…..After our sugar kick from the Pasteis de Nata, we were ready and energised to soak up more of the city. Hopping back on a tram (thankfully a less crowded tram) we aimed to head back towards the city, but on a whim decided to jump off at the bridge, and then realising we were footsteps from the The X Factory. Yet again another last minute decision like the majority of our time in Lisbon, that Fado fate!
The X Factory was just that really cool and hip place to hang out, shop, have a drink or just be. We almost felt as if we were in a Brooklyn or New York but actually way better. The X Factory is basically an industrial space, an array of warehouses and factories converted into shops and cafes, selling vintage clothes & furniture, art, fabrics, fashion, music and tattoo shops. A real blend of old and new Lisbon sitting rather stylishly but breezily, under the Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge. Stop for a mooch around the shops and take a beer in one of the many bars/cafes/restaurants with the locals. A real hub of creative activity with the warehouse walls still pretty much kept to their original state but now highlighted with street art and colour. Basically it just had a bloody cool vibe.
Walking back into the city from The X Factory, we came to the Time Out Market, another hub of splendour, a huge food hall with 35 different kiosks and restaurants, selling sardines, chocolate, hams, custard tarts. There are also a scattering of great restaurants with top chefs, doing their thing. All rather too good to be true but maybe complete panic land if you find it hard to make a decision. We had a good look around and just enjoyed people watching in a non weird way. We considered grabbing a snack and a drink but something about coming from one the coldest of UK Summers pulled us outside to soak up as much sun as possible, so we opted for one of the pop up bars along the water. Time Out however, will be visited and indulged in again one day.
Back to the apartment, to chill, a bit of shut eye and to soak up the city from our balcony before deciding on dinner. I had a few ideas of places I was hoping to go pre arriving in Lisbon, but yet again that plan didn’t come to fruition, it turns out getting a table on a weekend is like gold dust. Luckily Joana from Baixa House, was completely determined to find us something quite last minute and so, welcome an evening of Fado!
We were booked to eat at 8pm, with the rules being you have to be there before 8. About a 10 minute walk from the Baixa apartment in the Alfarmo district, back through to the old winding, hilly cobbled streets. We had just enough time to sit with a beer at one of the many street bars, scattered about the city. Grab a couple of Sagres’ in a good old plastic glass, sit on a bench, or go for a wander. I loved this really chilled way of having a pre dinner drink, taking in the church, the trams and the locals, reflecting on the day and soaking up that light that you only seem to get in European cities late evening…..Yes that was a good half hour.
So onto our evening of Fado at A Baiuca. You could not get more traditional than this, Portuguese cheeses, fish dishes and chocolate puddings were brought to the communal tables in the tiniest little taberna. Here where when the chefs and waiters weren’t cooking up the great grub, they came out to sing their stories, as did locals who wanted to share their take on Fado tales. It is known as vadio variety, which basically means animator, but it doesn’t mean the singing is any less from the heart. People were peeping in from the street to listen to the soulful stories, accompanied by two musicians playing the Viola baixo. Absolutely no speaking allowed, just quiet time for someone to tell their tale, and for once, time for others to just sit back and listen…..
…..Beautifully authentic evening in Lisbon, and one I didn’t even know existed an hour before……Call it fate!
More from Lisbon soon…
We flew with EasyJet
We stayed at the beautiful Baixa House
Thank you for reading x