A Charming Winter Day in Lisbon
Deciding on my Winter vacation destination
While deciding on a winter solo trip last year, I swerved away from the idea of another average all inclusive resort heading to an economical sunshine destination like Dominican Republic or Cuba .. I needed something new, even if I was going to risk having to deal with not quite so balmy days, but I’ve had (relatively) cold January vacations in Cuba as well.
Therefore I broadened my view on where I’d like to go to escape for an early into the New Year change of scenery .
While Amsterdam was on my list for years, I decided I needed somewhere in Europe a little more south, and that offered great value . I remembered Lisbon , I wanted to go a couple years before but was somehow intimidated by reading about the hilly landscape of the city . I decided to put it back on the list .
I’d been traveling a lot , (small trips mostly ) so I didn’t think Lisbon was feasible, then I checked the prices .
Fantastic flight deal from Toronto to Lisbon in January (less than $600!) . But was January is Lisbon is good idea ? Would it rain everyday ? Would it be cold and miserable...glad my worries didn’t dictate my decision. It started cloudy and cool but still quite pleasant sweater weather, and it just got better as the week went on
This was too good a deal to pass up. Especially when I checked the hotel deals . $100 Canadian for a moderate hotel in a central location ! A Sofitel property on Avenida Liberdade for around $160 per night for a couple of nights of luxury and a slick on site hotel bar. That deal was found on Black Friday through Accor Hotels.
Rounding off the trip, another switch to the Ibis Liberdade , surprisingly welcoming and chill casual lobby bar with wine for 2 euros! This was going to work out nicely , especially for someone like me who likes to switch hotels for both variety and cost savings.
Rather than a complete trip report, I just wanted to share through my eyes that first special day in Lisbon, my recap follows.
A beautiful winter day in Lisbon
The city’s charm captured me in the very first moments. It’s colorful architecture, the city abuzz with people in all walks of life enjoying a mild winter day. My first experience trying the uniquely exquisite pastry “Pastel de Nata” a Portuguese custard tart that was first created in Lisbon in the 18th century, was in the Fabrica de Nata café that served a combo that along with the pastel de nata included a small glass of port, an espresso and a codfish cake. Why not, I thought, it’s a fresh take on casual café combos, and it was steps from my hotel. I knew I had picked a unique and interesting city unlike anywhere I’d ever been. Still jetlagged but fueled by my light meal, I started to become excited at the prospects of exploring the neighborhoods of Lisbon over the next several days.
The Tagus river beckoned me, and what a grand entrance with the colorful Placa do Commercio at it’s feet. The history and culture of this city was alive in the atmosphere on this cloudy but pleasant winter day. I took it in for a while and as I walked down the cobblestoned promenade heading back to my hotel, I took in with appreciation the sights, smells and sounds. Vendors selling fresh hot chestnuts in the cool late afternoon air, unique shops, restaurants, street perfomers that livened up the city. As I settled in to my charming small hotel after my first day in Lisbon, I pondered which further unique experiences awaited me in this city that had already captured a piece of my heart.
After relaxing for a brief time in my room, I strolled around the pedestrian only area right by the hotel, trying to decide on a nearby restaurant serving local specialties. The charming and casual Bonampak, serving spit roasted piri piri chicken called out to my taste buds. Continuing the day with more comfort food in Portugal was a great way to start the vacation. Service was attentive, the red wine was wonderful and the bill was affordable. I was content. Afterwards I strolled around the area, it had gotten a little quiet on this Tuesday evening. I wanted to check out one more place, so I chose a familiar place that was located only a few minutes walk away, the Hard Rock Café. Very lively, great music and videos and a wonderful friendly staff. An eclectic group of patrons too, the mood was good, but now time to had back to my hotel for some much needed rest.
This was a great introduction to Lisbon, the many sights and sounds and satisfaction stayed with me from this first day in this city, the beginning of a very rewarding and memorable trip.
© 2019 Nella DiCarlo