We started the morning with a little exercise – a run along the river for Larry, and I just walked since I´m not running right now. Lisbon has a nice run/bike trail next to the river, headed to Belem. We met up at the public market, which was fairly slow due to the holiday (May Day). There were still a few vendors there, selling meat, cheese, fish (including octopus), and produce. It´s a very clean, airy market.
We got back to the hotel with great intentions – get showered, see more of the town, swing by the Port Wine Institute to see if they´re open and have Larry´s phone. But when we got to the room, we both expressed a need for a nap. Still dealing with jet lag, we laid down for a nice nap and didn´t feel guilty at all. Vacations are for doing what you want, relaxing, and not being on a schedule.
After our nap we went by the Port Wine Institute to see if they had Larry’s phone, to find them closed for May Day as expected. We decided to go see the castle, which is a hike up the hill in the Alfama neighborhood. Okay, everything in Lisbon is a hike up a hill. Which is okay considering the amount of pastries we were consuming. The castle has sweeping views of the city. Not a lot to see on the grounds, just better views than the lower area before the entrance.
We used one of our tour books and did a walking tour of the Alfama. It´s a charming neighborhood, tight-knit and friendly. The confusing, crooked narrow cobblestone streets (more like alleys) were designed to confuse anyone who attacked the city. Many homes here don´t have their own laundry or even their own bathrooms.
After exploring the neighborhood, we stopped in at a neighborhood cafe (Pios Cafe) that was suggested by a food blogger I follow. It was late for lunch, but we had a terrific sandwich and salad and hung out for a while and enjoyed the atmosphere.
We left the cafe and Larry went to the tourist police station (conveniently located next to the tourist office) to fill out a police report in case the phone was turned in (there’s a central lost and found in Lisbon). I went to another tourist office to do a little research on the Internet – since we didn’t have the trip planned out to start with, it would have to unfold along the way.
May Day celebrations were being held around the city – there was a foot race in the morning, and concerts taking place around the city. We enjoyed the general festivities as we wandered around the city.
We decided to stay one more night in Lisbon, so we could hopefully get Larry’s phone on Monday, and also to see more of the area and city. We ended the day with a trolley ride to the Belem neighborhood. Our primary destination was Antiga Confeitaria de Belem, the origin of Lisbon’s Pasteis de Nata.
The original recipe for these delicious little egg custards was invented by two Catholic sisters in the convent at the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos. The recipe is a heavily guarded secret, allegedly only known in full by three people. The pastries sold at Antiga Confeitaria de Belem are the only ones that can be called Pasteis de Belem – they’re called Pasteis de Nata everywhere else. The bakery was founded around 1837 by clerics from the monetary and was the the first shop to sell Pasteis de Belem, and they’re really delicious here.
After enjoying our pastries, we walked around a bit and found a little grassy knoll on top of a museum that had closed for the day. I was still suffering from jet lag and laid down on the grass for a little snooze. Larry mocked me and took incriminating photos. We ended the day by just going back to our hotel and crashing for the night.