Postcards from Portugal – Almada

Almada is Lisbon’s little sister on the south side of the Tagus River. It has a population of about 200,000 and is connected to Lisbon by the 25 de Abril Bridge and a ferry. We are staying in a wonderful Airbnb here. Our studio apartment is in an old house in the historic center of Almada. We have an interior courtyard and a lemon tree, just what you would picture when you thinking Portugal. The neighborhood is very old world, narrow, twisty streets and crumbling buildings. There are many tiny grocery stores here where the people of our street do there daily shopping and then stop for a coffee and pastry and a visit in one of the many cafés. The people are incredibly friendly and helpful. We don’t speak any Portuguese, so we are so grateful to everyone for trying so hard to speak English to us. And if we come across someone who doesn’t know English they’ll find a neighbor who does. It’s very sweet and we feel so welcome.

 

When traveling for a lengthy period of time like we are doing, you have to sometimes take a bit of time off for some housekeeping. For example we had to find a laundromat in the neighborhood, pretty pricey here in Europe by the way. So I’m happy that our next place comes with a washing machine.screenshot_2018-12-12-12-08-03

It’s not all chores though. Today we visited Casa da Cerca here in Almada. This is a cozy contemporary art museum with a botanical garden especially focused on plants used for art. The house itself was built in the 17th and 18th century. There is a beautiful courtyard with orange trees that’s perfect for catching the December sun. We also love the coffee shop here and the amazing view of Lisbon and the 25 de Abril Bridge. I think, this place is going to become a favorite of mine.img_20181209_100237_8651233354079.jpg

Almada has 3 above ground metro lines as well as buses so it’s easy to go exploring. My husband, who is a birdwatcher, wanted to find a place to view some wildlife and so we hopped on the metro and went to Corroios. Here besides various shorebirds we also discovered a 600 year old tidal mill that has been turned into a small museum. It was very interesting to learn how the tides were used to power the mill and how in this area the flour was used to produce the hard tack needed to provision the Portuguese navy and merchant ships in those days.

If we walk down the hill for about 15 minutes from our apartment we come to Cacilhas on the river front. There are a lot of restaurants here that display their fresh meat and especially sea food in the window. You pick out what you want to eat and they cook it for you. According to the locals you can’t get better food anywhere in Portugal, who am I to argue?20181206_134539

From Cacilhas you can take a ferry to Cais do Sodre on the Lisbon side, it only takes about 10 minutes to cross. It’s very popular with commuters, so mornings and after work can be busy. At Cais do Sodre you can hop on the metro, bus or tram and easily get to any place in the city. If you are staying in Almada and want to plan excursions into Lisbon beware, Google maps does not know about the ferry. A couple of times it misled us or thought we should fly across the river so we learned to get to the Lisbon side before working out our route for the day.

I am really enjoying Almada. It’s relaxed and quiet and less expensive than Lisbon, and it’s still convenient to get to the city. I think, I would stay here again if we get a chance to return here.

 

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