Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Ola Portgual: A few days of exploring Lisbon and eating pastries

At the beginning of March when the 'Beast from the East' had frozen Britain to a standstill, we fled for a long weekend in Lisbon. I was hoping for a bit of winter sun, but instead exchanged the British ice and snow for Portuguese rain. Museums and plenty of indoor things it would be then.

I ate a lot of pastries in Lisbon, about which I have no regrets. It's the home of pastel de nata (custard tarts) so you're really just helping the economy by eating as many of them as you can. Make sure you check out the bakery Pasteis de Belém (famous in Portugal) for the finest pastel de nata you'll likely ever stuff your face with. Same secret recipe since 1837, finest ingredients, that sort of thing. I should have taken a photo of the baked goods but got distracted snapping some ducks nearby that didn't even make the blog. 

There are loads of good museums, galleries and other touristy places in Lisbon - we could definitely have done with another day or two. But it's also a cool place to just wander round and see where you end up. Probably even more so when it's not raining. I'm told Portugal is usually quite a sunny country.

So many buildings in Lisbon are covered in brightly coloured tiles. Wes Anderson should probably make a film here.

In the National Tile Museum - actually a much more interesting place than it sounds.

 Don't know what's going on with this flower beast-thing. Looks happy enough though.

 More sensible (and more impressive) tile display in church within the museum. Also, the museum's cafe does a brilliant baked apple.

Sheltering from the rain again - we went into the Money Museum where you can see what you would look like on an old Portuguese bank note. It kind of looks like I'm doing an impression of the MGM lion here.

 Lisbon's parliament, Sao Bento Palace. Home to many a dodgy politician, said our host Manuel.

The trams in Lisbon are pretty cool and do provide another place to shelter from the rain.

Walking through one of Lisbon's botanical gardens, shortly after devouring a couple of delicious pastel de nata.

 Ler Devagar bookshop - basically a hipster bookshop on an industrial estate in Lisbon that's been turned into a hub of trendy cafes, bars and shops. Liked it.

 The main reason I liked the bookshop so much was this guy giving tours on the top floor. He has built all sorts of weird and wonderful machinery and takes you round them all, telling you a story that doesn't make much sense.
 This botanical garden in Eduardo VII Park made me think of the raptors pen in Jurassic Park. I didn't see any raptors though.

Standard manly stance. (Wouldn't be a blog post without me posing next to/in front of/on top of something like an idiot.)

I'm not sure if fountains get much more phallic than this one at the top of Parque Eduardo VII but if they do, it's probably best they aren't put on public display. It even has water spurting out the top, which you can't see so well because of the cloudy background. Shame.