Nuno is a great food appreciator and wanted to treat us to some fresh fish in a simple restaurant.
The bridge was originally named after the Portuguese dictator Salazar, who was Prime-minister from 1932 to 1968 - "Ponte Salazar". Right after the Carnation Revolution on the 25th of April 1974, the bridge was renamed "Ponte 25 de Abril".
Setúbal was previously an important center for the fishing industry, specially sardines, but unfortunately the factories linked to this industry are no longer operating. However the maritime and commercial ports still keep the links to the ocean alive. But the excellent beaches, resorts, hotels, the Arrábida natural park and the dolphin colony that inhabits the Sado River means that tourists are attracted to this area.
|Crossing the Tejo River|
Approaching the end of the bridge you can see the statue of Christ the King (Cristo Rei) in the town of Almada overlooking Lisbon on the other side of the river. The statue was inspired by the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The 40 tonnes cement statue took 10 years to be built and was inaugurated in 1959. The distance between the hands is 28mt, the same height as the body and the whole monument is 110mt high.
It was erected to express gratitude because the Portuguese were spared the effects of World War II. The statue can be climbed and apparently has great views of Lisbon.
In the 12 years I lived in Portugal we crossed the bridge a couple of times on our way to visit my parents who at one time lived on that side, but we never visited this monument.
Just across from the Sado Bay, the "Restinguinha" seafood restaurant looked very plain and basic, but the fresh fish was grilled on demand and tasted beautiful - the men had grilled sardines, and my daughter and I had the grilled cuttlefish with salad.
Somehow I forgot to photograph our meeting or the food!
|Restinguinha Fish Restaurant - Setubal|
|(photo from the net)|
|Sado Bay beaches across the restaurant|
After a long lunch we unfortunately had no time for sightseeing as we had another meeting with childhood friends of my husband in Lisbon. So back in the car, back across the bridge, we parked in an underground car park by at Chiado Square (Largo do Chiado) and walked across to "A Brasileira" Coffee shop.
It was a joyous occasion for my husband who hadn't seen these childhood friends for over 30 years, only having contact with them via facebook. So we spent another couple of hours catching up and reminiscing about funny things they remembered when growing up in Mozambique. Neither of those friends live in Portugal either and were on holidays too.
The coffee shop at 120 Rua Garrett near the Baixa-Chiado metro stop, is one of Lisbon's oldest and most famous cafes. It was opened in 1905 with an Art Deco interior, a beautiful ornamental door and outdoor tables to sell Brazilian coffee, a rarity in Lisbon then.
Over time it became a meeting point for struggling intellectuals and artists and later becoming a tourist attraction as a cafe.
One of it's frequent visitors was the writer Fernando Pessoa, and a bronze statue of the writer was placed outside the cafe in 1988.
|The lavish interior of A Brasileira Cafe (photo from net)|
|The impressive door, the statue of Fernando Pessoa with my husband sitting on the chair across from him|
Fernando Pessoa was a writer, poet, literary critic, publisher and philosopher, who was born in 1888 and died in 1935, and is considered one of the most significant literary figures of the 20th century and one of the greatest poets in the Portugal.
You'll notice the sign "Casa Havaneza" just behind the statue, and that shop specializing in tobacco and respective accessories, was inaugurated in 1864 in that same spot and has been there since.
|Some buildings around the Chiado square area|
And after much animated conversation we had to part again to meet another group of friends for dinner!
On the way there we made a small detour to LX Factory so I could photograph some murals. I found them this time!!
Situated in the suburb of Alcantara, just under the 25th of April bridge, this old textile factory dating from 1846 was abandoned and reopened as a trendy spot for the younger generation, with flexible workspaces in the top floors and plenty of eateries and boutiques on the ground floor. There was an interesting open air restaurant with live music and so much to see, so it was a pity that we didn't have time to wander around properly.
There's a fabulous book shop - Ler Devagar (Read slowly), that I didn't get to visit either, and you can even have a coffee and cake while browsing the books, how good is that?
Hopefully I'll visit it sometime in the future.
|LX Factory entry, building across the entry (future museum) - shops decor, open air restaurant|
|One of the open-air eateries at LX Factory, just under the 25th of April bridge|
|Ler Devagar (Read Slowly) bookshop (photo from net)|
And at 8pm we finally arrived at the "Restaurante O Xico", just in time for dinner with our friends. Situated in Paço de Arcos, about halfway between Lisbon and Cascais, it was also a seafood restaurant. This time we had a seafood rice.
We met these two couples in Perth when they came to visit their daughters who are my friends, and it was lovely to meet up with them again.
|The 3 couples after dinner|
And so ended a lovely day when we sat around food and friends for most of the day. That is so typical Portuguese!
Enjoy the weekend.