From the monthly archives:

July 2009

Lisbon Confidential is a series of interviews with people who know and love Lisbon. In this section we share their insider tips, favourite places in the city, and “hidden gems” of Lisbon. We ask the same 10 questions to each interviewee and publish their answers verbatim. Should you wish to suggest somebody for this interview, please contact us.

Today’s Lisbon Confidential interview is with Nathalie Costa, manager of the well known Olivier Restaurant, which has two branches located at Rua do Alecrim 23 and also at the Hotel Tivoli Jardim, Rua Júlio César Machado, 7.

Nathalie Costa

Nathalie Costa

1. What’s your connection with Lisbon?

I was born, I study, I was married, I had 2 girls, I had fun, sun, rain all in the center of Lisbon.

2. Why should a tourist visit Lisbon, in your opinion?

The light, the atmosphere, Lisbon has something that no other city has.. the mix of old and new, the mix of generations and traditions.

3. Your favourite Lisbon museum, sight or attraction?

Miradors.. Lisbon is full of miradors where you can see diferents areas of Lisbon.

(Editor’s note: Nathalie is referring to the several viewpoints dotted about the city, and known as miradouros in Portuguese)

4. Do you have a favourite restaurant? If so, why?

Olivier Café! The atmosphere, the food and the service!

5. A favourite bar or cafeteria?

Silk! The most amazing terrace in the world.

6. What is your favourite district of the city and why?

Principe Real and Chiado… I love to walk there, we can start by buying biological vegetables and fruits at Principe Real garden, then have a hot bread in the Portuguese padaria, and then going to Chiado where there is always nice vitrines, art galleries … finishing with a coffee at the Bairro Alto Hotel!

7. Recommend a good night out in Lisbon.

Dining at Olivier Café and going to Silk (walking distance).

8. Tell us your favourite, interesting or unusual Portuguese saying or phrase, and its meaning.

“Não deixes para amanhã o que podes fazer hoje” that means do not leave for tomorow what you can do now. We should have this sentence posted all over Lisbon because Portuguese like to do always things tomorrow or after tomorrow.

9. Given the chance, what would you do to improve Lisbon?

Lisbon is an irregular city, which although this is part of its charm, getting around can be a bit of a challenge. It takes time to cover places and the walk can be very steep and uncomfortable.
I would only improve the access to places, introducing more ecologic means of transport to allow visitors to access places more easily and with silent vehicles to preserve the surroundings and truly enjoy the magic tranquility of Lisbon Historical quarters.
With Red Tour we tried to the introduce modern and fun ways of visiting the city, using ecologic vehicles (Segways and buggies) to help travelers to get closer to the sights than a bus would, such as narrow streets and other hidden gems.

Finishing with all the roadwork hell in the streets and put the calçada cobblestones back in place!

10. Lastly, do you have any insider tips, a hidden gem or little known aspect of Lisbon you can let our readers know about? Or simply a last word of advice for visitors to Lisbon.

Girls, don’t bring high heels to Lisbon! The heels will get stuck in the lovely “calçada”!

Muito obrigado pela entrevista Nathalie! Thanks for taking time out from your incredibly busy schedule to answer our questions.

Our next Lisbon Confidential interview will be with Tatiana Ecetová from Carristur.

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The Audi Q5 in Lisbon: A highly emotional tour guide

by Lisbon Apartments on July 8, 2009

The video below comes courtesy of Audi TV. It is a promotional video for the Audi Q5, but it shows the wonderful city of Lisbon more than it promotes the car!

This is a good visual guide to Lisbon, showing some of the city’s main sights – certainly not all of them, but enough to give you an idea of what there is to see and do in Portugal’s capital.

The video starts with a view from the River Tagus of the majestic 25 de Abril bridge, which is often compared to San Francisco’s Golden Gate, and also the Cristo Rei statute which is basically a copy of Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer. The action then moves to a “Cacilheiro”, which is the name given to the Lisbon ferries that cross the river between the city on the north bank and the Setúbal peninsula to the south, giving marvellous views of Lisbon as they cross.

We follow the main actor as he disembarks in Lisbon, and catch a quick glimpse of the CarrisTur Red Tram, for which tourists can buy tickets for a great ride through the city.

We then visit the Cervejaria da Trindade, a 19th century ale house and restaurant which was originally a convent, founded in 1294. This establishment is famous for the internal decor with beautiful azulejos, or typical Portuguese tiles, depicting the seasons and the elements.

The next sight we see is the Elevador do Lavra or Ascensor do Lavra, inaugurated in 1884 and Lisbon’s oldest funicular. It was constructed by the Portuguese engineer Raoul Mesnier du Ponsard who was also responsible for Lisbon’s other urban lifts, those of Glória, Bica and Santa Justa, this last one also in the video and described below. The Ascensor do Lavra was originally steam or hydro powered and currently has a capacity for 22 seated passengers and 20 standing.

The video continues, passing by the expansive Praça do Comercio square in central Lisbon, and on to the Tavares Rico restaurant, the oldest in Lisbon since it was founded in 1784 by two brothers. The interior decor is gilded and luxurious and well worth seeing.

The protagonist of the video next visits Alfama, the historic Old Town, walking through the narrow, cobbled streets and past typical cafés and Fado houses, finally stopping at the Fado restaurant Parreirinha de Alfama to hear some typical Fado music. This establishment is located near the Museu do Fado, and just 5 minutes walk from our apartments at Calçada do Forte. The Alfama district is Lisbon’s oldest, and also where our Alfama Duplex apartment is located.

The actor then moves on to the Elevador de Santa Justa mentioned previously. This is Lisbon’s only vertical urban lift, inaugurated in 1902 and, like the Ascensor do Lavra, originally steam-powered. Magnificent views of all the city’s important sights are to be enjoyed at the top, including Lisbon’s Castle, the Castelo de São Jorge.  This iron construction is within walking distance from, and can be seen from, our Mouraria Duplex apartment.

Next, we see the Bairro Alto district, a lively and vibrant area of pubs, bars, restaurants and Fado houses, and Lisbon’s emblematic nightlife area. The action stops just outside the Café Luso, arguably the city’s best known Fado restaurant where Portugal’s most famous fadista or Fado singer, Amália Rodrígues, sang.

Finally, our hero enjoys a brief stop at one of the city’s miradouros, or viewpoints, taking in the breathtaking views of the rooftops and river before driving back towards the Tagus past the Sé, Lisbon’s Cathedral, through Baixa, the downtown shopping area, and back to the Cacilheiros.

So, with no further ado, here’s the Audi video, well worth watching!

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