#thegetawayfkaCOMMIT #Lisbon

Lisbon, Portugal

After brunch and a browse around the Time Out Market (mostly a food/drink market with a few boutique shops), we took a cab to the Tower of Belém, which, instead of “bell-em,” is pronounced “buh-lime.”

I kept forgetting that I had a mini Polaroid camera (actually, it’s a Fujifilm Instax) and made sure to take a group photo here. As the photo taker was carefully handing me back my camera with the film sticking out, my finger accidentally hit the button and took a second photo. A minute of time revealed a double chin, after which HyeMi suggested that when it finished developing, a third one may appear.

Christina, me, Jenn and HyeMi with Portugal’s Golden Gate Bridge, officially known as Ponte 25 de Abril. The name commemorates the Carnation Revolution in 1974 and the day that the dictatorship, Estado Novo, was overthrown without the usage of violence. During the celebration, soldiers placed carnations in the barrels of their guns.

We then came across the simplest business idea, “wine with a view” – a compact stand dispensing wine, with foldable chairs and blankets situated by the river. Very little overhead involved.

The elaborate Jerónimos Monastery (or Mosteiro dos Jerónimos) and the fountain in Praça do Império in front of it. I didn’t get to check it out this time so, I’ll just have to come back again sometime soon…

Not too far from the monastery is the bakery, Pastéis de Belém, selling the pastel de Belém or pastel de nata (plural: pastéis de nata), an egg custard whose recipe came from the monastery itself. The Liberal Revolution of 1820 resulted in the shutting down of convents and monasteries and, as a result, the monks of this particular monastery sold the pastry at a nearby sugar refinery for money and survival. The same recipe is said to be used today and it’s so worth the wait. The lines can be long but they move pretty quickly and efficiently. You pay, they bag the already boxed treats, you bite into the extremely flaky and warm center treat, and you say “OMG,” all in that assembly line-esque manner. (That fish plate was in our lodging.)

Travel tip: We bought several packages (6 to a box) the day before we were flying out. Two of us put it in the fridge and 2 of us left it in a cool room temperature overnight. The pastries traveled well and after several days in the fridge at home and a slow heating in the oven, they still were fresh and crispy.


For dinner, we hit up a seafood restaurant that João had recommended – Cervejaria Ramiro. I knew this was the place to go to when the cab driver said “Good! Good!” with a thumbs up after I had told him where we were going. Even the cab driver for the ride back asked, “Did you girls just come from Ramiro? Very good, isn’t it?”

Jenn: “So, what do you recommend? What do most people order?”
Waiter: “Shrimp in garlic sauce, clams, tiger prawns, scarlet shrimp, rock lobster.”
Jenn: “Um, so we’ll take all of that.”
Waiter: “How many tiger prawns and scarlet shrimp?”
Us: “Um, 4 each? Is that enough food.”
Waiter: “Woooo yes…”

We should’ve known to cut it down when he made a face.

Waiter: “To drink?”
Us: “We’ll have the Sagres beer.”
Waiter: “Pidyo?? Pidyo??”
Us: “Uhhh…yes, pitcher?”
Waiter (smiles): “Pidyo!”

Me: “Uh, guys, I don’t think he said ‘pitcher.’ I remembered that ‘pidyo’ in Chinese meant ‘beer.’ He thinks we’re Chinese.”

It didn’t help that the table next to us had English-speaking Chinese (possibly Americans) who egged him on and excitedly shouted “PIDYO!!!” The waiter then came back to show us the rock lobster (pictured above) after fighting it out of the nearby tank.

Us: “Ooooo good! good!”

When we later got the bill, we saw that the rock lobster had cost us EUR 160. It didn’t occur to us that he came to show us the rock lobster not so that we could ogle at it, but to make sure we were okay with the size of it. Oops.

Travel tip: Skip the tiger prawns, but order everything else. Even the rock lobster. Also, try to make reservations. We made a 7pm reservation (which is considered early), and there was already a line of people who hadn’t made one. There were still empty tables inside but most seemed reserved.

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