April 29, 2012 § 2 Comments
One of Lisbon’s hallmarks are the “eléctricos,” the yellow trams that have helped residents negotiate the city’s narrow streets and steep hills since 1901. A very popular way to see Lisbon is to board tram number 28.
You can make Campo de Ourique your first stop and have a wonderful lunch at Tasca da Esquina or Cervejaria da Esquina. Save some room for dessert because, around the corner, you can eat a slice of life-changing chocolate cake. Don’t drink coffee yet; the tram takes you to Chiado where you can have an espresso at Brasileira, one of poet Fernando Pessoa’s favorite cafés.
Next, the 28 goes downtown. You can stroll in Rossio and sit in the esplanade of Café Nicola, enjoying the views and drinking another cup of coffee. Then, walk to Terreiro do Paço through Rua do Ouro (goldsmith street) or Rua da Prata (silversmith street). In Terreiro do Paço you can contemplate the Tagus river and have yet another coffee at Martinho da Arcada, another Fernando Pessoa favorite. Now that you are fully caffeinated, board the 28 to go uphill to Alfama, the only neighborhood that survived the 1755 earthquake. You can walk to St. Jorge’s castle and enjoy the sunset views. Then, back to Chiado, where you can have a great dinner at Cantinho do Avilez, followed by some ice cream at Santini. As the day ends, you’ll realize that the tram 28 is much more fun than the Orient Express.
April 16, 2012 § 1 Comment
Nicola is one of the most famous cafés in Lisbon. It first opened its doors in the late 18th century, when an Italian immigrant opened a “botequim” (the old word for café) in Rossio. This establishment quickly became popular in literary and political circles. Here, you could listen to the latest government gossip, conspire against the prince regent, or hear Bocage, a bohemian poet, improvise brilliant verses. All this fun came to an end with the Napoleonic invasions—French officers adopted the Nicola as their gathering spot. So, when the French retreated in 1808, Nicola threw a grand independence party. In 1929, Nicola moved to its current location, featuring the art deco style that you can see today.
At Nicola you can do it all, improvise poetry, start an insurrection, celebrate independence, and have a great cup of coffee.