Sunday, March 11, 2012

Lisbon, Portugal: interesting sites, local food

Lisbon is a city with interesting sites.  If you have limited time, it's better to plan ahead and combine the sites that are near to each other or along the way.

Check out how we went around Lisbon and get foodie tips from the HT couple.
The first and foremost thing to do is to walk around the city.  Familiarize yourselves with the surroundings and how the public transportation works.  Relax and enjoy the walking tour (with your camera, of course).  It's worth the time and money spent for your succeeding days. (photo credit - Cindy)

HT wife loves doing the itinerary.  Where to go, what to eat and which places should be done together, printing out maps, etc.

HT hubbie reads the maps (as HT wife has no sense of direction) and makes sure that we get to somewhere.

Here's how we combined the sites in Lisbon:
 Belem Tower - a fortress guarding Lisbon's Harbor and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Monument. 

Jeronimos Monastery - this is the first facade, walking from Belem Tower that you would see going to the monastery.  I think this is the maritime museum. 

The monastery houses 2 museums so you can imagine how big it is. 

inner courtyard of the monastery

young love (cute lil' portuguese, aren't they?)

The church has wonderful stained glass windows.  This was our favorite.

The monastery is a tribute to Vasco de Gamafor his voyage.  (if the name rings a bell, you've been ;listening during your history class :D)  His tomb stands at the entrance.
By the time that we've seen Belem Tower and Jeronimos monastery, we were famished and headed to the infamous Pasteis de Belem.  (walking distance from Jeronimos)

it ain't a joke making pasteis de nata

therefore I made sure that I take them within me seriously

Be ready to queue up.  They're pretty efficient so it shouldn't take you half an hour.

Next stop:

Carmo church - which is now an archaeological museum

A few streets away is the simple on the outside but extravagant on the inside - Igreha de Sao Roque (church)

The following was done the next day:

Tram 28: is a must-ride.  It goes through small interesting streets of Lisbon (up and down) and goes to our 2 next stops (different directions).

Castle of St. Jorge - the best place - overlooking Lisbon.  The castle is badly destroyed over the years but climbing up and walking around is still worth it.  A great getaway place from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Basilica Estrella - HT couple enjoys going to churches in Europe.  This neo-classical church is not difficult to miss via tram 28.  Don't miss out the incredible nativity scene (not in the picture).  It's hidden so make sure to ask where it is.  You need to drop a coin to activate the light though.

Tips from HT couple wouldn't end without this...FOOD!!! 

The Portuguese takes their lunch seriously.  Check out prato del dia (menu of the day) in most of the restaurants and you'll get a good deal between 5-10 euros.  This set (which includes a drink - including wine/beer) was about 8 euros.

 It's always a pleasure to go local.  No english menu, impress the waiter with your local language skills or if doesn't work, sign languages will do. 

If there's no english menu, how did we know what to order? 
HT wife and her friend who thinks she came from mars prepared a list of dishes and drinks prior to the trip.  Yes, we're prepared!

pat on the shoulders (good work!)

What we have indulged...  

Bitoque de Vitela - pan fried beef served with egg and fries (on the side).  (it was more like a coarse hamburger steak).  It was full of flavor.  My martian friend's choice!

Escalope de Vitela via Pohrto - Beef steak marinated with port wine.  HT hubbie ordered the big portion as the small one costs about 7 euros which he thought wouldn't satisfy his tummy.  Surprisingly, this big portion was up to his neck. (about 11-12 euros - and good enough for 2).  The meats were very tender and the taste suits well to any Filipino palate.

Bacalahau a Bras - a mixture of cod, onions, thin slices of potatoes, scrambled eggs, olives and parsley.  It's pretty heavy but a must have as there's something local to its taste.

Carne de Porco a Portuguesa - potatoes and meat.  A full meal.

Pudim flan - similar to Filipino's leche flan...but i think ours is smoother and creamier.

This ends the journey of HT couple to the wonderful city...of Lisbon!

'Till our next trip!