Saturday, 23 June 2018

The Lisbon Adventure - Part 3

LX Factory and Almada

We were up nice and early again this morning, our plan was to check out a place beneath the Ponte 25 de Abril bridge called LX Factory.

The 3km walk took about 40 minutes and gave us a good appetite for breakfast. Whilst my wife chowed down on a toastie I eagerly awaited something I was determined to try during my time in Lisbon...

The Francesinha!!

A Francesinha is made with bread (the thicker the better), wet-cured ham, linguiça (Portuguese sausage) and either steak or roast beef. Everything is covered with melted cheese and a special tomato and beer sauce. Most times it’s served with a fried egg on top and french fries that you can dip in the sauce.

The lady serving us at the cafe wasn't convinced that a Francesinha was a good idea at 9.30am in the morning. I insisted I wanted one though and I'm so glad that I did, it was amazing! I'd never have thought that a sandwich served in a sauce could be so delicious but it was such a pleasure to eat and incredibly filling as it came with fries too. This magnificent feast cost just €9.50 and was well worth it!

Hugely content and stuffed full of Francesinha I walked with my wife through the entrance to LX Factory.

LX Factory was abandoned for decades but in 2008 it was reinvented. These days it's a mecca of cafés, bars, art spaces, vintage shops, tattoo studios, yoga studios and music venues. Be warned though, it doesn't really come to life until late morning so don't get here too early as we did.

To be honest though there's so much street art to be found within the LX Factory complex we were quite happy admiring it all until everything else opened later.

It's a huge site so it pays to check every single area or you could miss some great street art.

This was my favourite piece, I loved how the textures on the wall brought this piece alive.

The factory buildings remain relatively untouched with working freight elevators and many original fixtures and fittings. Up on the top floor we spotted this cafe, must be time for a coffee we thought.

There was so much to look at here, a real feast for the eyes.

With our coffee we shared a cake, everything came to just €3.60.

Just beyond LX Factory on the road leading to Belem we saw a sign for Village Underground, curiosity got the better of us so we went to take a look.

Its unique architectural structure is made from shipping containers and double decker buses, recycled into office spaces, a restaurant and a conference room.

It's located at the rear of the tram museum and a huge stage was being put up when we were there so I'm guessing it's an occasional concert venue too.

Apparently the best Pastel de nata can be found at Pasteis de Belem.  You can get here by train or walk as we did, Belem is about a 5km walk from the centre of Lisbon. The Pasteis de Belem website says "In 1837 we began making the original Pastéis de Belém, following an ancient recipe from the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos. That secret recipe is recreated every day in our bakery, by hand, using only traditional methods. Even today, the Pastéis de Belém offer the unique flavour of time-honoured Portuguese sweet making."
Be warned though this place is very popular! We joined the long queue and was shoved around as people were panic buying pastel de nata by the box full! 

After leaving Belem we returned to our hotel, grabbed our cases and checked into our final hotel on the trip. Once checked in we sat down to enjoy the holy grail of Pastel de nata.

The rumours were correct, these were hands down the best Pastel de nata I'd ever had the pleasure of eating! As soon as I'd finished one I wasted no time in eating the second one, pure bliss!

It was late afternoon and we decided to catch a ferry across the Tagus to Almada. The ferry took just 10 minutes and Almada promised views of Lisbon, the Cristo Rei statue and the Ponte 25 de Abril bridge. Before boarding a ferry I stopped for an ice cream, it was served in a cake like cone which had been stuffed full of chocolate spread, nice!

Goodbye Lisbon.

Hello Almada!

To be honest Almada seemed a bit disappointing at first glance, the city itself didn't have much to see or do. A few stunning buildings could be found like this church but much of it was slightly depressing really.

Somebody here clearly loved NOFX!

Once through the historical centre we discovered a viewing area with a bar. The views from up here were incredible. On the left you can see Cristo Rei, similar to the Christ statue in Rio de Janeiro, this Sacred Heart of Jesus statue stands over 100 meters tall on the opposite bank of the Tejo River from downtown Lisbon. Beside that you can see the 1.5 mile long Ponte 25 de Abril bridge, Golden Gate's twin sister.

There's a lift that connects the viewing platform to the waterside walkway below. 

The waterside walkway looked like a wonderful stretch for a stroll. First things first though, it was beer o' clock! Chances are if you're not served a Super Bock beer in Portugal then it'll be a Sagres. We asked for crisps too, just look at the crisp presentation!

The perfect spot to relax with a beer. Many of the buildings down below looked like they'd seen better days. There was a walkway still in use though which lead down to them and back towards the port, that's the direction we headed in next.

We considered eating here at first but the tables being so close to the water put us off a bit.

Now this was more like it!

Atira te ao rio was directly opposite Lisbon on thw waterside and offered stunning views across the Tagus.

In hindsight, totally true statement!

As we placed our order some dips, olives and bread were brought to the table. Had we known about this we probably wouldn't have ordered starters. Oh well, the more food the better!

The sangria here was pretty special.

My wife was craving tomatoes again so she ordered the tomato and onion starter, as did I. I was quite relieved it wasn't too big as that bread had really started to fill me up already. The tomatoes and onions were served in an olive oil with herbs.

My wife's main course was cabbage with cous cous and roasted onions.

I chose swordfish which was really fresh and delicious, it was served with roasted tomato and a pea and mint puree.

I forget the name of these drinks, it tasted slightly like plum wine though from what I recall.

The walk from the restaurant to the port passed a graffiti covered derelict factory. It was possible to further explore it which we were quite tempted to do, another drink was calling us though so we kept moving towards the port.

This stopped us in our tracks though, a burnt out car inside a building!

I've no idea what the huge derelict factory had previously been used for or when it had closed down.
Fishermen were making good use of the small jetties in front of the derelict factory. They looked like a great spot to watch the sun go down with a beer.

Finding a beer was a bit trickier than we expected but eventually we found a small supermarket. The main street in Almada was looking far more beautiful at night time.

We toasted the sun setting with a can of Sagres.

Back in Lisbon I scoffed a small doner kebab.

Click here for
Part 4 - The Sweet Art Museum and a final day in Lisbon.

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