Day four - 18th of October
Observation: The Metro comes from the right, not the left like in Oslo...
Castelo de São Jorge: Today was a trip to the Castelo de São Jorge. You get excellent views of Lisbon from the castle! And there are lots of towers to climb up and down wheeee! (Until the fear of heights takes over - yuck!) One "warning" though - don't bother taking tram 28, even though the guide books may say that it's what you use to get to the castle. The walk up to the castle is worth the effort; lots of interesting thngs to see. There are different places where you can stop and enjoy the view, and there are also lots of cute shops and cafés around. And once you get to the castle area, you get to see amusing things like a urinol
Napoleão: After we were done exploring the castle, we walked down towards the city center, got a glimpse of Cathedral de Sé, and discovered a really nice wine shop. Napoleão, Rua dos Fanqueiros 70. It's one of the most famous wine shops in Lisbon, if not all of Portugal. We went inside, looked around, and after a chat with the saleswoman, we bought 2 bottles of Port and 1 of Madeira. The saleswoman was very friendly and professional, and even gave us some tastings of various ports.
Lunch: We shared a plate of the pork and clams (photo from the first time we had it) and some grilled calamari. Both very delicious. The wine was Adega de Pegões Branco 2003, Vinhos Regional Terras do Sado. Color - pale yellow. Nose - oak, cellery, and green unripe fruit. Palate - dry, refreshing, citrusy, oaky with hints of grapefruit and pomelo. Still relatively neutral though. Rating -
More shopping: We walked up and down some big and not-so-big streets in the Baixa area, Praça do Comércio. You have main streets and side streets intertwined into the labyrinth of shops and cafés. Boyfriend of tuxette had to get a few extra t-shirts because some of the ones he had got ruined (long story), and we went into an H&M because we know they have cheap cotton t-shirts that fit. One of the guys working there had this really done-up hairstyle and moved about in a feminine way that indicated that he was out of the closet so to speak... something that was kind of unusual to see, considering the macho Southern European male stereotype.
Now back to the topic of shady characters hehe...fine. No attempts at pickpocketing or anything. However, on this main shopping street, we encountered some interesting characters. First, one guy came up to us and mumbled something incomprehensible, and then slinked along. Then another came up and grunted "hashish? Coke?" And then slinked his way as I snapped at him in Norwegian. Don't quite remember what I said though. We thought about telling some nearby police officers but by then the dealers were long gone, and we didn't really register what they looked like anyway. Yeah yeah...
Boyfriend of tuxette wasn't the only one who spent money (though all that Port and Madeira is on my Master Card!) I found a bookstore where I bought two cookbooks - one on general Portuguese cooking, and one that just had bacalhau recipes. Can't wait to use them both! I also caved in and bought some clothes at Mango
Observation: At the larger garden shops, they sell live birds - parakeets/budgerigars, cockatiels, canaries, etc., usually in overcrowded cages. It's not a pleasant sight...
Snack: We went to the Pastelaria Carmelita Doces Regionais on Rua do Carmo. We had these really tasty tarts filled with a very rich custard (pastéis de nata) with some café com leite (which was amazing!)...
Dinner: We went back to O Carteiro - we had intended to do so before we went back home. As we walked by the bar, we were greeted by the same young man who gave us the free Madeira on Saturday. We got some bread and a different kind of cheese than last time, so we just had to try it. The fancier cheese you get here is really really good...
The food: We ordered two different kinds of grilled fish - espada and...hmm...forgot to write down the other kind. Both were very different from one another but equally tasty. We had steamed greens and boiled potatoes on the side. The portions were huge! No starvation here!
The wine: Verdelho Vinho Regional Alentejano 2004. Herdade do Esporão. Color - very pale yellow, almost colorless. Nose - aromatic, with citrus and flowers. Palate - fresh, full-bodied aftertaste with some bitterness. Difficult to describe. Rating -
At the bar: It was too late to have coffee, so we paid for our meal and wine and then sat down at the restaurant bar. There we had some Madeira, and then some Port. We also shared a dessert - arroz doce - a very custardy rice pudding spiced with cinnamon. I normally can't stand rice pudding but this stuff was amazingly good! So good that I want to try making some at home. While we were sitting and drinking, there was a football game on the telly. And the other bar guests were watching the match enthusiastically. (The football was on a tv in the restaurant section as well - another strange thing. It's not uncommon to have a tv in the restaurant section as well as the café and bar section, and when there is a football match the tv is on!) We also chatted a little bit with the guy behind the bar. He found it cool that we were here from Norway, considering it's the source of their wonderful bacalhau. When it was time to pay, we noticed that our friend behind the bar only wrote down the Port and the dessert, not the Madeira. When we pointed this out to him, he shook his head and said "no Madeira" and smiled. That was really cool. He got a big, fat well-deserved tip!
Strange observation: In the bathrooms at some of the restaurants, including O Carteiro, there are bidets. Now I can understand having a bidet in the hotel room, where you have towels and all. And I can understand the need for a bidet at all, anywhere, after an especially messy bowel movement. But... HOW THE FUCK do you dry yourself after using the bidet in a public bathroom? I guess you have to hoard some paper hand-drying towels (if they have them at all) or something...
Another strange but really not so strange bathroom observation: In the castle area, there were signs in the bathrooms telling people not to throw the paper in the toilet, as the pipes are very old and could get clogged from the paper. And even in the newer areas of town, you saw a lot of paper in the bin inside the stall...
Rest of the evening: Still thirsty, we went to Cacho Dourado for some more Port. The Rat was there again, rushing from here to there. We noticed that the waiters there had at least 2 shirt buttons undone, and the pecking order was according to how many buttons were actually undone and how much fur was showing. The highest-ranking guy had 4 buttons undone. The Rat had 3. OK, perhaps our theory isn't the most scientific in the world, but it's a good one, right?
RING OF FAT PERSPECTIVE
Hey! Why are you eating so little for breakfast? What? Natural yoghurt? Don't do this to me!
Hey! Stop walking so much! Stop climbing so much! You're killing me!
Mmm...finally! Fooooooood! Wiiiiiiiiiine!
Hey! There's a shop with lots of pastries! Stop there! Stop there! Yes, finally! You're caving in! Mmmm...custard tarts! Coffee! More! More! More!
When's dinner? I WANT DINNER!
Mmm...bread and cheese! Mmm...fish! Mmmm....wine! Hey, stop eating that green stuff!
Mmm...Madeira! Port! Rice custard pudding! More more!
Mmm...ice cream! And more port!