Lisbon For 91 Days

The Ponte 25 de Abril

You wake up groggy and semi-conscious, surprised to find yourself in a low-flying plane. Your arms are tied behind your back, but you manage to lift your head and look out the window. The villain appears and, pushing a knife against your neck, screams “Where are we? Right answer, you live!”

The Museu de Lisboa at the Pepper Palace

Occupying five separate sites spread across the city, the Museu de Lisboa is not the kind of museum where you’ll be able to see everything within a day. And you wouldn’t want to, if our experience at the museum’s primary collection in the Palácio Pimenta was any indication.

An Evening of Fado at Alfama’s TascaBeat

Largely unknown outside Portugal, the musical style of fado is a big deal in Lisbon, where it was born in the early 19th century. On a chilly Sunday night, we were introduced to the mournful music at the TascaBeat do Rosário, a tiny joint tucked away in one of Alfama’s many hidden corners.

Elevator to the High Life: Bica and Bairro Alto

The Ascensor da Bica is both the newest and the most popular of Lisbon’s three remaining funiculars. It connects the party zone of the Pink Street to the party zone of Bairro Alto, along the party street of Bica… the operative word seems to be “party”. Friday night seemed like a good time to take a ride.

The Museu Nacional dos Coches

Located in a riding hall adjacent to the Belém Palace, the National Coach Museum displays carriages from the days of the Portuguese royalty.

Lisbon’s Secret Coping Mechanism: Alcohol

Lisbon is known as a melancholy city, and this is especially true in winter. It rains all the time, apartments are cold and damp, the tram never works, and that wind! But Lisboans have figured out the best way to combat depression: by getting good and drunk.

The Teatro Nacional São Carlos: Lisbon’s Opera House

The Teatro Nacional São Carlos has been staging operas, ballets and concerts since it was built in 1793. It’s survived the centuries in remarkable shape, managing to evade the disasters which ravaged the rest of the city, and looks almost the same as it did on opening day.

The Chinese Pavilion (and Its Siblings)

One of the most distinctive bars we’ve seen in all our years of travel is Lisbon’s Pavilhão Chinês, or Chinese Pavilion. With its billiards tables and plush old sofas, along with the hundreds of antique toys encased in the walls, this instantly became one of our favorite places in the city. We visited it, as well as a couple other bars owned by the same proprietor.

The Money Museum

Considering the extent to which it rules our lives, how much do any of us really understand the concept of “money”? We spend the majority of our time in pursuit of it, and it can inspire us to deeds both brilliant and contemptible… but what is it? We’re not exactly bartering arrowheads for pelts, anymore. To help us get a better grasp on an increasingly abstract concept, we visited the Bank of Portugal’s fantastic Museu do Dinheiro, or Money Museum.

The Cemitério dos Prazeres

Found next to Campo de Ourique at the western terminus of the #28 tram line, the hillside Cemitério dos Prazeres (Cemetery of the Pleasures) just about lives up to its suggestive name. As far as corpse-parks go, this is about as pleasurable as it gets.

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