36 Hours in Lisbon: Belem, Baixa and Chiado
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Afternoon Trip: Belem
After endless walks from Cais do Sodre metro station looking for lunch, being hungry and having sore legs, finally, we find a small restaurant in the street of Rua da Esperanca, O Caldo Verde. Caldo Verde is a famous Portuguese kale soup so perhaps the soup is their specialty, but it is too warm to eat soup thus we order its steak menu. The restaurant ranks 460 something in Tripadvisor, but don’t let the online ranking system fools you, the food is brilliant with reasonable price. The steak is so juicy served with garlic olive oil and homemade french fries.
Filled with good lunch, we continue our journey to the direction of Tram 15 stop. We pass National Museum de Arte Antiga and Le Chat lounge with a beautiful view of the harbor and 25 de Abril bridge. The lounge is open at night, and I bet the night view must be amazing.
Down from the hill, we take tram 15 reaching Belem area. We stop in the neighborhood of Belem Tower. The neighborhood has plenty of tourist attractions and enough to spend a whole day in this area, but unfortunately, we have an only half day. Then among those many, we visit the UNESCO World Heritage Belem Tower and Jerónimos Monastery; Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument by Portuguese architect Cottinelli Telmo and sculptor Leopoldo de Almeida to celebrate the Portuguese Age of Discovery during the 15th and 16th centuries); and Berardo Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art.
Evening Activity: Dine and Drink!
We are heading to Calçada do Duque, it is a hilly street with uphill stairs, lined with tens of restaurants. The awesome thing is, we can see the Castle of São Jorge from the street. Fantastic night view! Some restaurants also serve their food outside so their guests can enjoy the night view of the Castle. We choose to eat at Buenas-Aires Restaurant. The menu is a mix of Argentinian and Portuguese dishes with Portuguese and Argentinian wines on their wine list. We take a bottle of Argentinian Malbec wine since we know for its taste and it is a perfect match for delicious Argentinian steak and Portuguese cheese salad. Although we enjoy the food and wine in the restaurant, however, the waiter is not friendly, I am not sure if I would like to visit the restaurant again – despite its delicious food and wine.
Anyway, after the dining, we stroll along the city, just to enjoy Lisbon city center night activities. Lisbon at night is pleasant, quite a number of people is queuing at D. Maria II National Theater and also in front of Hard Rock Cafe. The street is vibrant and we feel in sudden to sit in one of the cafes in the area of Figueira Square. One thing that bit annoying though, we keep stopping by some people offering us drugs. They are not rude though but it’s a bit weird to offer such thing openly (and also loud!).
Second day: Baixa and Chiado
After breakfast at .the hotel, we can still feel the sore of our legs after yesterday’s activity but it doesn’t stop us to plan another long walk. This time we return to the city center area to visit Carmo de Convento and Elevador de Santa Justa. It appears the 24 hour Viva Viagem Card can be used in the elevator as well. After viewing Lisbon from the elevator, we walk along the Avenida la Liberdade (street) which on its sides has nice small monuments of famous people around the world from Simon Bolivar to Frédéric Chopin. The street ends at the roundabout Praca Marques de Pombal and the largest central park in Lisbon, Parque Eduardo VII.
We are lucky on the second day, the weather is nice, blue sky with sunshine. It feels like 18 degrees, while it is in February! Overall, I enjoy the 36 hours in Lisbon, and it ends up nicely with a long walk through Lisbon’s alluring parks and monuments with a sunny day.