Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon, Thursday, May 12

This trip has certainly been a huge reality check so far. Sandy has been miserable with back pain. Lisbon is definitely off the list for places to live, although I never wanted to live in a big city anyway. We made a lot more room in our schedule for less sights and more rest.

Today we slept very late and Sandy really wanted pizza for lunch so we had a light lunch in one of the little cafes in the train station. I had a pastry with bacon and cheese. The bacon was more like chopped cubes of ham at home. Perfect for a snack. 

Then we got on the Metro and went to the Gulbenkian Art Museum, a private art collection from a very rich man who came to Portugal and fell in love with it, so donated his vast collection to the country. We took a quick walk through a refreshing garden to get there.

The collection ranged from ancient Egyptian art to 20th century. We were disappointed that the modern art building was closed for renovation, but the museum with the ancient to 18th century art was fascinating. Of course, I took special interest in the textiles. The fine silk tapestry panels were amazing. The second photo is showing part of a glass collection with a window looking out to a courtyard behind it. Below that, self portraits of Rembrandt and Van Dyke.


I was determined to get to the high spot in Lisbon: the Castilo de Sao Jorge. I called an Uber and actually managed to get it to pick us up! The driver was from Pakistan and we had a great conversation about his move to Lisbon. He dropped us off as close as possible to the pedestrian only street leading to the castle.  Sandy needed to sit so we lucked upon Chapita a Mesa with gorgeous views over Lisbon. It was around 3 pm so it was almost empty.  I drank three glasses of Vinho verde, the young sparkling wine that Portugal is famous for. Sandy had a fresh minty lemonade which I don’t think has been beaten yet for taste, and he drinks lemonade or iced tea everywhere. We had some bread and olives to soak up my wine. I think that this was the first time I relaxed since we left Greensboro.


There was also a Theater of the Absurd (?) outside the entrance to the restaurant with a lot of young people practicing. One young woman did a beautiful handstand in front of us, but we were not allowed to take photos because they were minors.

The walk up to the Castle wasn’t destined to happen, but I had had enough wine that I wasn’t too concerned about it any more, ha! An Uber took us back to the apartment. We had a nap before going around the corner to Tapas 129 for one of the best meals I had in Portugal so far…a salad with a sesame seed crusted tuna steak and sliced mangos on top. Sandy had barbecued spare ribs, which were very tender and tasty…rivaled NC sweet barbecue sauce. (He hates this photo – I asked him to look up and he was goofing. I love it because the looks happy.) And hallelujah, they had stout!


One very good thing about Portugal during a pandemic was that most of the time we ate outside and it was pleasant.

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