48 Hours in Lisbon

Lisbon: 1-3 June, 2007 

In honour of self-proclaimed style meister Huy´s last year of being 20-something, seven ex-Melbournites and one Berliner flew into Lisbon (which I confused with Lebanon during initial planning) for a weekend of excessive calorie consumption, gleeful Euro-denominated shopping (for the nouveau Londerners) and plenty of UV-ray exposure.   

The Gang of Eight celebrating Huy´s birthday dinner at Michelin-star restaurant Eleven.
(left to right: Daniel, Ev, Joyce, Huy, Vanessa, An, Jen, Brendan)


Getting there and around

Through sheer luck both flights from London and Berlin arrived within five minutes of each other, enabling us to congregate at baggage claim Belt 5 for the sake of those who didn´t manage to pack their fluids into containers of no greater than 100ml capacity.  Getting from the airport to Lisbon´s city centre is a 20-minute drive by local beige-coloured taxi, or in our case, two black shiny Mercedes pre-ordered at the airport Tourist Information Counter.  

Chilling out after hiking the cobblestoned lanes of Alfama

Inner-city Lisbon is relatively pedestrian friendly.  The narrow, winding, cobblestoned streets are somewhat charming, and there are plenty of steep inclines to boost the heart rate.  However if the lack of street signage causes disorientation, or the intermittent entrapment of your high-heeled shoes in between the stones starts to frustrate, or if it´s simply not "cool" to be sweating, then the snail-paced trams provide scenic views of the city while getting you from A to B via C.

The one-carriage trams mannouver though Lisbon´s steep and narrow streets
like extremely slow roller coasters

Two trams lines, both numbered 28, travelling in different directions:
one to Belém and the other terminating at the food markets.

Where to stay

We wanted to be close to the "action", and the Grande Pensao Residencial Alcobia provided just that, with  the old town slash bar district of Bairro Alto a short walk away, three Zara stores in close vicinity, and an Asian grocer located opposite.  Being in the "not so nice end of Baixa" meant shoving our way through a bevy of working girls to get to our pension, but the guys didn´t seem too disturbed by the attention.      

Joyce peeks into Supermercados Chen

Tarts and beyond...

The gastronomic agenda for the weekend involved Portugese egg tart fever, roasted chicken carnage, Michelin-star dining, and lots of sodium chloride.  Even after 10 months of exposure to German grub, I found Portugese cuisine strikingly salty.  

Pastéis de Belém (famous egg tarts named after the district Belém)


Does Portugese roast chicken taste better than Nando´s (the Portugese fast food version)? 
The jury deliberates...

At Eleven: Amuse bouche, including truffle-filled choux pastries
stabbed with syringes of unidentifiable white foam

 My surprise pre-birthday cake featuring the Portugese national football team. Gush. Thanks guys!  

We breezed into Lux, part-owned by John Malkovich, just after 1am, and had the entire dancefloor to ourselves, enabling Jen to demonstrate her UK´s next top model catwalk strutt.  


We sipped on Mojitos and Vodka Red Bulls and at around 4am, gave up hope that the DJs would play a decent track.  While leaving, Jen shouts out to the line of locals waiting to get in:
"Don´t bother, the music´s crap!"


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