Whenever we’re in self-catered accommodation in any city in the world, the first thing we do is suss out the local supermarket. The Mini Preco Express was easy to find and serves us well for basics like milk, yogurt, cereal, tea etc. Also very handy are the produce and butcher shops next door. Compared to North America, produce (and food in general) is quite cheap.
We got all these oranges and clementines for just two euros. And they are wonderfully sweet and juicy. I presume they are locally grown as we stumbled upon some orange trees in one of the cross streets. Lisbon’s hilly streets essentially run on a grid system with twists and turns giving way to lots and lots of steps. Happening on spheres of bright orange fruit contrasted against the drabness of winter was a pleasant surprise. And it had to be the day I didn’t have my camera with me! De Nada, as the locals say, it’s close enough for me to go take a snap tomorrow.
We left sourcing the big supermarket chain, Pingo, for day two. I cannot praise the Portuguese people enough, especially the young ones who converse in English quite easily (as many learn it in school) for being friendly and helpful. Buying groceries and getting about has been a breeze.
On our first day here in the neighbourhood of Bairro Alto, we hardly noticed this small inconspicuous cafe a few metres from our doorstep. This has since become my local pit stop to fill up before we hit the road, or should I say, figure out the Lisbon labyrinthe. How can you go wrong with a cup of Café Americano for 70 cents. I must say, no matter where you go, the Portuguese know their coffee. I’ve yet to experience a crappy cup. Their pastel de nata ain’t bad either. According to the locals, you haven’t tasted the real thing till you’ve visited Belém, home of the pastel de Belém.
The Pingo supermarket is a good 20 minute walk from our apartment but it doesn’t feel that far because there is so much to see along the way.
Laundry hanging from clothes lines suspended from balconies is a common sight. Drying clothing during the rainy, winter season can be tricky. Lucky for us, our apartment has a washer and dryer, so you won’t see my undies dangling from my balcony any time soon!
Our walk along tiled mosaics and cobbled stones takes us to Praça Camões – an important landmark for our bearings. Taking pride of place in the square is the grand statue of Portugal’s illustrious 16th century poet, Luis Camões. Praça Camões serves as the transition zone between Bairro Alto and Chiado, and is also the location of Café A Brasileira where 1920’s and 30’s intellectuals and poets used to hang out. Holding court outside is the bronze statue of another famous poet, Fernando Pessoa – a popular photo op spot. I will take a snap of him when I next pass by.
We dropped into the Armazens do Chiado Shopping Centre. It’s fancy facade belied it’s hum drum interior atmosphere. It had familiar global brand shops like Mango, The Body Shop, Starbucks, kitsch “Made in China” shops and a not too bad food court on the second floor. I was pleased to find the Au Natura store to purchase a fragrant candle for the apartment.
Tomorrow we’ll go on an adventure on the number 28 tram – popular with tourists.