Wednesday 7 March 2018
We wake up to our first day in Lisbon and the sun is shining as we look out from the Hotel Marquês de Pombal and we get our first sight of the city waking up and it looks like it’s going to be a nice day.
After a perfectly acceptable breakfast we head out into the city to look for a shop called Solar Albuquerque in the Barrio Alto that we had heard sells reclaimed and antique tiles. This meant going up lots of steps
which Mrs Sixwheeler does NOT enjoy. We did pass a small grove of orange trees on the way though and that was very nice.
We found the shop but were there before it opened so went and had a coffee with the obligatory Pastéis de Nata, (it won’t do to refer to them just as Portuguese Tarts here!) which were absolutely gorgeous. Then we went to the shop which was amazing but unfortunately photography is banned. Not only tiles, some going back to the sixteenth century but all manner of other ceramic decorations and artefacts; totally wonderful, horrendously expensive but great to look at and a very nice owner too.
Here are some photos of and from the Barrio Alto.
We started off to make our way back down to the city centre and I wasn’t much looking forward to that as my knees really don’t like downhill when we saw we were at the top of the Elevador do Glòria, the funicular that goes down to exactly where we wanted and the carriage was at the top…….this was too good to miss. The Rough Guide says that everyone should ride this at least once, and so they should. It’s an amazing ride originally built in 1885 although now powered electrically it’s a rickety-rackety ride and wonderful; and saves your knees. The only negative was that the lady driver appeared to be possibly the most bad tempered and disobliging person in Lisbon if not the whole of Portugal.
From here we walked through the Chiado area prospecting possible places to eat in the evening; visited the hideous Igreja de São Domingos church (bad associations with the Inquisition/murdering Jews/earthquake) and walked on down a long shopping street
to the Praça do Comércio on the bank of the River Tagus where there is a fine equestrian statue.
The actual waterfront is rather unexciting at this point so we turned right and had a walk of about twenty minutes to the Time Out Market (Mercado da Ribeira) for lunch.
This is half of the old covered market which has basically been converted with different, mostly Portuguese, style food boothes around three sides and seating at long tables in the middle. The different outlets are all very good quality and the offering is wide and delicious. As an Englishman I, of course, have a problem about sitting down hugger-mugger next to someone to whom I have not been introduced! However I got over it and would thoroughly recommend it to everyone; it’s fun and the food was great. I would suggest getting there early as it gets very busy and finding seats can be a problem.
When we had finished lunch it had become very overcast and as we were a bit footsore we took the Metro back to the hotel and soon after it started to drizzle. This turned into heavy rain so we abandoned our plan to go out for dinner and booked a table in the hotel dining room which turned out to be much better than either of us expected.
It looks as if it will be raining tomorrow so we’ll revisit our plans and decide what to do in the morning.