Archive for September, 2009

Casual Lounge Caffé in Belém

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Casual Lounge Caffé in Belém, Lisbon

Lisbon’s Belém district has the city’s most monumental landmarks and some of its most important museums, but it offers very few choices when it comes to nightlife or casual hangouts. Earlier this year, a new lounge café hoped to change that and it’s now a good spot to head to after a show at the Belém Cultural Center (CCB) nearby. It’s called Casual Lounge Caffé and it’s open throughout the day, from 11AM to 10PM and until midnight on weekends Tuesday to Sunday, from 12PM to 2AM. As the name suggests, it’s a casual and informal space with a clean decor and welcoming ambience, where you can have a sandwich, a waffle, a freshly squeezed juice, wine (by the glass or bottle), or a cocktail. It also offers newspapers, internet, and exhibitions that change every couple of months.
It’s found down the street behind the CCB, the one which tram 15 passes through, Rua Bartolomeu Dias, 148B.

5 Things You Must Do in Lisbon this October

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

September is almost over, so it’s time to look forward to another month. October in Lisbon will be filled with special events and activities, and there are five that you should strongly consider doing:

Lisbon

TAGUS RIVER CRUISE
See Lisbon from the perspective of its famous explorers — from the water. October is your last chance to go on the Tagus sightseeing tour until next April, so get your camera ready and go from the Age of Discovery monuments in the Belém district all the way to the futuristic Parque das Nações. You’ll admire Lisbon’s skyline, see its monuments from a different perspective, and gain a new appreciation for the city’s setting and atmosphere. Book it here: Tagus River Sightseeing Cruise

DOCLISBOA – INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL
It takes place in the city every October, and this year it will be from the 15th to the 25th. It presents the world’s best documentaries from the past year, and there will be several awards, including Best Feature Documentary.

EXPERIMENTA DESIGN EXHIBITIONS
You have until the 8th of November to experience one of Lisbon’s biggest cultural events that only happens every two years. Check out the special exhibitions of the Experimenta Design biennial, focusing on design, architecture, and contemporary culture.

SEE HOW LISBON STARTED GLOBALIZATION
We told you about it last June, so it’s time to remind you that Lisbon’s most important exhibition of the year is being shown right now in the Ancient Art Museum until the 11th of October. It’s called “Encompassing the Globe: Portugal and the World in the 16th and 17th Centuries,” organized by the Smithsonian Institution and previously shown in Washington DC and Brussels. A few priceless national works have been added to Lisbon’s exhibition and it’s a fascinating but often forgotten story showing how Portugal started globalization with its trade and cultural ties with the East.

THE HISTORY OF MODERN PORTUGUESE ART
As already posted here yesterday, the Chiado Museum is showing a special exhibition of modern Portuguese art which includes works from Portugal’s most prominent artists. That’s until the 31st of October and be sure to take advantage of the free Sunday mornings.

Lisbon’s Chiado Contemporary Art Museum Now and in the Future

Monday, September 28th, 2009

Lisbon's Chiado Museum - The National Museum of Contemporary ArtIt has just been announced that Lisbon’s Chiado Museum (officially the National Museum of Contemporary Art) will be expanding to a building currently occupied by a local police force. In the past, that same building was a convent and has been seen as the future annex of the Chiado Museum over the last decade. At the moment, the Contemporary Art Museum is housed in part of the former convent building, after a beautiful renovation by French architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte in 1994. It has around 4500 pieces of Portuguese art from the past century, but they’re not all displayed at the same time due to lack of space. Instead, the museum presents temporary thematic exhibitions of the permanent collection, but hopefully with this planned expansion it will be able to show all of its works together with special temporary exhibitions and educational services.
But as it is, this museum is already very much worth of a visit by admirers of contemporary art, and in particular by those curious about Portuguese artists. Now even more so, with its current exhibition “Modern Portuguese Art: From Amadeo to Paula Rego.” It’s being shown until the 31st of October, and if you go on a Sunday morning before 2PM, it’s free. It presents works from the first half of the 20th century in the cultural and political context of the time, as well as important works by Portuguese artists heavily influenced by the art of Paris, as was the case of Amadeo Souza Cardoso and Vieira da Silva. From more recent times there are pieces by Joaquim Rodrigo and Paula Rego, this last artist now with her own museum in Cascais, as recently reported here on GoLisbon.

Lisbon’s Castle of St. George Has a New Lounge

Friday, September 25th, 2009

Lounge Castelo de São Jorge

Lisbon’s Castle of St. George has just introduced a new lounge on top of one of its towers. As the name indicates, the “Super Bock Lounge” is sponsored by the national Super Bock beer, although it serves more than just the nectar of the gods. There are also fresh fruit juices, sangria, and caipirinhas to wash down a selection of snacks. Those include sandwiches, salads, and bruschettas, which can be enjoyed at a table shaded by red umbrellas or sitting on one of the long comfy seats. Look down from the terrace and you’ll have all of Lisbon directly in front of you, and if you stay until dinner time, there is the excellent Casa do Leão Restaurant just below you for a more complete and refined eating and drinking experience.
Staying at the castle until the sun sets is in fact a great idea, especially now when days remain long and warm in Lisbon, even with October just around the corner.  The new lounge opens at 12PM and remains in service until 8PM.

Porto is One of the “World’s Sexiest Affordable Destinations,” Says Travel & Leisure Magazine

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

Porto article in Travel & Leisure Magazine

The October issue of the American “Travel & Leisure” magazine lists what it calls “the world’s sexiest affordable destinations” for this year, and one of the nineteen choices is Porto. Portugal’s second-largest city stands out at the moment for the “21st century design” in its “medieval landscape” by world-renowned architects, such as Rem Koolhaas’ Casa da Musica and Alvaro Siza Vieira’s Serralves Contemporary Art Museum. The magazine suggests a stay at the Pestana Porto Hotel which overlooks the Douro River, and recommends the seaside Shis restaurant for an Asian-Portuguese meal. A couple of other suggestions are the classic and historical landmarks that are the Majestic café and the Lello & Irmão bookshop.

If you want to find out more about these attractions, be sure to check out the Go Oporto website, which has just been completely updated, listing more restaurants, hotels, hostels, shops, and all that’s hot in Portugal’s increasingly-cool city.

Another Portugal-related article in the October issue of Travel & Leisure is one entitled “Exploring Goa’s Glamour,” which highlights some of the best of the former Portuguese colony in India, saying that “on India’s west coast, travelers can find rugged beaches, Portuguese-inspired architecture, and a handful of impeccable hideaways.”

The European Wine Bloggers Conference in Lisbon

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

European Wine Bloggers Conference in LisbonFrom October 30th to November 1st, Lisbon will bring together wine writers, winemakers, foodies, wine retailers and distributors from around the world for a special wine conference. Lisbon is of course the capital of a great wine country, whose labels have become more popular and of a higher quality each new year, and participants of the conference will be able to sample the unique diversity of Portuguese wines together with a wide range of international labels. If you love all kinds of wine, you may take a look at the conference’s website to find out how you can participate in it. You’ll stay at the Hotel VIP Grand Lisboa and visit a wine region while also sampling traditional and contemporary Portuguese cuisine along the way.
GoLisbon.com has joined the organization in guiding the conference participants through Lisbon, by providing a number of suggestions for days and nights around the city. Those suggestions have been posted over the summer on their website and you may want to check them out for some extra Lisbon ideas even if you won’t be able to be part of the conference:

5 Best Wine Shops in Lisbon

A Night Out in Lisbon’s Alfama

Three Laid-Back Wine Bars in Lisbon

“Sumaria” – Something New and Juicy in Alfama

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Sumaria, Alfama, Lisboa

UPDATE: THIS CAFÉ HAS CLOSED

Climbing Lisbon’s steep hills is always rewarded with a viewpoint, the ancient castle, or a café, but along the way you’ll likely want to take it slow and rest from time to time. If you find yourself climbing the hill from the cathedral towards the castle, now you have a fresh and juicy new way to recover some of your energy just before you reach the Santa Luzia viewpoint. It’s called “Sumaria” and it opened this month in a tiny space offering freshly squeezed fruit juices which you can grab and take to enjoy sitting at the viewpoints or the castle just a few steps away. Each juice costs €2.50 and there is always a special “juice of the day” for €2.20. You can choose from orange, grape, melon, watermelon, pear, papaya, apple, pineapple, among other fruits which can be squeezed alone or in a combination of a few. Other choices include €3 smoothies or a €1 lemonade, or a special apple and ginger mix which is my personal favorite.
The exact address is Largo do Limoeiro, 13, but all you need to know is that it is the street through which tram 28 rattles through, up from the cathedral towards the Alfama viewpoints and the castle.

Lisbon in the Future: The Cascais Marina Tower

Monday, September 21st, 2009

Cascais Marina Tower

Continuing our series of Lisbon in the Future reports, today we bring you a project for outside the city, in Cascais, or more specifically for the Cascais marina. It’s a 100m-high tower with 30 floors that will be a hotel offering 200 rooms called Hotel da Luz and designed by Pedro Appleton of Lisbon-based Promontório Arquitectos. It was first announced in 2006 and it was hoped that it would be unveiled in 2009, but it’s clearly behind schedule and no new updates have been given. Still, the project remained “on the table” as of a few months ago.
It’s an architecturally ambitious project, as this will be a glass tower that is more common in emerging metropolises like Dubai than in a European resort town, but it’s surely to become an icon not just of Cascais but of the entire Lisbon region.

Depeche Mode, Green Day, and the Backstreet Boys – Just Some of the Bands in Concert in Lisbon this Fall

Friday, September 18th, 2009

Lisbon concerts

The summer will officially be over next week, and so are Lisbon’s several annual music festivals of that season, but it doesn’t mean the music has stopped playing in Lisbon. The city has a large number of concerts already scheduled until the end of the year, and there are a couple of them already lined up for 2010. GoLisbon has just updated its Lisbon Calendar of Events where you can find out who’s coming to rock the city, which includes Green Day at the end of this month, the Backstreet Boys in late October, and Depeche Mode in November. In addition to knowing when all the bands will be in town, you can also get ticket information on that page, as well as remind yourself of the regular events in the city.

Lisbon is the Setting of Upcoming Brad Pitt and Al Pacino Movie

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

Brad PittAs GoLisbon previously reported, Hollywood has a new home in Portugal, and this week it was announced that a new movie starring Brad Pitt, Al Pacino, and Penelope Cruz will be filmed around Portugal next year. Most of the scenes will be shot in Algarve, but will also move up the country to Lisbon, Porto, and Aveiro. It’s a remake of the classic “Le Mans” which starred Steve McQueen in 1971, and this time it will be directed by Wolfgang Peterson who directed 2004’s “Troy”. The scheduled dates for filming are the month of August, as the script is still being worked on at the moment. The total budget for this film is 52 million dollars and is expected to have a crew of 600.
Another production planned for Portugal is a movie starring Richard Gere playing the role of Aristides Sousa Mendes, a Portuguese diplomat who allowed over 30,000 Jews to escape the Nazis during WWII. Other productions include a vampire thriller with Kevin Bacon, a science-fiction film starring Sigouney Weaver, a western with Val Kilmer as the star, and a Larry Cohen thriller starring Ethan Hawke.