Locks, Liqueur & Live Music // Lisbon, Portugal
We visited a few weeks ago and are still reeling about our ignorance for not going sooner. We were absolutely floored by Lisbon. The people are incredibly welcoming and proud of their city (as they should be!), the charm and architecture is unrivaled, and the food – fantastic. Better still, we found that as a whole things are cheaper in Lisbon than anywhere else in Europe.
If Lisbon can fit in your itinerary, go. You must.
Okay, enough nagging… let’s get started with day 1, shall we?
After dropping our luggage off at the apartment, our visit kicked off with an invite from Lisbon Escape Game. As we later learned, with Portugal being neutral in WWII Lisbon became the rendezvous spot for spies on both sides. The city was filled to the brim with stealthy secret agents.
Running with this page from Lisbon’s history, Lisbon Escape Game offers visitors a chance to take part in their very own live-room escape game.
We followed our instructions to this inconspicuous address…
…once buzzed in, we cautiously made our way up a steep flight of steps. (The things we do for a good blog post, I tell ya!)
The next hour Dan and I tested our problem solving skills, teamwork, and memories from lessons learned lonnnng ago. I promised not to spill the beans on the game, but I will say it was a ton of fun.
If you’re wondering, no, we didn’t ‘complete’ the game but we were both surprised to find how well we worked together. It seems that I’m the observant one and Dan is the deep thinker. Surprised?
Afterwards the game-maker (Hunger Games style) cheerfully walked us through the entire route so we could see where we flubbed and excelled. We made lots of noises like “gahhh, that’s where it was…!” and did cheesy high-fives.
After writing our sentiments on the office wall with the previous wannabe-spies and spies, we bid our farewells and headed back into the street…like nothing ever happened!
Dan was all smiles as we made our way to nearby Mercado de Riberia. With roots dating back to the 13th century (!) the market was recently renovated and a total foodie paradise. Along the exterior, amazing restaurants serve up the tastiest-of-tasty Portuguese delights while long high-top tables stretch down the center.
Following the guidance of our in-flight magazine and further confirmed by our noses, we opted for thick-cut raw salmon and healthy glasses of white from Alexandre Silva. Dan couldn’t hold back his paws for a picture while I channeled a deer in headlights in mine.
Like rational adults, afterwards we dove in headfirst into glasses of Ginja! A liqueur made with berries, it was sweet with a touch of licorice. I needed to try it twice to be sure of how much I really enjoyed it. Yep, delish!
Remember how I mentioned how friendly the Portugese were? We chatted with this sweet gal for the longest time, such a doll! (And it wasn’t the Ginja talking.)
After the salmon, wine and ginja, we ducked back out on the street for an evening stroll.
We found the perfect sunset seating as the sun sank below the 25th of April bridge (constructed by the same team as the Golden Gate). What a beautiful sight!
We spent the next few hours doing nothing other than wandering. Lisbon is one of those places that’s great for it. The heaps of steps all reward you with different perspectives and views of city. Dan led the way while I snapped pictures as I went.
Eventually we made our way back to our Airbnb apartment in Alfama and changed out of our plane clothes. Per the recommendation of Nuno, the friendliest and most helpful Airbnb host I’ve ever had, we scooted over to Tasca Bela (Rua dos Remedios, 190) when they opened for dinner at 9PM.
Upon arrival we were immediately greeted with a table full of tapas ranging from fried cod (their favorite fish!), chickpeas with cilantro, fresh octopus, to marinated mushrooms. We ordered a pitched of sangria and dove right in.
But first – the “you take a picture of me, then I’ll take picture of you” routine was in order:
At a table nearby, a patron ordered flaming spicy sausage. With flames leaping a foot off the table it was hard not to stare and sneak pictures. This dish is relatively commonplace in Lisbon and delicious. (I know this because they gave us samples to try! See, there’s that Portuguese hospitality again!)
The remainder of the evening was spent chatting with the other patrons between pauses for Fado singers!
As each singer took the floor the restaurant completely shut down – lights were lowered, waitresses took seats and patrons were requested to be quiet – the singer, accompanied by two classical guitar players, then shared his or her song. Stories full of love, loss and passion, Fado is absolutely beautiful to listen to. At the conclusion of the song the lights were flicked back on and dinner service continued for another 15-20 minutes before the next singer took the floor.
There are numerous Fado restaurants but, as so many patrons shared with us, this is where the locals go!
So much more to come on my visit to Lisbon, aka the case of Margo v. BlogWorld: ‘Why you need to go visit Lisbon ASAP’. Stay tuned!