Exploring Lisbon

A family having fun along the Arte Galeria where everyone is able to express their artistry and thoughts

Because of the increase in COVID cases along with travel restrictions and curfew hours mandated in Portugal, I have not been traveling outside of the Lisbon municipality since mid-November.

You can find out about the regulations put into place at the US Embassy in Portugal website.

Fortunately, because I live in Lisbon there is plenty to discover in this beautiful city.

0bf04cf8-18f8-4354-9d49-4f24d9c79b66_1_201_aThe last of Fall at the Jardim do Principe Real

To explore Lisbon you need a good pair of walking shoes that have a grip to manage the smooth cobblestone sidewalks that get slick in the rain.

I finally found a pair made in Portugal exactly to my specifications that are not tennis shoes and actually have a sense of style about them. The brand is Softinos and I found mine in a store on Liberdade that sells only shoes made in Portugal called overcube.

They have a unique pattern on the sole of the shoe that works quite well when walking on any uneven and slippery surface.

Being able to walk in confidence now, I was able to trek across Lisbon, down its alleyways and through its side streets to find sweet architectural gems.

A building entrance along a side street

Hotel Britannia on a side street off of Liberdade

A ceiling in a pharmacy in the Baixa

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A door at the Ministry of Justice

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A building in the Chiado

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A jewelry store in the Baixa

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A three dimensional leaded glass window above a Lisbon Shop (Loja Lisboa)

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An entrance to a small street with restaurants and little shops.

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A glance up a street to find a confectionary of colors.

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The Cervejaria Trindade restaurant in the Chiado

In any building,  shop or restaurant where I poked my head in to look around, people were very gracious and if they weren’t busy, allowed me to look around and some even gave me the history of their building or space.

For those who live in the Lisbon District, I highly recommend this amazing hardware store Costa & Costa. That is assuming you are into renovating, building or designing.

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When I came across this shop, I was amazed at the storefront itself with all kinds of fixtures and decorative metal pieces in the windows. I knew I was stepping into designer heaven.

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The first floor of Costa & Costa

Once inside, you see that floors have been added to hold more merchandise.

On the first floor are all of the hand tools one can imagine, dozens of different types of screwdrivers, hammers and other tools you may not have known of before.

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You go up metal stairs that have been added to access the floors and every floor, although tiny, holds everything you can imagine from gardening boots to fireplace accessories.

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A highly recommended walk-through in the center of Lisbon.

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In the same area and facing Rossio Square is a shop I pass by often, Confeitaria Nacional. I always resist stopping in for a pastry and a cafe but this holiday season I will treat myself to one of the Bolo Rei cakes they make. 

As in many countries, and with other cultures, a cake made up of dried fruit and nuts during winter season festivals is very popular and Portugal has its own special celebratory cake, the Bolo Rei (King Cake).

The King Cake was first introduced at Confeitaria Nacional in Lisbon, the recipe brought from Toulouse, France. 

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Because the history of the Bolo Rei in Portugal began at this shop, this is where I will buy my cake and share it with friends.

Other confectionaries I have seen in their windows include this five layer wonder of chocolate goodness:

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And this display of sweet bites:

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Finally, for all of you who want to learn about the history of Portugal and its people, I highly recommend The Portuguese by Barry Hatton.

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It’s a good read and the author brings you into the history of Portugal along with providing the reader with a greater understanding of the people. Two of my friends who are Portuguese think highly of this book and say it accurately describes who they are.

I will leave you with my Christmas tree this year. In my little house I don’t have the right spot for a real one so I made one for my desk.

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-Dora Taylor

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