As they say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but no matter how nice the Holiday Inn Lisbon was there was no way that we were going to pay €10 each for a chain hotel breakfast with rubbish coffee. Just around the corner in Rua de Dona Filipa de Vilhena we discovered the delightful Pasteleria Filipa de Vilhena.
The lovely ladies who run this little cafe don’t speak much English, but through a combination of mime, pointing and Spanish (Well I guess it is the country next door) we managed a selection of pastries, coffee and juice on both of our full days of exploring Lisbon, for an average of about €17 for all four of us. I particularly liked the one which sandwiched a layer of compressed bacon, egg and cheese in sweet pastry that tasted a bit like a French croissant and the coffee was excellent.
For our final full day in the city we had decided to do some exploring by tram so we walked down to Alameda Station to catch the Metro to Martim Moniz where we could pick up the no 28 tram, which would take us up to the Cathedral. Now I’m a bit of a sucker for Art Deco and on the way to the station I could not resist snapping this rather nice window belonging to the Ministry of Statistics.
Although we had already recovered the €39 cost of our Lisbon Cards over days one andtwo we still had a whole 24 hours freedom to ride Lisbon’s public transport network as we waited for the tram to turn the corner.
With the scream of metal wheels on metal rails we were soon off careering through the city’s winding streets, avoiding oncoming traffic, pedestrians, parked cars and even the sides of buildings by what seemed a matter of millimetres.
We got off by the castle to enjoy the view and a beer.
Lisbon’s Se Cathedral was initially built after Dom Alfonso Henriques liberated the city from the Moors back in 1147. Built in the Romanesque style it has been reconstructed a number of times following earthquakes.
I was struck by how plain and simple the dark interior of the cathedral was, after the opulence of the church at the Mosteiro dos Jeronmos in Belem that we had visited the day before. The cathedral’s first bishop was the English crusader Gilbert of Hastings.
Not far from the Cathedral is the Museo do Thetro Romano. This place is quite deceptive at first. the ground floor has a few artefacts, but you have to climb up a few flights of stairs, past the gallery and an open air terrace with a fantastic view before leaving the building and crossing the road to find the actual ruins of the 1st Century BC in another building.
Back on the trams to downtown we spotted this place, A Brasileira (Rua Garret 120).
Inside it looked even better
And the food was excellent. We chose a selection of pies and pasties from the counter and enjoyed them with some very good coffee. The chicken and olive pies were delicious as were the bachalhau.
Each of the food items cost about €1.50 so the four of us enjoyed a very filling lunch for a bargain €30.
From A Brasileira it was just a short walk to Lisbon’s main square with its fountains and monuments.
Known as Rossio its official name is Praca Dom Pedro IV and pride of place goes to a statue of the King at the top of a column, only there is some doubt over whether it is really him.
Rumour has it that Pedro is in fact the Mexican emperor Maximilian who was executed while his statue was en-route from France, so Lisbon’s city fathers were able to negotiate a special price to take the statue off the sculptor’s hands!