November 22, 2013 by mariannat92
Last weekend I had my first visitors in Portugal: my lovely Mum and Dad, who came all the way from Suffolk to come and see me (really I think they were just here for a bit of warmth, little do they know mwahaha).
Their flight was due to get in to Lisbon at 10:30 so I decided to surprise them at the airport! So my day began very very early in time to shower and get ready for the train… and then discover that during the night our water had somehow been disconeected. Fab. (This has been sorted now but was incredibly annoying at the time, as you can imagine!) But never mind, I was soon on my way to the airport and managed to get there long before my parents got their luggage – so I managed a successful surprise greeting and we headed into the city!
One thing we discovered this weekend that I would really recommend is the left luggage storage at Rossio station – we left our bags there while waiting to check into our apartment on the first day and when we left it on the second day and it was so cheap! So yes, we left our suitcases there and went off to explore Chiado.
Mumma T at the Miradouro de Santa Catarina
This is probably the most famous miradouro (viewpoint) in Lisbon and has incredible views over the whole city. There is also a cafe there, which I had always ignored in fear of the prices, but we ate there on Friday and it was absolutely delicious and the portions totally justified the cost! Yummy yummy yummy. Also they had blankets! Perfect for the Lisbon wind.
After lunch we went down to the baixa to check into our apartment. I was so impressed with the apartment, it was so pretty and modern and in a brilliant location! It’s quite cheap in the winter too, I think my friends and I might look into staying there again in January.
After we checked in we went back to Chiado and… to… Santinis! The best ice cream EVER. Dad had an amazing pear flavour scoop, it was incredible. We also went for a wander up and down the main shopping streets in the area, supposedly to have a look at the shop windows but basically really just an excuse to oggle at the thousands of Sweden supporters packing out the city ready for the match that evening. I have to say, I don’t think I have ever seen quite so many viking horns in one place!
Then after that we decided to go exploring a bit further afield. Last year I spent a month studying on a Portuguese course in Lisbon and my parents hadn’t managed to get out to visit me, so we decided to go and have a look at São Sebastião, the area where I used to live.
This is Parque Eduardo VII, a huge park just down the hill from where my halls were last year. My friends and I used to come and read up here last summer, it was so good to go back up there and reminisce!
We then walked alllllllllll the way back down to Praça do Comércio by the river, all the way through Marques de Pombal, Avenida, Rossio and finally the Baixa! By the time we got there it was already dark – photo shoot time!
In the evening we went for a drink in Noobai Cafe back at the Miradouro de Santa Caterina, which has lovely views over the docks, and then at a very fancy pizzeria serving wine and international beers…
And THEN we went to my all time favourite Lisbon restaurant, Bom Jardim, KING of all piri piri restaurants and a source of extreme excitement for me whenever I am planning a trip down south! Seriously, this place makes by far the best piri piri chicken I have ever eaten and I always go when I am in Lisbon! A perfect end to a great day exploring.
The next day we checked out of the apartment and went for a delicious breakfast on the Praça do Comércio complete with this amazing view of the arch. Then we hopped on the tram to Belém ready for another full day of touristing.
Dad being a discoverer at the Monumento aos Descobrimentos
Mum having a rest from discovering things
The inside of the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, a huge cathedral built to celebrate the discoveries
The tomb of Luís de Camões, the father of Portuguese literature who wrote his epic, Os Lusíadas, about the great discoverer Vasco de Gama and his trip to India to discover some more things. Beginning to notice a theme at all? The Belém Marina was absolutely FULL of jellyfish. Nothing to do with discovering, for once, but still incredible!
O Torre de Belém, the last place the dicscoverers would have seen as they left Portugal on their quests to discover some more things
One of the balconies inside the Torre. I had already been to the tower once before but I’d never noticed this balcony – it’s so beautiful!
The final stop in Belém was, of course, the famous Cafeteria de Belém, home of pastéis de Belém, the BEST CAKES IN THE WORLD. Yes we had six between three of us, got a problem with that? We also bumped into the amazing Tash (another British Erasmus student at Coimbra) and her equally awesome boyfriend Josh, which was pretty cool considering that we then went to Coimbra, a much smaller city where Tash actually lives, and didn’t see them once. Pastéis de Belém: bringing people together across the nation.
After that we got the bus back into the city centre to catch a train up to Coimbra that evening.
And with that, I will sign off and continue the tale of our weekend in another post on Monday! Tchau people x