01.05.2016 - 01.07.2016 56 °F
Lisbon is an interesting city. The capital of Portugal, it has Moorish and Roman ruins, cathedrals and the streets are lined with the types of cafes you daydream about when imagining an escape to Europe. It is also a great place to spend a day if you need to fly from Casablanca to Panama City, since TAP (a Portuguese airline) flies direct to Central America. That is a very specific travel need, but who knows, maybe it will be helpful to someone else someday.
We stayed in the Lisboa Carmo hotel, which was in the Carmo district and ended up being a great central location to explore the city. It was near some tourist spots, had great views of the city from our room. It was also walking distance to almost every restaurant (which were all recommended and not picked because of their proximity to the hotel). It also right across the street from a beautiful Cathedral that is now a museum. For breakfast, we stopped at a cafe by the name of Cafe Benard (like the dog Saint Bernard but instead of Saint it is Cafe and drop the second r from Bernard... so not really like Saint Bernard at all...) and had a traditional breakfast custard tart and a queso e jarmo croissant (ham and cheese croissant - because almost every culture has independently verified that meat + cheese + bread = awesome).
Lisbon has a system of electric trams that navigate the windy, hilly streets and the Tram 28 is the perfect one for tourists, as it winds across and through the city stopping at the major tourist attractions. One tip is to stop by a local convenience store and try to buy a 24-hour pass for 6 euro, otherwise you will need to pay every time you get on the Tram 28 (which could be several times if you take multiple stops to explore). We made a couple stops, a few for photo ops, one at the medieval castle that looks down on Lisbon and another in what looked like an interesting part of the city with small shops and cafes. We also tried to recreate a classic photo from a trip we took to San Fran where Karly looks excited and I look like a spaz. Mission accomplished.
It was raining a lot, so towards the end of the afternoon we stopped in randomly selected bar/restaurant called A Maria Nao Deixa. As it turns out, they had just opened as a restaurant only a week or two prior. Being in a tourist area, they were trying out a new sampler menu for 25 euro, that included several courses of small bites of traditional food and wine pairings. The food was great, Karly really enjoyed the wine pairings. We were generally impressed with the wine in Portugal and wished we had had more time to explore some tastings and varietals while there. We also learned from our sampler dish (and host) that cod plays a prominent role in many traditional Portugeuse dishes, which is interesting because there is not much (if any) cod caught in Portugal.
Lastly, we had dinner accompanied by Fado music at O Faia on our last night in Lisbon. Fado is traditional Portugeuse type of music, almost like folk opera with one singer and while we don't speak Portugeuse, most songs seem to have an air of melancholy. It was a great experience, there were four individual Fado singers that performed, two men followed by two women. Most folks at the restaurant seemed to know the songs and were singing along. You should not leave Lisbon without at least watching some Fado youtubes.