This was the night that jet lag caught up with me, and I did myself no favors by trying to catch up on some work after getting back from dinner. I crawled into bed around 2, then had no luck at all getting to sleep, so I got up again at 3 to get some more work done. I finally slept from 6 am until about 10:30. I sent Dan out to explore without me while I slept for a couple more hours. When I finally got up and showered, I checked off one of my unfortunate travel rituals: flooding the bathroom while taking my shower. I have done this more times than I care to admit. Not the most auspicious beginning for the day.
Dan came back with some pastries for us to share, one with apple filling, and one with almonds and custard, and we puttered around for a bit before finally rolling out of the hotel at about 3:30. We stopped (again) at Casa Brasileira for a coffee and a shared sandwich.
Thus fortified, we headed to the Alfama again to wander around, stopping along the way to window shop in a few jewelry stores in the Baixa district. Dan showed me a lovely filigree butterfly pin with enamel accents that he had spotted, but unfortunately the shop was closed. We popped into the Igreja Sao Nicolau, a very beautiful church with a fantastic pipe organ. From there we went on into the Alfama, and ducked into another church with another fabulous pipe organ. Then just up the hill, we saw the Sé, Lisbon’s largest cathedral, which impressive – very large and very gothic.
We didn’t go into the Sé, but opted instead to meander through the neighborhood we had been in the previous evening. There were lots of locals about, and they were not hostile at all but also not really friendly. Our impression was that folks who were not working in the tourist economy just operated in their own separate ecosystem. The weather was much cooler this afternoon, and we had a good time retracing our steps from yesterday up to the Portas do Sol. Lots of tiles, doors and architectural nooks and crannies to appreciate and photograph. We stopped for drinks at around 6pm at a touristy place with a nice patio. Our waitress was initially brusque, but she warmed up after Dan told her his joke about the man being the head of the house, but the woman being the neck.* We sipped another nice white sangria and enjoyed the view over the water.
As we walked back down the hill, we decided to try Cruzes Credo Cafe, which we had spotted earlier near the Sé. This was a great choice; the servers were really friendly, and the food was delicious. We shared several small dishes: sautéed shrimp with tomatoes, roasted potato slices with spicy red sauce, a goat cheese and asparagus toastie, a beautiful caprese salad with black and white sesame seeds and za’atar on top. We were very tempted by the dessert offerings – goat cheesecake, roasted pineapple with honey anyone? – but were simply too stuffed.
There was more window shopping fun to be had as we wandered back down toward the Baixa and back to our hotel. We noticed some amazing handmade tiles on the outside of a small shop, and went inside to take a closer look. Ten minutes later, we nearly spent a thousand dollars on tiles for our hypothetical kitchen remodel, but cooler heads managed to prevail. The other storefronts nearby were also full of eye candy, including cute sheep of all sizes made out of wool roving, and giant stuffed fabric sardines. My head was filled with visions of tiled backsplashes, and anticipation for our excursion to Evora the next day.
*“The neck turns the head this way, it turns the head that way…”