The Castle


You can’t miss Castelo de Sao Jorge proudly standing guard over Lisbon’s hills.


I believe it was originally built to guard the city against sea attacks.


The grounds are a fun area to explore, and you can walk up and along the various ruins of the great castle.


It provides panoramic views of the city.


Our rental apartment was just a few blocks down the hill from the castle, so we walked up there both days we were in Lisbon, though we only paid the entrance fee once. There are also a few cute shops near the entrance and one place with some delicious gelato.


The castle is known for the peacocks that roam the grounds, and yep, they were right there.

Untitled (click over for the full view)

We chose a gorgeous spring afternoon to see the castle, and we spent quite a while out on one of the escape tower extensions, enjoying the views, the sunshine and the brisk breezes.

But as with all good things, it was finally time to go.


Black and White Streets


Throughout Lisbon, the sidewalks and plazas are paved with black and white stones.


The white is made of limestone and the black is basalt.


Can you imagine the effort that went into cutting each of these stones to shape and then carefully placing them in these intricate patterns?


It makes for striking visuals while shopping or crossing a plaza.


Even Albufeira gets in on the action, with sailboats on the sidewalk.


It sure made it hard to keep my head up and not just because the rainy morning made the stones slick.


Beautiful black and white.

All the Tile


I mentioned the tile work throughout Portugal before, but I gave it all the heart eyes.


And possibly a few surreptitious hand-rubs as I passed by on the street.


Everything was so pretty. I can’t imagine the cost of covering the entire facade of a building in tile, but it was truly charming.


I hope our fireplace makeover turns out just a great.


Alfama – La Alma


For our few days in Lisbon, we stayed in the Alfama neighborhood. My husband had been to Lisbon before, and he was all about Alfama. Me, I didn’t know what to expect.


I was SO GLAD we took his advice, because Alfama was fabulous.


The neighborhood is built onto one of the hills overlooking the river, and because of it’s location, it survived a major earthquake and fire (1755) that destroyed most of the city. Alfama survived, and thus retains the oldest historical character in the city.


We stayed at the Hello Lisbon serviced apartments. These are highly, highly recommended.


I’m not much of a hotel person, but give me a little studio apartment in the heart of a neighborhood with charming features, a totally remodeled interior, a kitchenette, detailed instructions on everything and… gourmet breakfast delivered to the door? I’m a very happy camper.


I’m kicking myself for not taking photos of the apartment, but I loved it. We stayed at the Castelo apartments, and one of the trolley lines ran right outside our door.


We also walked up to the Castelo twice. Once to explore the neighborhood and once to visit the Castelo at sunset.


The first evening we simply stepped out our door and wove our way down through the ancient streets.


We had views of the river from many lookouts and I was charmed by paint-peeled doorways, potted plants and balconies at every turn. Not to mention the tile.


Oh, the tile.


Let’s just I came home with some. In a padded cardboard box, that my lovely husband hand-carried. Stay tuned for our fireplace makeover. (Don’t hold your breath. I expect it will take place in 2017.)


We found this tile shop that specializes in reproduction historic tiles.


You’ll have to hold your breath to discover which one of these beauties we came home with.