A daily dose of café and pastel de nata. Coffee in Lisbon is seemingly either this fluffy chocoloatey sundae-looking affair or a small, strong espresso. The best custard tart was of course from the famous Pastéis de Belém – eaten on the street from its paper bag, slightly warm.
Portoguese tapas at Petiscaria Ideal: aubergine bruschetta, mushroom and truffle scrambled eggs and fried sweet potatoes. Yum, yum. Add a charming, friendly waiter and a buzzy atmosphere (the place filled right up after I took the photo above) and this was a lovely birthday meal.
Drinks that came with a free bowl of popcorn(!) at Mahjong bar in Bairro Alto. Check out the cabbage shaped light shades – great mojito, too.
Crazy bar called Pavilhão Chinês near our hotel, stuffed full of the owner’s collections of — well, everything really — and a drinks list the size of a small novel. It felt like how I’d imagine a plush gentleman’s club with its leather chairs, military memorabilia and red-waistcoated waiters.
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I’ve never particularly been one for collecting things in the past. Not to say I wasn’t a hoarder: I’d tend to buy pretty things indiscriminately, fall out of love with them over time, then have a mass purge of accumulated stuff in a fit of spring cleaning. But I’m learning how a carefully edited and curated collection of similar items can be a joy to find and display at home.
My first collection combines my primary loves of cats and ephemera – I’ve started keeping a beady eye out for old postcards, ads and postage stamps with kitties on for my ever-expanding wall of joy.
I picked up these new additions at the Sunday collectors’ market at Mercado da Ribeira in Lisbon. I wasn’t expecting much of that market, down at Cais do Sodre on the riverbanks, but it had a few star stalls of bargainous stamps as well as coins, postcards and some other bits and pieces. (It’s also next door to a lovely deli and coffee shop.) All those stamps cost me 3 euros and they will look great framed up on my wall.
My other new things is ceramic owls. I just bought these guys from Etsy sellers eeksten and BrightWallVintage, aren’t they sweet? Etsy is a great place to go looking for collectibles, especially when you can pick up an ‘instant collection’ to get you started like the lot of wall-hung owls above. The black fella was handcrafted in Mexico, I couldn’t resist his sweet little face.
Do you collect anything? Where do you go looking and how do you display it in your home?
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I’m back from a lovely birthday weekend in Lisbon. The weather was kind and we did an awful lot of wandering up and down the town’s hilly cobbled streets. We stayed at the Hotel da Estrela. Opened only last October, it’s housed in a historic palace in a pretty area just west of the city centre. Next door is a tourism college which clearly inspired the hotel’s schoolhouse decor, and the hotel even has the students in to get practical experience.
The schoolhouse decor carried on in the room, which had fun blackboard carpets, writing slates, and a salvaged desktop and classroom posters on the walls. Both the bed and the bathroom were huge and super-luxe, and the best part was a little gift of flowers and ginjinha (local cherry liqueur) on my birthday.
The dining room downstairs is beautifully decorated with a mix of vintage school chairs mixed with Eameses and other classroom paraphernalia artfully arranged. Unfortunately there was nothing veggie on offer so we couldn’t try it out, but the menu did look nice and they have an interesting payment structure where you only pay what you feel the dish was worth.
Just down the road from the hotel is the pretty Basília da Estrela, and it’s also near the Rato metro stop and the Jardim da Estrela. I’d definitely recommend a stay here if you’re in town – if you’re prepared to trek to the top of the hill on which it’s perched! Check their website for rates and more info.
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So who else is loving being back at work today?! At least I have something to look forward to – just booked a long weekend in Lisbon for my birthday next week. We forwent a real holiday last year due to moving house so it will be nice to get away to slightly warmer climes for a few days (although the current forecast isn’t so cheery..).
We’re staying at the Hotel Da Estrela which looks really nice – housed in a historical palace building and done out in a modern style with touches of retro schoolhouse.
I’ve made my customary map of places to visit – I’m particularly looking forward to the Saturday Flea Market at Campo de Santa Clara, of course. If you have any more tips of things to sightsee, eat in or shop at, please share!
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