Mareni’s Lisbon travels continued – please enjoy.
We admire the first painting hung outside on the wall of a building of “Art in the Street — “Coming Out” in the Rua das Taipas. (The Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga exhibitsuntil the end of the year very high quality reproduction of 31 masterpieces from its collections, in the Area of the Chiado, Bairro Alto and Principe Real http://www.museudearteantiga.pt/english)
Just a few feet away is the Miradouro de S. Pedro de Alcântara, a belvedere on a garden where you have a very nice view over the city. From here there are two options: you can go further up towards the Rua Pedro V (which we did the next day) or walk down to the Chiado district Rua S. Pedro de Alcântara. We come to a little Square with the Igreja de S. Roque. Then we walk down a steep street, Rua da Misericórdia and entered a few shops in search of some ceramics in Vista Alegre (Portuguese porcelain). On the Largo do Chiado, my friend, Rita found a cute cheese plate with little mice.
Now we have arrived at a very chic part of town, the Chiado. We have a coffee in A Brasileira, a beautiful café with high ceilings and wood works on the walls. Right in front, in the esplanade there is a statue of Fernando Pessoa, a renowned Portuguese poet of the late 19th, early 20th century having a cup of coffee and of course we take a photo seated next to him. Another option is to go up to the beautiful terrace on the sixth floor of a hotel in the Luís de Camões Square http://www.bairroaltohotel.com/en/terrace-bairro-alto-lisbon.
From Chiado going up the Travessa do Carmo we come to a beautiful square, the Largo do Carmo with the Igreja do Carmo — where the Arqueological Museum of Lisbon is also located. The Igreja do Carmo is partly in ruins as a result of the 1755 earthquake that destroyed most of Lisbon and it has been left in its broken state on purpose as a reminder of that tragedy. It is a very quiet little corner with beautiful trees and the light around midday shining through the leafy canopies is magical.
We stroll around in this pleasant neighbourhood, Bairro Alto then decide to walk down to the River and have lunch in the Mercado da Ribeira. This market now has a section with many different food stalls, it’s self-service and you can sit anywhere you like. We opted to enjoy the sunshine and sit just on the outside of the market in Marisqueira Azul where we had a view of a park with beautiful big trees. Here we are being served, it is very relaxing and we have delicious food too — Octopus Salad, Fried Puntillitas of Mini Squid, Fried Soft shell crab (never had this one before!) and a bottle of very nice cool Rosé Vinha Grande de la Casa Ferreirinha from the Douro. In the hall of the market we have a mini ice cream at Santini’s that was also recommended to us. Very pleasant!
Not far from there is the train station Cais Sodré where we take a train to Belém with the beautiful Mosteiro dos Jerónimos. It has a beautiful façade and spectacular cloisters on two floors in the Manuelino style. We also admire the tomb of Vasco de Gama and the poet Luís de Camões. I learn about the sign of the Navigators (the sphere with the horizontal lines around it together with a diagonal line — it’s called an armillary sphere). This can be seen everywhere in this monastery (e.g. as headstone in the vaults) which also served to pray for the navigators.
But first we walk through the Coach Museum, which is very pleasant and apparently very popular. There are also charming mini coaches that were used for children and pulled by ponies or sheep. It is housed in a very modern building near the railway station.
The last instalment of Mareni’s travels will be posted next week.