Sunday, 22 May 2011

Lost in Lisboa

I can´t think of another city I´d rather be Lostin than Lisbon. This is a story of being lost and then discovery and how to get Lostin again. On Thursday we were inLost and loving it.
On paper, Lisbon looks simple enough. but one can quite easily lose oneself in its rabbit warren of winding streets. Three main areas cluster around the mouth of the River Tagus where it opens out to Atlantic shores. Alfama, the Moorish section, and Bairro Alto look across at each other and down on Baixa in the valley between them; and what a wonderful valley it is. Broad avenues stretch in an uncharacteristically orderly manner connecting triumphal arches and grand squares from Rossio down to Praça Commercial and the ferry ports. Cafes dominate, fabulous art deco affairs serving thimblefuls of super-strength bica, and irresistible cakes and pastries.
High above Baixa, and best reached either by  the funny-peculiar (funicular) railway called  "Gloria" or a massive iron elevador, is Bairro Alto. The "high quarter" is a 16th-century grid of workshops, charming little grocers' stores and homes. It is now comfortably contemporary, jostling with funky boutiques, artesan hat shops, bistros, bars and retro-furniture emporia.Streets on the map suddenly become dead ends and the resume their path again higher up. It is difficult to describe without actually losing yourself in the experience.Its like a game of hide and chic.
At lunch time on a hot May day last week we found ourselves on Rua Dom Pedro in Principe Real at the highest point of the Bairro. Lost again within 15 minutes and bored of staring at maps, hot and weary with stomachs crying out for  some sort of nourishment we despair that we can´t find a lunch spot where we can sit outdoors and enjoy another view of the Baixa below. The Tapas bar we had been recommended and endeavoured to eat at was closed. But lo and behold, my eye caught a sign directing us through an arch to Lostin - Hippie chic, lifestyle bar, buddha bar, esplanada. Each to his own, make of it what you want, but for sure you will want to find it again, as we did for an early evening snifter.
Here is an Indian terrace bar in Principe Real."This is how Lisbon´s most shanti chill out with one of the best views in the city might present itself", says Convida guide no. 14 Buddha bar lounge music, silk parasols and exotic muriels, what more could you ask for while eating a ham and brie toastie with caramelised red onion and a bottle of ice cold beer in the other hand. After lunch ,treat yourself to an item from the clothes shop,and then head off back down the hill of twisting streets towards shopping chic Chiado.
Lostin maybe,  but we certainly found exactly what we were looking for. Long may the quest for discovery in this beguiling and intriguing capital continue....
.....and our bill arrived in a little embroidered Indian  shoe

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