After almost a week in Porto, we returned to Lisbon for a couple of days before heading back to BFE USA via Dublin and Toronto. This time we stayed in the Alfama neighborhood. It is famed for places to hear the traditional Portuguese Fado music. Luckily, the first place we stayed in Porto had lots of Fado CDs, which we listened to. As much as I wanted to hear some live Fado music, none of the bars that hosted the music commenced the festivities until 9pm. When you are as old as we are, that is late! It is usually lights out by 10pm for us.
Alfama reminded me of Venice, Italy, without the water. The streets are hilly and impossibly narrow. One of the Uber drivers we hired had a minivan, and the car literally scraped the wall on one side going down the street! It is so charming that once there, you understand why it is a must-see part of Lisbon. One of the best restaurants of our entire time in Portugal is there: Alfama Cellar. They specialize in cooking with individual cast iron pots, and the dishes there will set you free! The best was the drunken rabbit, marinated in grappa and served with roasted vegetables that conveyed flavors beyond description. We enjoyed the food here so much that we ate there our last two nights in Lisbon. The staff was professional and fun, and the service was outstanding. Alfama Cellar is located at Rua dos Remedios 127-131, 1100-451 Lisboa. Www.alfamacellar.pt.
Sadly, it was quite rainy and stormy our last two days in Lisbon, so we did not wander far from our Airbnb, which was about 30 paces from our new favorite restaurant. We strolled around a little and visited the Castelo de Sao Jorge on our last day, which was an impressive piece of history and architecture. Our Airbnb was tiny but efficient. The craziest thing about the building was the stairs up to an apartment above. Well, look…
If one was drunk, they would be downright dangerous, methinks!
Needless to say, we were sad to have to leave Portugal. But now, we had a mission: figure out how to move there!
On the way back, we once again spent a day in Dublin, Ireland. This time we were lucky to dodge a historic snow storm that dumped 13 inches of snow on the city, shutting everything down two days before we arrived. We watched as 13 truckloads of the white stuff were removed from the tarmac before we could deplane. We got to our Airbnb and headed for the nearest pub. Severe disappointment ensued; there was no Guinness to be had! Fresh out. While the city was immobilized for two days, everyone was at the pubs and drank the city dry! That’s a historic event: no Guinness in the pubs in Dublin! Crazy, but true. Happily, we got to have one more pint of Guinness at the airport before we left.
We arrived at Dublin airport around nine am. After getting through security, we went through the duty-free store and found that they were having a series of gin and whiskey tastings! Ireland, what a country! Of course, we felt duty-bound to try the local spirits. Ireland is having a distilling renaissance, and the whiskies and gins are first-rate. We brought home some Tyrconnell 12-year-old Madeira cask single malt whiskey. Mmm, good!
We made it home with minimal delays and, after thinking about, it we realized that the only thing we missed while we were away: our dog Jiva (aka Bubba). Looks like there’s a transatlantic trip in your future little buddy!