The Castle

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

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

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

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It provides panoramic views of the city.

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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.

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

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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.

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Black and White Streets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Beautiful black and white.

All the Tile

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

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

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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.

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I hope our fireplace makeover turns out just a great.

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Alfama – La Alma

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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Oh, the tile.

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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.)

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

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