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The Best Cafe in Lisbon – Cafe da Garagem

Best Cafe in Lisbon - view

 

It really is the best cafe in Lisbon. We figured this out as soon as we stepped inside.

The place is relaxed, well-decorated and offers comfy chairs perfectly positioned in front of huge windows overlooking the city below. There’s a great balcony with tables, too. I think the view from this cafe is one of the best views of the city by far.

The food and drink here are excellent and cheap. We enjoyed coffee followed by a bottle of vinho verde (12 Euros) and a huge cheese and homemade jam platter that was more than enough for two people to get stuffed on.

The staff are friendly, the atmosphere cozy and I can’t think of a better spot to spend a couple of hours in Lisbon, especially in the evening as the sun sets in front of you. (The cafe opens at 3pm or 5pm depending on the day.)

As one review I read put it, “Place should be packed, but it’s amazingly quiet.

I absolutely agree with that statement. It’s the best cafe in Lisbon that apparently not many people know about.

This is Cafe da Garagem.

My girlfriend found it online one day when we wanted to escape the very touristy Rossio Square. We were looking for something different and this place popped up, along with the words ‘hidden gem’.

Best Cafe in Lisbon - Cafe da Garagem

It’s a funny place to reach, I’ll say that. Located on the same hill as, but underneath, the imposing Castelo de Sao Jorge, we had to take two long outdoor escalators upwards, meander along a couple of narrow residential lanes, walk up two big flights of stairs and then find the relatively simple entrance. It’s about a 15 minute wander from Rossio Square in the end.

But all that climbing and meandering is worth it!

As soon as we took a seat in front of the windows, we were thrilled that we chose this cafe for our evening break. It wasn’t too crowded at all, the wifi worked quite well in case you want to browse or do some work on your laptop and nobody seems to care how long you stay there. It’s open until midnight as well.

However, it really comes down to the view. It’s worth it just for that, especially since you’ll be far away from the tourist crowds on the Santa Justa viewpoint or any of the other well-known lookout spots that most tourists flock to.

Why not enjoy a perfect combination of atmosphere, comfort, quality food and drink and a slightly off the beaten path location along with that view instead? That’s the combination that made Cafe da Garagem the best cafe in Lisbon in our opinion.

Enjoy!

 

(Want to know the one place you need to visit in Cascais, Portugal? Check out my post: The Bookbinder of Cascais)

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The Roadblocks Airbnb Must Tackle on Its Way to Possible IPO: Skift’s Latest Research

Skift Take: What is hurting Airbnb’s ability to see true success? Increasing regulation, the company’s potential impact on local housing markets and the traditional hotel sector, and the company’s increasing role in hospitality and accommodation distribution. In this report, we attack all three.

— Rebecca Stone

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The Bookbinder of Cascais (The One Thing You Need To Do In Cascais)

Highlight of Cascais - Arte No Livro

If you ever find yourself in Cascais, Portugal, please walk past the beaches.

Head into the heart of the old town, but do not stop. Ignore the line at Santini’s ice cream shop, pay no attention to the imposing fortress and whatever you do, stay far away from the small market in front of the Marechal Carmona Park.

You’ll have time for this stuff later.

For now, keep your eyes straight ahead and walk away from all the activity and crowds. Follow your map towards those picturesque homes and traffic-less streets of the quiet neighborhood just west of the town center. Keep walking, even when you think you’ve gone too far. You’re on your way to the real highlight of Cascais.

Your destination is 310A Avenida Emidio Navarro.

——

You’ll know when you’ve arrived. While the sign on the sidewalk is small and simple, the massive, unmissable hanging plant, with its bold pink flowers, covering the entire front facade, makes this address stand out among the others.

And now, all that’s left to do is enter.

——

Welcome to Arte No Livro Bookbinding and Restoration.

Yes, bookbinders.

During our random stroll through the part of Cascais that apparently few other travelers stroll around, we found ourselves attracted by the word “livro” (book) on the sign. Had we been walking on the other side of the street we would have easily missed it.

Once inside, and expecting a bookshop, we stepped into a world not so much like a bookshop at all but very much unlike any other world we’ve wandered through before.

We knew nothing about the art of bookbinding. I probably never gave it more than a few seconds thought, if that, in my entire life. But that was all about to change.

——

We were greeted by Fernando, the 68 year old owner of Arte No Livro. His father, Vitor, started the business back in 1917, becoming one of the most well known bookbinders in all of Portugal. Once he passed away, Fernando took over.

We then met his daughter, Andreia, who gave up her career in 2010 to dedicate her life to the family tradition.

After hearing the initial story of the business, we had a couple of questions, and before we knew it, the answers were provided by a complete tour of the peaceful and intriguing two-room operation.

Andreia seemed more than happy to take a break from her work in order to show two foreigners around, and to explain every aspect of what they do, even though we clearly were not going to bring them any books to be re-bound.

Highlight of Cascais - Arte No Livro Bookbinders

Highlight of Cascais - Arte No Livro workshop

The variety of strange-looking and well worn machines and tools they use today to restore books are all original, most of them dating back 60 years. They all still function exactly as they should.

There are book parts scattered everywhere, along tables small and large, shreds of paper, book covers, spines…there are pieces of book parts galore as well.

The dying books dropped off by customers from around Portugal rest silently on the tables and shelves until it is their turn to be brought back to life. These are the books so precious to someone that those people are willing to spend good money to have the binding stripped, pages unsewn and covers removed, all so that they can be replaced with finer, more stunning and sturdier versions.

Fernando uses a narrow tool to carve off an old book cover while his daughter shows us the delicate sticks she uses to create beautiful engravings on the front covers of newly restored books.

In the far back corner a lone and comfortable lounge chair waits patiently for anyone looking for an ideal spot to read. A reading lamp next to it is more than ready to provide the light.

While the main room of Arte No Livro is dimly lit and the wooden furniture heavy and serious, the overall atmosphere remains light and cheery. It’s the atmosphere of a hidden place lost in time, yet containing so much joyous wisdom, limitless love and delightful devotion.

——

If you told me a bookbinding business would be the highlight of Cascais for us, you know how it goes. A chuckle perhaps? Or a wave of the hand in that ‘you’re silly!’ kind of way?

But it’s true. It was the highlight of Cascais. And it’s also why I love travel.

We remained inside for a mere half an hour, however, this is far more than you would think given the size and focus of the place.

Our final ten minutes were spent flipping through the books on the public bookshelves. There was an attractive pocket sized book about an island in Amsterdam, elaborately bound, certainly with a history that most likely nobody knows. A couple of books on those shelves we’d heard of, most we hadn’t, yet there we were touching and opening them all, as Andreia had instructed us to do.

It was impossible to not feel a child-like happiness while inside. It was also impossible to not feel a deep appreciation for the power and potential of all books and even more, for the dedicated, yet seldom-considered, craftsmen and craftswomen who keep these books alive.

To those involved in the respectable art of bookbinding, I offer a genuine salute to you.

Highlight of Cascais - inside Arte No Livro

As we finally turned to leave, we noticed what appeared to be a remarkably tiny book in a display case. It was the size of the finger nail on my pinky finger.

We asked Andreia if it was a real book.

She smiled widely, opened the display case and took out this magnificent thing, with its highly detailed cover and pages full of actual text inside. You’d need a very strong magnifying glass to read it but this naturally made the book even more impressive.

All we could do is shake our heads in wondrous disbelief.

With that we said our goodbyes and thank you’s, thank you’s which were as sincere as could be.

We came to Cascais for the beaches and the old town. And sure, we spent time at, and thoroughly enjoyed, both.

But if you ask me about this quaint fishing village outside of Lisbon and my eyes light up with a trace of some fondly remembered secret, you now know where that light comes from.

Luckily, that secret place is open to everyone. And it’s well worth discovering.

Are you ready? Do you have any ‘highlight of Cascais’ experiences to share from your own travels?

(Previous post on Wandering Earl: How to Get Massive Hotel Discounts)

The post The Bookbinder of Cascais (The One Thing You Need To Do In Cascais) appeared first on Wandering Earl.

The Promise of Voice and 8 Other Hospitality Trends This Week

VRBO

A Maui vacation rental on VRBO is shown. Voice has tremendous potential to transform the vacation rental or private accommodation experience. VRBO

Skift Take: This week in hospitality, don’t miss a long read on the potential of voice technology for vacation rentals and private accommodations, plus stories on Hyatt’s Two Roads Hospitality deal and Wyndham’s La Quinta deal.

— Sarah Enelow-Snyder

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How Travel Agent Trade Group Fought Its Way Back From Near-Extinction

American Society of Travel Advisors  / flickr.com

American Society of Travel Advisors CEO Zane Kerby addressed the association’s Advocacy Dinner August 22, 2018. Kerby has been instrumental in the association’s comeback. American Society of Travel Advisors / flickr.com

Skift Take: These travel advisors have a certain swagger about them these days. Their U.S. trade association, the newly named American Society of Travel Advisors, is now back among the living, and has the challenge of keeping things moving in the right direction.

— Dennis Schaal

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Hyatt’s High Hopes for Two Roads Revealed

Two Roads Hospitality

Hyatt intends to close its $480 million purchase of Two Roads Hospitality within the next two to three weeks. Pictured here is the Motif Seattle, which is part of Two Roads. Two Roads Hospitality

Skift Take: We all knew Hyatt was in the mood for a major acquisition. (NH Hotel Group or Starwood, anyone?) And now we have a much better idea of what its plans are for Two Roads, as well as other acquisitions down the line.

— Deanna Ting

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Don’t Accuse This Hotel Musical Director of Being the Muzak Guy

Aria Hotel Budapest

Kornél Magyar (left) sharing some of his musical insights with guests at the Aria Hotel in Budapest. Aria Hotel Budapest

Skift Take: It’s likely that the musical experience of most hotel employees doesn’t extend far beyond karaoke. Not the case for a certain Hungarian concierge, whose vast musical background strikes a special chord with guests.

— Laura Powell

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Millennium & Copthorne Blames Struggles on Rising Costs in Hospitality

Millennium and Copthorne Hotels

The Hard Days Night Hotel in Liverpool claims to be the world’s only Beatles inspired hotel. Parent company Millennium and Copthorne Hotels reported a fall in third quarter profits. Millennium and Copthorne Hotels

Skift Take: The abrupt departure of a CEO and falling profit set off plenty of alarm bells. Will Millennium & Copthorne be able to turn things around, or do its struggles represent the start of a wider industry slowdown?

— Patrick Whyte

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