We arrived back in Lisbon at around 9pm yesterday. Compared to the really cold weather and showers in Madrid, Lisbon was like a ray of sunshine. We booked a car with driver from http://www.mydaytrip.com for the drive from Seville. Florian, our driver arrived promptly at our hotel before 5pm for the 4 hour drive to Lisbon with a brief stopover at Alfalfa.
It was good to check-in at Hotel Rossio Inn knowing that we were parking our bags much longer this time and wouldn’t need to wake-up early for another bus ride.
Today was my last “free” day as the conference would start tomorrow. We took the Metro from Rossio to Martin Moiniz which was the boarding station for Tram 28 which heads to hilly Alfama. There was already a line at the tram station just a few meters from the metro which meant we were going to have to stand. It was drizzling by the time we got off the crowded tram at Graca. I made a mistake with the Google maps direction and we ended up walking in circles trying to get to Igrecia Sao Vicente. Finally, we found it. It’s not as ornate as San Roque but beautiful nevertheless.
We scrounged for some souvenirs at the nearby street market (the reason why I scheduled Alfama today, a Tuesday, which is when the market opens). There were lots of unique items for sale apart from the many stalls selling pre-loved items. It wasn’t very crowded and the vendors weren’t pushy.
I bought a couple of magnets at 1.50€ each and a soft eyeglass case made of cork (8€) for which Portugal is famous for. I never realized how versatile and beautiful cork could be. There were shoes, bags, and other fashion items made of cork. I only thought it was good only for boards and wine stoppers.
Beside the market was the massive Panteon Nacional, a multi-domed church that houses the remains of some of Portugal’s most illustrious names.
At one of the side rooms called sala were the tombs of renownes Portuguese artists such as famous fado singer, Amalia Rodrigues.
From the pantheon, it was a 10-minute downhill walk on cobbled streets to the wonderful Museo de Fado. I thoroughly enjoyed this museum as it was very informative and you could listen to fado recordings and even watch a few video clips. It’s not a big museum but it is very well-organized.
The attached shop has several good items for sale including music scores should you want to sing some fado. I was able to score an English-language book on fado and a small replica of the Portuguese guitar. Both would come handy when I teach European music in my Global Music course.
We walked uphill again to Miradour Sta. Lucia. There were many steep stairs but it was an enjoyable walk as there were many quaint alleys and streets.
The view from the miradour was fantastic.
We decided to just head to the Lisbon Cathedral on another day as it was drizzling and there were so many people waiting for Tram 28E. We jumped aboard the less crowded Tram 12 which stopped at Praca Figueroa.
Alfama is a lovely neighborhood that makes for a nice day of walking. Especially interesting are the many apartments with small balconies.