Portugal - Exploring Lisbon - The Baixa

On our first full day in Lisbon, we decided to begin by exploring the Baixa or central business district.  This neighborhood was designed and built after the 1755 earthquake destroyed the city.  We passed by Confeitaria Nacional, a popular bakery, and stopped instead at Casa Brasileira.
We couldn't resist all the goodies in the window.
We enjoyed our first pastel de nata (cream custard tart) at Casa Brasileira.
We continued our walk through the Baixa past the maritime logo of the Banco Nacional Ultramarino.
We emerged at Praça do Comércio.
We caught our first glimpse of Lisbon's own Golden Gate Bridge.
It was raining pretty hard so we sought a place where we could relax and wait out the storm.  We found it at ViniPortugal, a venue that showcases Portuguese wines with free tastings.
In return, all they ask is that visitors fill out a form summarizing their impressions of the wines.  Each person can taste up to four wines and 3 different wine regions in Portugal are featured each month.  We sampled wines from the Beira Interior (Quintas dos Currais, vinho blanco; Piornos, reserva tinto; Quinta dos Termos) and Tejo (Quinta do Casal Branco, vinho tinto; Quinta da Rocha; Quinta da Lagoalva; "Yes We Can" red wine from Herdade de Cadouços).  The wines were hit or miss.  The ones that were good were very good -- especially given the typical price point of <5 to <10 euros a bottle.
Overall, it was a fun way to spend an hour while we waited out the rain.  As we emerged, a bit of blue was beginning to peek through the clouds.
We stopped to have a look at Vasco da Gama's likeness sculpted into the arch framing the plaza.
We walked back into the Baixa and explored the grid-like streets.  We found a statue commemorating the local tile workers in the neighborhood outside Igreja Paróquia de São Nicolau.
We passed through Praça da Figueira...
...and stopped at A Ginginha, an establishment specializing in Portugal's finest cherry brandy.
For about a euro, we got a shot complete with a sour cherry garnish.  It was just before lunchtime, but there was a constant stream of people coming up to the counter.
It was a welcome treat on a cold day.  From here, we walked to Rossio station, a fine example of neo-manueline architecture.
We admired the rainbow over the Rossio and wound our way down a side street nearby to conjure up lunch.
We had an egg sandwich and fish cake at Ginjinha Popular, a place full of local feel and flavor.
We could see Castelo São Jorge beckoning to us in the distance and that's when the inspiration struck for our afternoon walk. Stay tuned...

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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: Portugal - Exploring Lisbon - The Baixa
Portugal - Exploring Lisbon - The Baixa
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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog
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