After Alex and Clive left us we met up with a couple of Valeria’s friends, Rafael and Filipa. We spent a very pleasant Friday evening with them and they came and stayed on board overnight.
Saturday was spent with a trip into the shopping district of Baixa. We had lunch in the Praca do Comercio and then ‘hit the shops’. This time we were looking for things like a coffee maker and a Portugese mobile phone.
On Sunday Rafael and Filipa invited us for Brunch at the Palacete Chafariz d’el Rei, a very nice hotel tucked away in a pedestrian side street in Alfama not far from the Praca do Comercio. And I do mean tucked away at the bottom of an alley. The front door is very impressive and Rafael told us he literally stumbled across it one day and rang the bell to see what the place was! The inside was even finer, the Brunch was delicious and was followed by coffee on the terrace; very relaxing.
Alfama is one of the older districts and has a district character of its own. Many of the streets are little more than alleyways in places, are very steep and narrow and generally only navigable by Smartcars and tuk tuks. The tuk tuks are for tourists who don’t want the exercise and are a real nuisance blocking the streets annoying the residents and more energetic tourists alike.
The Castle of St George was more of a Keep, the original city was surrounded by a curtain wall down to the river. There was little inside the castle walls to explain what the various sections of the castle had been used for, although we did identify the ovens. The views were impressive and, with my long lens, I found we could just see Windependent in the marina.
Leaving the castle we got a cab to Belem and visited Filipa’s flat. It was unfortunately raining by then but that didn’t stop us walking down towards the river for a bite to eat and then a visit to the Pastelaria de Belem, the home to the original Pastel de Nata, a speciality custard tart. The Pastelaria claims to sell the best Pastel da Nata anywhere. This is a very subjective claim but the Pastel de Belem were delicious. It is a bit of a tourist trap with very long queues for a table but it was very pleasant.
At this point Rafael and Filipa left us, but we will be seeing them again in a month because they are planning to join us for the last leg of our journey to Faro.
Before we returned to Alcantara we took a stroll down to the Padrao dos Descobrimentos, a monument to the Portuguese seafarers who discovered most of Africa, the Far East and of course Brazil.
Lisbon is a beautiful city with many large and impressive squares and buildings but we had a guided tour of the ‘real’ Lisbon which was far better.