Lovely Lisbon

Previous is pleased to report a lovely, successful (and mostly sunny) buying trip to Lisbon this month. It’s very hilly and cobbledy, so we got lots of exercise, which is just as well, because we also had a lot of custard tarts. From our base in the Alfama old town we explored the fascinating sights, museums and wonderful views. Best loved were the Jeronimo Monastery and Belem Tower, where all the C15th explorers of the new world left from; it was a an exciting game of chicken to see if you could get from the riverbank to the tower on its little island without getting wet. The nuns gave the secret recipe for the famous ‘Pastel de Nata’ to the nearby pastry shop, so obviously it is obligatory to try while you’re there. Luckily we bought quite a few, because my first was stolen by a large seagull, who swooped down, grabbed it in its claws and took my specs off with it.

The Castle of St George is playground to masses of peacocks, so it was home from home for a Corsham girl. It’s quite a climb to get up there, but the views are staggering and there’s a great quirky restaurant and craft shop nearby called Chapito, which is also home to a circus school and has more fab views. A trip on the iconic 28 tram was a must, as was a tuktuk ride and a visit (or two) to the Time Out Market for ‘street food that should have a Michelin star’ – the food is great, as is the atmosphere, with live swing and dancing in the midst of it all.

We did find time for shop sourcing and vintage hunting too. There’s an extensive flea market in Alfama which takes place twice a week; I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many dodgy characters in one place for quite a while, but presumably this reflects the precarious state of the Portuguese economy. Needless to say, we escaped unharmed, had some excellent al fresco hot chocolate and we’ve brought back some faaabulous stuff, so pop in soon if you don’t want to miss it!