Lisbon Day 2

Onwards to Castelo de S. Jorge

We headed out of our apartment this morning with a plan of seeing some of the main sites of Lisbon. The first big thing on our agenda was the S. Jorge castle. But we got to enjoy seeing more of the quaint but quirky streets of Alfama and views of the city and Targus river. We also saw the historic yellow trolley that goes through this part of Lisbon.

We also had a quick stop at Pastelaria Santo Antonio on the way to the castle. I had read online that this bakery had recently won the designation of having the best natas in all of Lisbon. (Pastel natas are little circular pastries filled with egg custard.) You can find natas just about everywhere in Portugal and people eat them with a shot of espresso for breakfast, mid-morning snack, late afternoon snack, and dessert. We got a small box here and were not disappointed. Just about all natas are good, but these ones were really good.

With tummies full of natas, we got our tickets to head into the castle.

The castle itself was pretty impressive and the views of the city from the castle were great, too. The castle also had one particularly cool statue out front that Dylan really liked.

On one part of the castle grounds is an active archeological site that we got to see from a distance. (The castle is from around the 12th century, so there is a lot of history there!)

The castle grounds are also home to a bunch of peacocks. The weirdest thing is that the peacocks flew up to and then sat in really tall trees. I had no idea that peacocks hung out with pidgeons in trees.

Impromptu Walk to Belem

From the castle, we ventured to the Praca do Comercio which is a big plaza along the river. It seems like a lot of the Lisbon sites open up to or are oriented toward the river. The plaza was quite impressive and so too were the columns in the water out front.

We were in a walking and wandering mood, so we decided to venture out from the Praca do Comercio along the river. We saw these cool painted rock stacks that I think were supposed to be Amalia Rodrigues, the most famous Fado singer from Lisbon.

We realized that we were heading in the direction of a museum that was doing a Bansky exhibit, which Dylan had read about. So we decided to walk along the river to get there. We weren't familiar with the paths, so we didn't always walk in the most scenic of areas, but we got there!

The exhibit had a bunch of Banksy pieces from private collectors and information about his work. Dylan and I both like his work, so we were really glad we got to check it out!

After going through the exhibit, I checked the map and noticed that we had just crossed into an area of Lisbon called Belem. We had talked about checking out the sites in Belem but we had planned on figuring out how to take the bus there because of how far away it is from Alfama where we are staying. But once we realized we were half way there, we decided - why not walk?

Our feet were quite tired by the time we got to the main part of Belem, but we were rewarded with some great sites!

First, we checked out the Jeronimos Monastery and Santa Maria Church, and then the PadrĂ£o dos Descobrimentos monument, which was partially over the water.

We came across some exercise equipment in the park outside of the monastery and thought we could do some much needed arm work to balance out all of our leg workouts from walking. Turns out that the Portuguese make their public exercise machines way too easy though.

Lastly, we ended our walk at the Belem Tower - 8.5 km (or about 5.25 miles) from where we started.

We bought some Soleros Exoticos, which are like passion fruit instead of orange flavoured 50/50 bars (so good!), to fuel our walk back.

As we got close to our starting point in Alfama, we came across a big outdoor concert! We were pretty tired and didn't stay too long, though.

Instead, we opted to try out a restaurant near our hotel. Continuing his tradition of eating a burger everywhere we go, Dylan got a Portuguese hamburger and I got croquettes with caramelized red onions. On both our dishes, though, the potatoes ended up being the truly outstanding part of the meal.