Ask Chuck

Location: Whitby, Ontario, Canada

Born in Malta but in Canada since age 5. Has written three books and presently does several columns about wine and food for various magazines.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Returning The Vehicle, Sofitel Lisbon Liberdade, Dinner With Ana Sofia, More Beaches and Shopping. and Shopping

To Lisbon Airport
We left the Quinta da Lagoalva the following morning with two sick girls in tow in the back seat. We took the main highway to Lisbon and fortunately did not have an mishaps along the way. The car was spick and span clean as I had cleaned it the night before. I did not want any hassles at the car return depot with two kids that looked green in the face. I had no sleep that night so I was not in the best of shape either.
The airport entry way to the car return area was clearly marked and actually went without any problem. It was in fact cheaper than I had predicted and we were soon off with a taxi to our hotel.
Sofitel Liberdade  
Sofitel Lisbon Liberdade is a luxury hotel with a supreme style. Located in downtown Lisbon, on the prestigious Avenue of the same name, its luxurious rooms lived up to all our expectations. Near Lisbon's convention center and business district, and bordering historic neighborhoods,the hotel combined business and relaxation with added features of the AdLib restaurant, a fusion of French culinary know-how and Portuguese cuisine. What we found exceptional was the service the staff provided with immediate assistance. It was no wonder that this hotel was rated five stars.
Breakfasts were more than complete with a massive choice of foods and dishes. The hotel was exceptional in its cleanliness and locations.
We settled down quickly and the girls were just as quick to fall into their beds and sleep their worries away.
A good night's sleep was all that was needed to get them back on the swing. Soon they were aiming at the fashion areas of Lisbon which, conveniently was within a few minutes walking distance. Darlene was anxious to visit the all night shopping centre, Cascais and Estoril Beaches as well a a host of local spots.
Dining was not a problem since most of the area was covered with a plethora of restaurants of all types and sizes. Many of the streets also had fashion outlets that would rival Toronto or New York and the streets seemed always busy with shoppers, gourmet eaters and wine sippers. The city was alive and like New York, Lisbon never seemed to sleep. In fact, one of the major "hot spots" was Lux-Fragil located beside the Tagus River was open from 6 PM to 6 AM and had three dance floors---one was fast and furious, the other milder and more relaxed and the third was more for quiet drinks and discussion. All were located in the same building. Here are the particulars:
Address: Avenida Infante Dom Henrique, Armazém A, Santa Apolónia
Opening hours: 6pm/6am. Closed on Sundays and Mondays
Admission: variable cover charge
Best time to arrive: 2am
Dress code: smart
Music: electronic particulars: 
In spite of the activity. the City of Lisbon was safe as safe can possibly be. No matter where one went, there seemed to be always a friendly guiding hand to help.
During the three days we were there, Darlene was the driving force in us visiting the fabulous beaches of Portugal via the Rapid Transit system that takes you throughout the area. The beaches were sunny and warm with a magnificent view of the ocean and the surrounding countryside. The "All Night Mall" was open just that----all night----and very North American in its style. I felt as though I was back in Toronto. I am not one for shopping for shopping's sake and was asleep on my feet when I returned to my good comfortable bed.
For those who have not seen Lisbon, it is probably one of the cleanest cities in the World and can boast some of the finest architecture anywhere. Belem which is an area within Lisbon is an ideal place to visit for those who love gastronomy, history, architecture, geography and just pure beauty.
For example there is the Belem Tower, erected in the 16th Century for defensive needs, is an imposing site as is the intricately built Jeronimos Monastery built in 1459 and was known to famous explorer Vasco d. a Gama. The monastery is situated in the parish of Santa Maria de Belem which is in itself full of historical and culinary sites.
People who visit Belem must taste the Pasteis de Belem which are warm custard tarts that are made fresh by a number of places next to the monastery (among other gastronomic delights). Line-ups for these tarts are long when they are being produced for consumption.
Lisbon is a magical city where one can rejuvenate and refresh his mind. Lisbon is a city for rejuvenation and imagination. When it came to leave, I was sorry to depart as every time I visit (I have been there four times) it is like coming alive again.
We departed Lisbon feeling very satisfied at making new friends and visiting new vistas. Another time will come again I am sure!!!
End of Visit