Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Lisbon Day #1: falling in love, tropical plants & broken dolls

lisbon pink facade Is it too late to wish you all a happy new year? I think technically I'm allowed until the month of January ends so may 2014 bring you joy and love, keep you prosperous and in good health.
My 2014 started rather lovely with a trip to Portugal which was a belated gift for my 30th birthday from my very thoughtful boyfriend.
Let me get this question that has been nagging me out first? Why the heck are people banging on about Paris when there's such a city as Lisbon? It has to be one of the most romantic places I've ever been, it is quite difficult not to walk your nose in the air with all the buildings being so beautiful and intricate, and the atmosphere is so relax and friendly... Can you tell I fell in love already?
If I had to use two words to describe Lisbon, apart from romantic, it would be 'hills' and 'pastries', which I think is a great combination as you sure don't feel guilty stuffing your face with those famous pasteis de nata (custard pies) after you've climbed steep hills all day, errday.
lisbon 2
On our first day (it was actually the 2nd day but as we arrived on a rainy evening, nothing much happened), we decided to check out the area where our accommodation was located, in order to get our bearings. I noticed in my guide that some glasshouses were a few minutes away, taking it as a sign of fate, I decided this would be our first port of call (after sampling our first pasteis de nata in a local pastelaria, bakery, of course!). It looked a little like this:
estufa fria 3 estufa fria 2 estufa fria 1 We then walked down the Avenida da Liberdade, which is one of the main arteries of the city of Lisbon. It looked so atmospheric through the smoke coming from dozens of street stalls roasting chestnuts. From there, we climbed up to the neighbourhood Bairro Alto. calçada do duque flower shop lisbon There, we stopped to admire the view from Sao Pedro de Alcantara Miradouro (one of the city's viewpoints) and smelt the heady cedar tree in the Principe Real park. It totally inspired me to try and recreate the smell with essential oils (possibly a future perfume diy for the #acleanerlife series?).
One thing I'll say that it's not an easy city for vegetarians (I can't even imagine how painful it must be for a Vegan) as fish and meat are heavily featured in the local gastronomy. For lunch, I had bookmarked a Tibetan vegetarian restaurant in my travel guide but looking at the menu, I felt underwhelmed by the plat du jour of brown rice and veg (although the rose petal ice cream was kind of calling my name).
lisbon balcony praça do comércio We decided instead to walk down to the sea front, to the infamous Praça de Commeirco. We had a cheeky falafel kebab and explored the city centre.
We then went back a bit northwards to Praça da Figueira where I was keen on visiting the Doll Hospital. Super creepy but also super amazing, our guide was so very nice! doll hospital 1 doll hospital 2 As the dusk was engulfing the city, we felt it was time to start our journey back to the hotel so we walked up the hill, passing through the saddest 'West-End', empty theatres and restaurants, even the neon signs were turned off, there was literally not a soul about (probably because it was winter time) and went grocery shopping for dinner. We found ketchup crisps, which is my favourite ever flavour, so all in all I'd say the day was a tremendous success!lisbon


Stephanie Louise said...

So lovely to see you back! And Happy New Year :)

My my, can you say best birthday present ever? The photos are so beautiful, love the buildings, and everything you captured. I know it was fun and thanks for sharing your travels with us.

Extra Solar said...

These photos are so beautiful! Happy belated birthday, lady!

moira said...

@Stephanie Louise: haha yes i agree, i kind of wish i was 30 every year now ;) lisbon is incredibly photogenic, i have literally 1000s of pictures (most of which are pastries though haha) xx

moira said...

@Kelli: i'm happy you like them! and thank you, it was some time ago, i'm nearly half a year older now *whimpers* xx

Nancy Wilde said...

First of all, I feel so proud of Lisbon when someone who is not Portuguese capture its essence so perfectly :) And though I don't like roasted chestnuts, I loooove the smell of all that smoke, it really is atmospheric.
I live 3 hours from Lisbon and I go there whenever I have spare time because it's such a cool, eclectic, multicultural town!
And have you tried eating the delicious bifanas?
Oh I'm a kebab lover as well^^
All the photos look beautiful!

moira said...

@Nancy Wilde: ooh i'm so happy i did you proud :) you're so lucky to live near this beauty of a city! completely forgot you were based in Portugal, wish i had asked you for recs before leaving now.
i didnt eat any bifanas,no, i even needed to google them haha, completely missed my radar. are they only ever made with meat? maybe that's why as i'm vegetarian :) xx

Louise said...

Oh goodness, whyyyyy have I never been to Lisbon before?! It looks magnificent, I totally get why you fell in love. Great pictures and I want to try some pasteis de nata now. It's good to see you back!

Ellie said...

Truly magical a place called Lisbon! (so are your photos)! Happy new year!

Dulcie said...

Wow! It looks like a magical place! I would love to visit after reading your post. Maybe it will be my summer holiday destination now! xxx

moira said...

@Louise: oh i think you'd really like this place, especially as an art student, so many places to check out. i'm really missing those pastries, kind of thinking of putting my baking hat on... if it's not too complicated a recipe, i might make a post out of it if you're interested. and thank you!happy to chat with you all again :)

@Ellie: i agree, lisbon is truly quite special. happy new year to you too and thanks for stopping by! x

@Dulcie: i couldn't recommend it enough, must be even more amazing during the summer, and it's quite cheap as well, better hurry before they turn it into a big tourist machine à la paris :-O

Nancy Wilde said...

Yeah, sorry I didn't know you were a vegetarian, darling! Pork, to be more specific. Oh, well! Anyway, did you visit Porto? I live in Lagos, Portugal (it's in the South coast), google it and then tell me if you're willing to come for a holiday ahah :P ^^

Anonymous said...

These are such great photos! Seems like you had a lovely trip! The doll hospital seems to have been so interesting and creepy! xx

Jane said...

To be honest I've never had specific plans to go to Lisbon but it looks like a gorgeous city. I sort of love that doll hospital as well. Gorgeous pictures, as always :)

moira said...

@Nancy Wilde: jesus are the beaches as idyllic as on google pictures where you live? i'm sooo jealous! Would definitely love to come for a holiday, or a life haha. I haven't visited Porto yet but i'd love to check it out as well x

@Wildflower of Prague: thank you! yes, totally recommend the doll hospital! thank you for your comment x

@Jane: I never thought twice about Portugal either before but after many good feedbacks from friends, i knew i needed to check it out for myself. I didn't expect to fall so hard for it to be honest. I feel like it could turn into a top european destinations on the same level as the likes of london & paris very soon (i think lonely planet put the city in its top of destinations for 2014).
Thank you-thank you xx

etta said...

how scary those dolls' body parts! beautiful pictures anyway! they make me want to visit lisbon more than i already want!

Barbara said...

Great trip!! looking forward visiting the doll hospital and the pharmacia next time I go to lisbon!

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