Member Postcards

Dispatch from Lisbon

I began a recent weekend in Lisbon by visiting the grounds of the picturesque Castel of São Jorge. A delicious dinner followed at the casual and buzzy Cantinho do Avillez.

I kicked off the next day with a delicious organic breakfast in the Palacio Belmonte garden under the shade of orange, pomegranate and bougainvillea trees. I then set off by foot to Europe’s largest square, the stunning Praça do Comércio, followed by Chiado, a neighborhood with 19th-century buildings, pedestrian-only streets and posh shopping. Some favorites included Luvaria Ulisses, which has been selling gloves since 1925, and the 1940s-style ice-cream parlor Santini. Also on Rua de Carmo is Elevador de Santa Justa, a marvelous elevator that was built by the same architect who designed the Eiffel Tower. I finally wandered over to the church, Igreja de São Roque to see its elaborate Baroque design.

The Bairro Alto is bursting with tempting, cozy restaurants. I liked the tiny Bota Alta (37 Travessa da Queimada; 351-213-427-959), with its chic local touches, such as Portuguese ceramic plates hanging above dark wood tables.

The impressive Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, given to Lisbon by an Armenian oil magnate and prodigious collector, reflects sophisticated, wide-ranging interests, ranging from ancient Islamic Art to Lalique glass.

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