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Trip Report A few Lisbon days plus handicap transport taxi

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We just got back from 4 nights in Lisbon. What impressed us most when we got off our flight was the fantastically cool weather.
After leaving a sweltering 35º in Valencia, and hearing two days later the thermometers had risen to 42º, we enjoyed soaking up the fresh breeze that blew into the city at all hours of the day.

If this city gets this breeze in the summer, this is paradise!

We stayed at the Real Palacio Hotel due to a special on Travelzoo. It boasts a 5 star category but only the nice staff could be awarded those ratings. The room was very spacious as well as was the new marble bathroom. The amenities were good quality . There is a small spa in the basement with Turkish bath and sauna and jacuzzi which was included in our price. But it is lacking the level of bedding and furnishings of the 5*s I have enjoyed although it was TOTALLY acceptable. The furnishings and bedding were more "normal".. nothing special although the hazelnut chocolate that was on our pillow the first two nights ( not sure why we didn't get one every night) were welcomed.

I would not hesitate to return to this hotel if I got a great deal again. There are several pleasant places to sit and enjoy the free wifi. The breakfast was correct and the spa circuit hit the spot our first touring day.

We arrived around 7:30 pm, got settled and went off to Sr. Vnho to have dinner and hear Fado. I had wanted a less "taverny" feeling place our first night. Sr. Vinho had several singers and guitar players who would do a small act, then you would eat for 15minutes and another singer would come out.

We thought the quality was excellent and it was interesting to listen to the different types of each singer. It was a special evening and we have fond memories. Our son joined us for dinner and he also enjoyed the evening. The singers and guitarists were very professional. It is important to note though, that if you want to chat, or think you cannot control your desire to chat, you do NOT go to listen to Fado. They are very serious about their performance. It is not "background music".

The meals here are pricey to say the least, plus there is a 12.50E cover charge that includes some snacks, so it is an expensive night out. We are happy to have gone. Not having anything to compare to, next time we will go try somewhere else of the many that were recommended to us to get a good feel fro the different venues. I would have liked to have gone again somewhere but it didn't seem to appeal to our group to do so.

The next day we took a taxi up to the Palacio dos Marqueses do Fronteira. This is a compulsory visit IMO. Thank you to Valtor and others for recommending it.

It is the only palatial home left in Lisbon in its original state. There was an event being set up so we were unable to visit the interior but the gardens were spectacular and we could only imagine how lovely the inside was. We browsed through some books in the gift shop to get an idea what we were missing. We definitely will have to go back here at some point. Be sure to call ahead of time to make sure the entire palace is open. We knew ahead of time that we could not see the interior but we didn't mind since this building was so high on our list to see.

We had reservations at 2 pm to Assinatura and had a delicious meal here. I had searched on Fodors and Chowhound and The Guardian for restaurant recs. I wish we had had more time as so many sounded good that I was sorry not to have been able to try more of them.

We had their executive menu of the day of three plates for 24E plus drinks. It was innovative Mediterranean food. Unfortunately I did not take notes but some had cream soup made of zucchini flower which was fantastic. The others had a clam dish with tasty vegetables. For second plate I had meat skewer that had been marinated. The rice side dish was the tastiest combination of a rice side dish I had had in a long time. I usually don't like side dishes of rice but whatever spices or /and herbs were used were an excellent combination. The cod and also the pork received compliments from my friends.

Dessert was a special cake and cream created for the national holiday. Wine here, as we found everywhere, were excellent quality and value, never spending more than 15E/bottle.

http://www.assinatura.com.pt/

We later took a taxi to the Gulbenkian Museum that was within walking distance of our hotel. What an architectural gem, and what a collection. Mr. Gulbenkian could be compared to Guggenheim or Rockefeller, I imagine. He was a true innovative investor and actually organized much of the oil business and contract in the Middle East.

He collected very interesting pieces from all his travels and had exquisite taste. There are photos of his Parisian home as it was before he moved his things to Lisbon during/after the second World War. When I go to Paris I will visit his Foundation there so as to see his home in person.

The Gulbenkian Museum itself will please any architect as it is a commendable piece of museum architecture, from the interior to the landscaping. We spent more time here than I expected and can recommend this stop as a lovely respite in a sometimes exhausting touring schedule.

There is a lovely café terrace looking out over some reeds attached to the coffee shop.

We did not venture over to the Modern Art museum on the same grounds as we were ready to take a rest and get ready for a later outing.

We walked back to the hotel and passed some lovely buildings. Our hotel has a historical section you can see from one of the patios. It has a beautiful staircase and blue tiled walls. I am sure in its day this historical section is what merited its 5*. It now seems to have a modern annex where most of the rooms are. I decided to use the spa but couldn't convince anyone else to do so. Bed rest and watching the news seemed a higher priority.

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