Lisbon from the river
During the spring and summer months it is possible to take a 2-hour river cruise that leaves from Comercio Square. From there it passes by Alfama towards Parque das Nacoes. It then returns to the center towards Belem (where you can get the same views of Belem Tower that the explorers had when they departed from there), and finally back to Comercio Square.
Parque das Nações
The area the Parque das Nações (Park of the Nations) is located in was renewed for the EXPO '98 and many say that the exposition's success depended on the urban remake and the environmental clean-up of the area, a former industrial area. I loved the fountains in the Parque as they were CRAZY, sprinkling water here and there :) And it was so hot that people took the chance to have a shower!
Rua das Portas de Santo Antão
Leading up from behind the National Theater D. Maria and Palácio da Independência is Rua das Portas de Santo Antão, a lively pedestrian-only street known, among other oddities, for the wide selection of options in what concerns seafood restaurants and beerhouses (cervejarias). Maybe the most famous one is Solmar (#106-108) with decorations from the middle 20th C. Most of the restaurants have outdoor seating and even if you are not a fan of seafood, look out for the eye-catching tanks filled with gigantic lobsters by the windows. Generally speaking, this street is rather touristy and, unfortunately, the waiters are sometimes a bit aggressive in their approach to tourists. The quality is good although the prices are not always the best as you pay the “tourist area tax” (you know what I mean, there’s no real tax).
Competing with “A Ginginha” from Largo S. Domingos, here we have the “Ginginha sem Rival” (cherry without rival) where the exquisite sour cherry liquor is served anytime
The street name (Gates of St Anthon) dates from the 15th C. when a gate in the former town wall stood here. In 1552 the later to become famous poet Luiz de Camões wrestling with some friends out in this street was arrested and sentenced to prison in the City Jail (on this same street) and from there forced to embark to India. Maybe this street led Camões with the predisposition to write the wonderful epic poem. The gates were removed in 1727 in order to enlarge the access to the Rossio area. At this time, the area was the location of the public slaughterhouse. The area was destroyed after the earthquake of 1755 and some interesting buildings were build on the late 19th C. and beginning of the 20th C.
By that time the place become a bohemian place for Lisbonners as many nightclubs were located here (Arcádia, Bristol club, Majestic, Monumental club and Palace club). None of them remains today but at the northern part of the street you still can spot some prostitution at night. But the area was and it is still known for its popular theaters - Politeama still presents musicals (“Revista” in Portuguese), Olympia- that later on the 80’s turn to one of the first adult cinemas in the city, and Condes that more recently become the “Hard Rock Café” in Lisbon. Across the Praça dos Restauradores another big theater –the Art Deco Éden- since 2001 become an apartment hotel and a bit up on the Avenida da Liberdade Tivoli Theater is still a big cinema in town. Another of the big constructions on the Portas de S. Antão street is the classical Coliseu dos Recreios, the Lisbon Coliseum, opened in 1890 as a circus, and today one of the largest concert venues on the city. Nevertheless, it houses also big conferences and political meetings and other events of the same kind.
Part of the Coliseu building is ascribed to the Geographical Society of Lisbon, a 130+ years old institution, which houses the Ethnological Museum with material from Africa, South America and Asia, and a magnificent library with 230000+ titles on display in a beautifully decorated room where classic music concerts are held.
One more remarkable building (although it looks so normal from the outside) stands at number 58 -the Casa do Alentejo-, a peculiar 17th C. palace worth visit. The place meant for the gathering and meeting of people with connections to the Alentejo (people usually born there, now living in Lisboa), a southern province in Portugal -Alentejo translates as “beyond the Tejo”. But the nice thing is that the building looks so normal from the outside, but in the inside it resembles an Arab palace, with an attractive Moorish courtyard, beautiful tiles (azulejos) and stucco work, where most the original decoration is preserved, even if just not in perfect condition. Besides the great atmosphere, the best thing is the restaurant (filled with tile decoration) which serves a great deal of food typical from the Alentejo region. Yes it’s one of my favorite places to make vtmeetings in the city.
Along with Casa do Alentejo, there were a few other professional associations (like the Athenaeum) in this street which provided physical, sporting and cultural activities to their associates and schools for their children.
All the way at the end of the street, at Rua de São José, you reach the bottom of the Elevador da Lavra, the world's first ever funicular, with a slope of 23º linking the Rua de São José with the Travessa do Forno do Torel and its garden / viewpoint (Miradouro) off the beaten tourist path. It opened on 19 April 1884 and carried 3000 people, free of charge, on that day alone! Originally water-powered, it was converted to electricity in 1915.
The entire area is served with different city buses and the closest metro stations are “Rossio” (green line) and Restauradores (blue line).
Portuguese love to kiss. When I lived in the US I almost got myself into trouble because when I got introduced to girls I would give them two kisses, even with their boyfriends there.
That's the way we do it in Portugal. Very few hand shakes between opposite sex people.
The tipical Portuguese kiss goes like this: you turn your head to the left and kiss the other people's right cheek then you turn your head to the right and kiss the left cheek.
Simple! Now go out there and do some kissing!
If you go in January, leave room in your suitcase when you pack. There were some great deals on clothes and shoes and almost every store was having a sale. Winter in Lisbon can be rainy and sometimes chilly so be sure to pack a warm jacket and an umbrella. Good walking shoes are a must as most of the streets and sidewalks are cobblestones and tiles. If you don't speak portugese, take a dictionary with you. I learned pretty quickly that even though the language looks similar to spanish, it is pronounced quite differently. That said, knowing spanish can at least help with identifying written words and enable you to pick up on the general meaning.