Today is my birthday, and I am at a ripe age of 2(?). I wanted to take time to just relax and not tire myself out too much, so I just played the day out by ear. I know there are some cool cafes in Lisbon, and so I wanted to visit them today to chill in for my birthday!
Looking through my photos now, I actually did a lot of things today…whoops! 😎 But of course, a relaxing day always starts out with coffee in a cafe.
Some cool cafes in Lisbon
I just LOVE Lisbon’s cafe culture! Cafes are a dime a dozen, so you have near limitless options. Hipster cafes/coffeehouses are a bit harder to find, since most “cafes” are pedestrian eateries that happen to serve coffee.
Today, I started out with a cafe called Fábrica Coffee Roasters in Baixa/Rossio. The cafe was really cool and hipster-ish vibe, similar to my favourite cafes in Calgary (Rosso Coffee Roasters). The decor was awesome, and it seemed like a nice place to do some work (which I was planning to do).
Unfortunately, they DID NOT have wifi since they want people to drink coffee and not go on their phones. I appreciate the thought, but I needed wifi!! Oh well. I ordered an americano & a banana oat cake, and both were really good! It was more expensive than other places, but you’re paying for the ambience too.
After editing some photos on the iPad, I ventured out to a highly recommended museum, the National Museum of Ancient Art or Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga. On the way to the museum though, I was sidetracked by the many interesting buildings & things I found like the graffiti wall!
This museum contains the largest collection of ancient art in Portugal, and for me as a history and art nerd, this is what I find interesting! There are a lot of beautiful art here, but the most famous piece housed in the museum is the Panels of Saint Vincent. It is a series of 6 painted wood panels by Nuno Gonçalves. If you like art, history or both, I recommend a couple of hours here!
If art/history isn’t your thing, the garden & cafe is a great place to visit instead! The garden is very beautiful, and the food at the cafe is pretty cheap too!
For lunch, I decided to visit a vegan cafe that I’ve been following on Instagram, Princesa do Castelo. But on the way, I was sidetracked by the Mercado da Ribeira/Time Out Market along the Ribeira. It is a large market consisting of both the traditional market and a modern food market. It was very interesting, but there were too many people at the time so I decided to skip (for now).
The menu at Princesa do Castelo was small, but I decided to treat myself to a big meal for my birthday. So, I ordered an entrée of chips, hummus & olives, a vegan shepherd’s pie polenta for main, and a beer to drink.
The chips & hummus was okay, but the main course was delicious! The polenta was nicely seasoned, the smoked tofu & sautéed veggies were tasty & savoury and the pesto sauce on top was delicious! I was bummed that they didn’t have the vegan pastéis de nata, but maybe next time they’ll have it! 🙂
The second cafe that I visited today was a growing Danish roaster called Copenhagen Coffee Lab & Bakery. This location in particular (in Alfama) was one of the coolest cafes! It looks like the cafe is underground because of its stone walls, but it also has a garden outside if you want to enjoy the sun & wind!
The cafe is very spacious, and they have wifi here! While chilling in the cafe, I did some blog work, edited some photos, posted on my story, and wrote on my journal while sipping my wonderful cup of americano (which is so adorable)! Definitely visit this cafe if you’re in the area!
More sightseeing for my birthday
Since I was in the Alfama area, I also decided to visit the other attractions that I haven’t visited yet. My first stop was the Church of São Vicente
The second stop was the National Pantheon. It was a good thing that I went today, because it was a very beautiful day with clear, cloudless skies! The colours of the surrounding buildings really popped! 🙂
My last cafe of the day also doubled as a “miradouro” or viewpoint. Café da Garagem is a small cafe located inside Teatro da Garagem. This cafe is SEVERELY underrated (at the time I visited in July 10, 2018), because when I arrived, I was the only one inside. I highly recommend this place if you want a place to relax & eat/drink with a view!
The views from the cafe was amazing! You’ll get to see the view of northern Lisbon, which is as grand as the view of the ocean! The prices of food & drinks were quite affordable, but I just came here for a glass of red port while writing on my journal. It was the best way to end my birthday. Port & an amazing view—how does it get better?!
Happy birthday to me!
A letter to myself for my birthday. You’ve learned so much about yourself, and I am so proud. Keep doing what makes you happy, focus on the positives, and shun out what other people may think of you. You will never please everyone, and that’s okay. Live for your true authentic self, and be unapologetic about it. Own your successes, failures, strengths and shortcomings. Be open to growth and accept opportunities that will challenge you.
Nurture your family and community, and do not to take them for granted. If they call you out about something, it’s because they care about you, so don’t be hostile towards criticism. Remember this: your worth isn’t stamped by anyone. Never forget that you are worthy, loved and priceless. Trust God wholeheartedly, and stop worrying about your future—because He will provide. Pray and love always. Laugh because it’s medicine for your heart. Cry because it’s medicine for your soul. Explore and wander. Live with no regret because this life is far too short to take it too seriously. Much love. ❤️
Getting around Lisbon
Honestly, I think the best way to get around Lisbon is by foot, especially when you’re staying in the central/downtown area. Make sure you are wearing proper & comfortable footwear, because you will be walking up and down hills A LOT.
Lisbon metro system
That said, however, Lisbon has a pretty extensive public transportation system that includes metro trains, trams and buses. If you want to ride these, make sure to get a ticket at the metro station (there is an English option available, if your Portuguese isn’t so good like me). Grab the ticket, tap on the gate like a credit card, then it will open.
How do you know where to go? Google Maps is your go-to guide (download it on your phone)! Make sure you have data (check my tips in my past post here) so you can readily use Google Maps.