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d e s t i n a t i o n s i n t e r n a t i o n a l ✜ Lisbon Sights and fado sounds in the Portuguese capital portugal Lisbon ✜ Penang Historic 19th-century shophouses restored ✜ London Great British daytrips go beyond the ken of Big Ben Destinations I n t e r n a t i o n a l OUT ON Words Nelson Carvalheiro THE TILES With a history dating back to the Moors and Romans, but a youthful lust for life, Portugal’s capital city of Lisbon turns on the charm with its narrow cobbled streets, azulejo tiles, superb seafood – and that fabulous fado.Alfama view from theMiradouro (terrace)de Santa Luzia 70 QANTAS j u n e 2012 j u n e 2012 QANTAS 7 1
portugal Lisbon Tram in Alfama I t’s easy to see why the Portuguese capital of Lisbon cosmopolitan. Though just over the border from Spain, it is is regarded as one of the best cities in Europe to visit: you its own country. Speaking Spanish won’t work here, but if can step directly onto a beach, the seafood tastes ocean- your Portuguese isn’t up to scratch, you can get by with Eng- fresh and the sun shines for 300 days of the year. It juggles the lish or French. The one thing you do need is a comfortable pair relaxed feel of Southern Europe with a weightier history and of shoes, because this is a city best seen on foot – occasionally heritage, but it also has a youthful energy that seems to stem stopping at a cafe for some char-grilled sardines and, if you’realfama (PREvious page) photography: paolo giocoso/sime/4corners; from the light, which has frequently been described as a lucky, to listen to fado, the country’s melancholy folk music. cinematographer’s dream. Traditionally the music of the urban poor, fado traces its roots In common with other bayside cities, Lisbon’s heart is close to Brazilian immigrants in the early 1800s. to the water; many of its shops, museums, restaurants and Lisbon is divided into several small inner-city districts, each bars are within walking distance of the large harbour formed with its own specialty. Wander through the atmospheric by the Tagus River. From there the city rises to a hill crowned streets of Castelo, home to the fortress that dominates the by the Castelo de São Jorge, an 11th-century stone fortress skyline. In Baixa, in the centre of the city, take in the museums built by the Moors on the site of Roman and Visigoth ruins. including the extraordinary Design and Fashion Museum The castle later became the official residence of the King of (MUDE), shops and cafes. The area’s main thoroughfare, Rua Portugal. Such long history means that the Portuguese refer Augusta, heads down to the river and the spectacular archtram: guido cozzi/sime/4corners casually to the “recent” earthquake of 1755, which destroyed that forms the entrance to the city square, Terreiro do Paço. large parts of Lisbon. The city, which was mostly rebuilt in the Alfama is essential Lisbon, a place full of fado houses and 18th century, looks old to Australian eyes, but locals see it as tascas (the equivalent of Italy’s trattoria). These are the places relatively modern. Either way, the famous Portuguese azulejo to drop in to for a bifana (pork sandwich) and some red wine; (traditional tiles), the narrow, lopsided buildings and the simple, hearty fare that will keep you going while you explore cobbled streets all contribute to Lisbon’s charm. the boutiques and antique stores. This area is also home to Laid-back, easy to navigate by tram or on foot, Lisbon is two of the city’s landmarks: Se Cathedral and Santa Engracia small enough to feel accessible, but large enough for it to be church, also known as the National Pantheon. j u n e 2012 QANTAS 7 3
Lisbon portugal Bairro Alto is the place for nightlife. The streets in this quarter buzz from early afternoon to early morning. You can bar hop from tiny bohemian holes in the wall to more selective places, or you can just stroll and people watch; as most of the establishments are Portuguese custard tarts tiny, life is very much out in the streets. Its neighbour, fashionable in Belém. Chiado with its elegant shop fronts, is home to some of the country’s best fashion and interior designers, as well as traditional bespoke houses such as Luvaria Ulisses, where affluent Lisbonites have had their gloves made since 1925. EAT DRINK Restaurante 100 Maneiras Belém is where most visitors head, as it offers gardens, museums, Cantinho do Avillez 35 Rua do Teixeira, Bairro Alto. churches and monuments. These include two UNESCO World 7 Rua dos Duques (21) 099 0475. www. Heritage sites – the 16th-century Monastery of the Hieronymites de Bragança, Chiado. restaurante100maneiras.com (Mosteiro dos Jerónimos) and the Tower of Belém. It’s a lovely place (21) 199 2369. Chef Ljubomir Stanisic’s to walk around and if sunshine appeals more than spending time www.cantinhodoavillez.pt restaurant is highly regarded and in museums, there’s a beautiful riverside promenade broad enough José Avillez is one of Lisbon’s star his tasting menu accompanied to share with cyclists, joggers and strollers. Don’t forget to drop young chefs and his restaurant by Portuguese wines is a great into Pastéis de Belém to experience possibly the best Portuguese turns out sensational Portuguese way to sample things you might custard tarts in the country. cuisine. The small space is simple not try otherwise. From the but sophisticated. Try the black tiny kitchen comes an excellent pork (much better than the version of the prego, done with more famous Spanish variety) salmon instead of steak, and dried or his take on the prego (steak salt cod – presented hanging on a sandwich), or salt cod and line. A favourite dish is the seared black olives. lamb tenderloin with nuts and a red wine reduction. A Baiuca 20 Rua de São Miguel, Alfama. Sea Me (21) 886 7284. 21 Rua do Loreto, Chiado. Family run, this tiny restaurant (21) 346 1564. has been open for decades and www.peixariamoderna.com palÁcio de fronteira photography: giovanni simeone/sime/4corners; CUSTARD Tarts: CORBIS the decor has not changed. The Sea Me is a fish pestico (the food is basic with dishes such as Portuguese version of Spanish monkfish stew and char-grilled tapas) house, a lively place where fish, but the real draw is the fado, you need to book or arrive early sung by women accompanied by because it fills up fast. The chefs male guitarists. When the singing work in an open kitchen and starts, everything else stops – the everything on the menu is kitchen, table service and even excellent. This is seafood at its the neighbours, who often drop freshest and there is a distinct in for the performance. This is Japanese influence at work. authentic Lisbon. The main stars are the petiscos: tempura fried squid, grilled prawn Tasca Do Chico sausage rolls, cod with chillies, 39 Rua Diário de Notícias, and sautéed fish eggs with olive Bairro Alto. (21) 343 1040. oil and parsley. Bairro Alto and Alfama are two places to find raw or bohemian SEE DO fado, the underground version of Palácio de Fronteira what has become a mainstream 1 Largo de São Domingos de art form. Walls are lined with Benfica, Benfica. (21) 778 2023. portraits of singers and celebrities www.fronteira-alorna.ptPalácio de Fronteira and the food tends towards For glorious palaces, it’s fairly hard Portuguese tapas. to beat the 1670 home of the 74 QANTAS j u n e 2012
Marquis of Fronteira. Aside from Champagne in hand, provides the highly sculptural garden, there a memorable view as the many are rooms full of decorative tiles white buildings turn orange and from the 17th and 18th centuries red in the dying light. depicting battle and hunting scenes in brilliant hues. Opening Architecture Walking Tour hours are limited. Lisbon Walker. 84 Rua dos Remédios, Alfama. Feira da Ladra (21) 886 1840. lisbonwalker.com Campo de Santa Clara, Alfama. Lisbon Walker guides know all Tuesdays Saturdays. about the city – the architecture, Almost anything can be found the history of the tiles and the in Lisbon’s open-air flea market: events that make Lisbon the vintage, collectables and new place it is today. A Vida Portuguesa 11 Rua Anchieta, Chiado. (21) 346 5073. www.avidaportuguesa.com For a real memento of Portugal. It looks like an old-fashioned pharmacy and stocks such everyday goods as traditional soaps, kitchenware, jams and sweets – and plastic models of the saints. Museo do Fado tram 28 photography: sandra raccanello/sime/4corners; FEira/FADO museum: LONELY PLANET IMAGES 1 Largo do Chafariz de Dentro, Alfama. (21) 882 3470. www.museudofado.pt This museum is home to a permanent collection of fado-related paraphernalia and goods, stuffed animals, never- a good place to start learning sent postcards (with date and about its history and key singers. stamp), used wigs and toupees, and saddles for donkeys. An Tram 28 18th-century azulejo tile sells Lisbon’s cute-as-a-button trams for less than €10 ($13). operate daily. Tram 28 goes right through the city. Hop on and Sunset sailing on the Tagus hop off whenever you spot Sailing-Point, Belém dockyard something of interest. Another (by Padrão dos Descobrimentos one will be along in 10 minutes. monument). (96) 186 6464. www.sailing-point.pt Portugal Pavilion One of the best vantage points Doca dos Olivais, Parque from which to see Lisbon is from das Nações. the river. Skipper Filipe Avillez Portugal’s most highly regarded Paixão has more than 20 years contemporary architect, Alvaro sailing experience and is also Siza, gave engineers a headache Feira da Ladra finds (top); fado memorabilia at the Museo do Fado an expert on Portugal. A sunset with his Portuguese Pavilion (above); city ride (above right) cruise aboard the Sailing-Point, design for the 1998 Lisbon 76 QANTAS j u n e 2012
Lisbon portugal World Expo. Based on the idea of a sheet of paper resting on STAY two bricks, the building features Palácio Belmonte a long, thin canopy of wafer-thin 14 Páteo Dom Fradique, Lisbon. pre-stressed concrete set (21) 881 6600. between two buildings. Highly www.palaciobelmonte.com controversial, but acclaimed by Built in 1449, the original palace many Portuguese as a symbol of near the Castelo had fallen into the country’s modernisation, it is disrepair when French architect a regular stage for events and Frederic Coustols restored it temporary exhibitions. Take your as a boutique hotel. The feel wide-angle lens – the concrete is that of a very private home, sail stretches nearly 70m between with a choice of 10 beautifully the supporting buildings. decorated suites. A pool, an organic garden and a serene Gulbenkian Museum atmosphere make Palácio 45a Avenida de Berna, Praça Belmonte a hard place to de Espanha. (21) 782 3000. leave. From €300 ($385). www.museu.gulbenkian.pt Calouste Gulbenkian, an Bairro Alto Hotel Armenian oil tycoon who settled 2 Praça Luís de Camões, in Portugal, amassed one of Bairro Alto. (21) 340 8288. the world’s most astonishing www.bairroaltohotel.com art collections, which he left Chic and central, this 55-room to the city of Lisbon. The many hotel in an 18th-century building treasures range from Egyptian is a drawcard for creatives and artefacts and rare pieces from celebrities. The terrace bar has Greece and the Middle East, a magnificent view over the to 15th-19th century paintings. city, which is perfect for a sundown cocktail before heading Cascais and Sintra out for dinner. From €194 ($249). Since many of Europe’s royal families established their holiday Altis Belém Hotel Spa homes in Lisbon’s neighbouring Doca do Bom Sucesso, Belém. online cities of Sintra and Cascais, this (21) 040 0200. altishotels.com region became synonymous with The Altis offers a wholly modern For wealth. Cascais has been dubbed experience. Its suites face the more the Portuguese Riviera and World water with views of the River on... Heritage-listed Sintra is home to Tagus and the Belém Tower. European travel many impressive palaces. Both Minimalist in style, but utterly destinations, go to can be visited in a day. Hire a car comfortable, this small hotel qantas.com/travelinsider and take the scenic route to (there are 50 rooms including Cascais and the Sintra-Cascais five suites with illustrated wall Natural Park where evergreen panels exploring the theme of forests surround many of the discovery) has some big features palaces and villas. The old town including the spa, Bar 38°41’ of Sintra is a good place to cocktail lounge and the Feitoria sample the local sweet, a mini restaurant, where chef José cheese tart called queijada, at Cordeiro earned his first Michelin From top: Altis Casa da Piriquita. star this year. From €200 ($257).c Belém Hotel Spa; Bairro Alto Hotel; mojito at For airfares call Qantas on 13 13 13 or visit qantas.com Bairro Alto Hotel For Portugal holiday packages call Qantas Holidays on 13 14 15.78 QANTAS j u n e 2012