After a somewhat nerve-wracking four-hour drive up to Lisbon from Pedralva in the Algarve (the last straw was the engine warning light going on about an hour and a half outside the city and the car suddenly loosing energy but fortunately regaining) we rendezvoused at the Lisbon airport with our old friends Francine and Russ who flew in from London.
We bought a three-day transportation pass for 39 euro each and rode the metro to Rossi station where we hauled our suitcases up a very steep and long hill (which we later learned is where the wonderful old funicular goes up and down) to the grand old pile that is the Independente Suites and Terraces. It’s a three-story old mansion with lots of faded Old World charm and funky art every where. We rode a strange very small elevator up to our second floor room (rather than walk with our bags) and into a charming high ceiling-ed room with dramatic art, big long windows that open like French doors and night lamps made out of old plumbing pipes.
We wandered around our neighborhood which is across the street from a tile-stoned park with an overlook where we can see across the city to the Castle and river in the distance. We walked to an amazing old mansion that has been turned into small shops showcasing local designers called Embaixada and a slightly less grand mansion near by called Entre Tanto. Tonight we took the funicular down the hill and walked past the gorgeous art nouveau theater to Cercejaria Ramaro, a famous seafood restaurant that already had a line out the door. We squeezed,our way in and our 7:30 reservation was eventually honored. The seafood was phenomenal. Shrimp, lobster, clams, even goose barnacles, all incredibly fresh and flavorful, simply prepared because there was no need to do much. The place was packed, with room after room of loud happy people cracking crustaceans. I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time.