Saturday, 31 October 2015

A trip to Lisbon - a little bit of everything

I got back from Lisbon yesterday. I would say that the trip was very much like the weather - one minute sunshine, blue skies and 20 degrees C. The next, heavy skies and pouring rain. It was easy to see who was living in Lisbon - they were the ones walking around with an umbrella when the sun was shining, knowing that in a couple of minutes, it will rain.
Lisbon river walk |
The heavy skies were mostly was due to food. Eating is always important to me, but even more so on a holiday. And Lisbon is a city of bread and gluten. Everything is bread and gluten. Even when the waiter claims to understand my dilemma and makes a special dish for me, the fish is fried in bread and served with bread pudding. Hopeless. It wasn't until the last two days that I realised I should stick to the fancy hotels. They serve very good food, not more expensive than elsewhere and most of all - they are used to foreigners and their strange eating habits. They had gluten free bread, changed the dishes to suit me and even gave me free dessert to make up for the changes made!

I was also struck by the heavy traffic. Lisbon is a rather small capital, 500 000 inhabitants, but the traffic felt as intense as in Paris or London. A bus trip that took 45 minutes around lunchtime took 1,5 hours at seven in the evening!

The trip was planned so that I would be able to visit a flea or antique market. The one in Sunday was closed due to the rain (only figured that out when I was already there) but I had high hope of Feira de Ladra (translates to The Thieves' Market). I took off after a rather early breakfast. Not as early as when in Paris, where I've been there from when the vendors set up their stalls, but still. I had different  information about when the market started - at 6 or 7 or 9? so I opted for the latest. After a near-death experience with a bus going up and down the hills, and a short walk through some rather shady neighbourhoods (nothing new there, it's the same in Paris) I arrived. I understand why they call it the thieves market. I've never seen so many policemen at a market before - two or three in every corner, at least 50 in total? - and so much junk. Not flea market junk, but market junk. I didn't think there was a market for Cd's anymore - but here they had cassette tapes? Deodorants, sun glasses, cutlery I wouldn't touch, laptops... A rather scary space. There was a few stalls with actual old things, but in minority. The market is held twice a week; on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and perhaps Tuesday is the wrong day. It's not worth going, trust me.
Lisbon Feira de Ladra flea market |
I still bought a brooch...(pictured below). I also visited a couple of vintage stores, but they only had things from the 1970's and 1980's, and as you know, that really isn't my thing.

So yes, there was a bit of rain... Now on to the sunshine!

Walking along the river.
Lisbon Expo '98 walk along the river |
Amazing art nouveau- and art deco-buildings - and a shopping centre in an old moorish palace.
Lisbon Art Nouveau shop |
Lisbon Art Deco building |
Lisbon Embaixada moorish palace |
Stunning views.
Lisbon Parque Eduardo VII |
 A wonderful, wonderful hotel; Porto Bay Liberdade.
Lisbon Hotel Porto Bay Liberdade |
Some really good food (after all). And the coffee was always good!
Lisbon good food |
Lisbon coffee by the river |
And a bit of shopping...

One reason I chose Lisbon was actually the glove store Luvaria Ulisses. I know, a rather strange reason, but in my opinion, as good as any. And I can tell you, buying gloves there really was an experience. Short, but lovely. I stepped inside what must be the smallest glove store in the world and asked for black longer gloves.
Lisbon gloves Luvaria Ulisses |
Lisbon gloves Luvaria Ulisses |
I was asked to put the hand on the counter, and then he held my hand for a brief moment to decide my size. He picked out the right box with the right size, picked up one of those things that you sometimes see at a flea market and have no idea what to use them for - to open up the fingers, put talcum powder inside, asked me to put my elbow on the little pillow and then put the glove on my hand. And - pun very much intended - it fit like a glove. And cost a lot less than at home. AND was put in a very pretty bag. The black for me, the cognac brown for my sister and the brooch from the thieves.
Lisbon gloves Luvaria Ulisses |
Then there was shopping for fabric... The sun was shining! In the end, there was so much of it that it needs it's own post.


  1. One of my favorite place. Whether it's Lisbon or Stockholm tourism, architecture constitutes a crucial part of it. Two exclusive architectural styles discovered in the town are the detailed Manueline of the Belem District with derivation dating back to the sixteenth century, and Pombalie of downtown having its beginning in the eighteenth century.

  2. I had been to Lisbon last year. Eating and drinking in Lisbon is widely inexpensive, especially if you stick to the local beer and set menus. Lovely place!!

  3. Great piece of information! I am looking forward to plan a trip to Portugal & apply for a Tourist Portugal Visa from UK.


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