Today was a wonderful day!
I had read an article that suggested a number of must-see places here in Lisbon. Yesterday we went to that crazy bar and today I wanted to visit the Pasteis de Belem, a bakery that sells the traditional Portuguese custard tarts. Although these can be found all around the country, this particular place is supposed to make the best ones. They have a secret recipe that only three people know in its entirety and the exact ingredient list is in a safe with “100 keys,” as a woman told me today.
We got there at about 11 and there was a long line out the door and into the street. I noticed that there was a sign for Table Service and an arrow to go indoors. We found an empty table and enjoyed a snack of the delicious tarts. They are small pastries filled with a lemon/vanilla custard, and served warm, right out of the oven. I could have eaten 10 easily and understood right away why people queued up for these tarts.
President Silva’s house is not far away on the same street and it was amazing to see, with guards in uniform standing at attention in front and police directing traffic in that area. I think this was because he was there, at home today. There were demonstrations across the street but it was nothing like Washington D.C.: much smaller and generally calm. Portugal is a peaceful country and seems remarkably safe. This feeling of safety is noticeable right away (although there are pickpockets like any big city, of course).
Next we went to the Conserveira de Lisboa, a little shop that sells a variety of canned fish: salmon, octopus, tuna, mussels, sardines. They are canned in Lisbon, then labeled and wrapped in the shop. I enjoyed this unusual place and got some tuna, octopus, and mussels to (hopefully) bring home. (I read up on the customs restrictions just now and fish products seem ok to transport.)
We did some shopping and I got running shoes but no bathing suit. I still hope to swim while I am here but at least I can run now.
We went back to the seafood restaurant on the water for dinner tonight, mainly because we loved it for lunch yesterday. I had grilled squid. We met a super-nice young couple there who live in Lisbon. They made reservations for us for tomorrow night at one of their favorite traditional Portuguese restaurants that plays live fado – music of their culture. It sounds like fun.
We are also taking a tour of the opera house here tomorrow . It is hundreds of years old and still used during their opera season.
I am loving Lisbon!