A cruise ship had just docked and it probably held 20,000 people, we think? So it did get a little busy, but even then, it wasn’t too busy. Portugal completely sells out in summer (true fact of all hotels/Airbnb’s in 2018) and we couldn’t even imagine what it would be like if it was this great “in the winter”. Lisbon has quite the love affair with mopeds and sardines though.
We continued wandering around and started getting a little hangry because we couldn’t decide on anything. We were trying to avoid the touristy traps and didn’t want to pay 15€ a plate, it’s Portugal, come on. We weaved through a few streets away from the coast and it started to look kind of run down, perfect. We were still window shopping and looking at every menu in the window when I came across this little place with cute little tables outside. There were fishing rods with a menu attached laying on differently coloured tables and the menu was a variety of sardines and such which we realized we haven’t had yet and was a must here. Neither of us think we even liked sardines, but when in Portugal.... so we started ordering a few small dishes and as they come out, we were both shocked at how delicious they were!! And then... it hit me. I smacked Justin and laughed and told him to look around and see if this reminded him of anything. It finally dawned on us that we stopped at the Anthony Bourdain’s recommended place (we obviously watched the Lisbon episode before coming). We just completely forgot and got distracted. What. Are. The. Friggin. Chances?! We laughed about it for hours. In the episode (2012), it was a really bad neighbourhood and he suggested looking past the hookers at every corner but that this place was worth it. Since his episode aired, it has obviously become a big thing and the neighbourhood was getting gentrified. I’m writing this and still laughing, as if we ended up there after debating for an hour of what and where to eat. It was such an exasperated “fine, let’s just sit here”. 10 points for Gryffindor.
We got back on track for our long haul to the Belém Tower. Apparently the best pastel de natas in all of the city (and the original ones, it started at the monastery and is so secret that only the cooks know the recipe and cook it IN A VAULT, producing 50,000 a day. Huge line up and people go out of their way for this). Well, who are we to say no to line ups for food of high ratings. So far, we’ve been getting pastel de natas at every single place we grabbed food regardless of meal to compare. Coincidently, en route to the tower, we found a Mantegaria in the Time Out market. These are said to be as good if not better by some. So we bought 4: 2 for now (obv) and 2 for side by side comparisons.
It was hot as all hell but we trekked on, stopped for a quick refresher at the LX Factory in a neat little bookshop cafe with a (mad? Genius?) inventor who gave us a rundown of his random... toys.
LX Factory is definitely the little Hipster village though - from the food, to the art, to the vibe, even the beards! Although didn't see much plaid, actually.
At this point our feet barely moved from the cobble stones and the heat and the distance but we kept going! Another hour.
We got our pastries, took them to the park and started comparing...for science. Sure, they were delicious, but seems both Justin and I preferred the Mantegaria after all. Actually, we both preferred one we had yesterday in the little random cafe in the middle of the park on the way to the “Central Park”.
We wandered around some more, more photos, watched the sunset go down and then threw the towel in and grabbed a tram back, because it would’ve been over 2 hour walk back. Super dark, and also went from scolding hot to shivering-cold.
And of course, the tower itself. Justin had a good time tinkering with the camera and did everything from 30s to 2 min to 4min exposures.