Shopping with Charm
The Vasco da Gama shopping centre opposite the Oriente train station. Its dramatic doorway once led to the attractions of Expo 98. Now it leads to a ‘maritime-themed’ glass roofed shopping gallery. The centre is laid out like a modern pleasure cruiser where balconies are stacked around a vast central atrium; in the Vasco da Gama, these balconies house almost 200 shops, a multiplex cinema and numerous food outlets. In a nod to life on the ocean waves, water periodically sprays over the glass roof; originally – but no longer – a fog horn sounded at random intervals. At the rear of each level are tables to which you can bring coffee or a snack from one of the kiosks and enjoy a distant view of the Tagus River. And the free wifi. Open daily 9.00 until 24.00.
The Chapelaria Azevedo Rua. In 1886, when the phylloxera plague demolished his vines on the banks of the Drouro river, the wine producer Manuel Aquino Azevedo Rua was forced out of business. Leaving Porto for Lisbon, and with borrowed money, he started a hat shop which is still going strong. The shop provides hats, berets and caps, along with walking sticks, umbrellas and scarves, to the famous and fastidious; since the 1980s, fashionable women have been included in the clientele. Look into the shop in downtown Rossio to admire the period decor and perhaps consider a beret or cap as a stylish souvenir of Lisbon. Praça Dom Pedro IV 73. Open Monday to Friday 9.30 to 19.00 and Saturday 10.00 to 19.00.
Joalharia– Ferreira Marques Filhos, Only a two-minute walk away from the Chapelaria Azevedo Rua, at Praca Dom Pedro IV 7-9, is the shop where James Bond (George Lazenby) bought a wedding ring for Tracy (Diana Riggs) in the film, ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’. Though 007’s ‘All the Love in the World’ wedding ring is no longer in production, this 1926 Art Deco shop still features a wide assortment of silver and gold jewellery along with fine watches.. Open Monday-Friday 10.00-19.00 and Saturday 10.00-13.00. From here it’s a short stroll to Manuel Tavarese, a wine shop founded in 1866. You’ll find a selection of Vintage Port Wines and rare Port Single Harvests including some Ports in airline carry-on sized bottles. Complimentary tastings will help you choose. There are nicely packaged gourmet products, too. Rua da Betesga 1 A-B. Open Monday-Saturday 9.30-19.30
Decorating a building with tiles is one of the oldest traditions of Portugal. In the Parc des Nacoes, the custom is honoured in the tile panels on the theme of ‘Oceans’, which line the walls in the Oriente train station. For the history of this tradition visit the National Museum of Azulejos in the16th century Convent of Madre de Deus. Browse the museum’s shop where reproductions of historic tiles are available for as little as €6 and very modern tiles indeed such as the Lady and the Frog by the contemporary artist Bela Silva (belasilva.com) are priced at €38. National Azulejo Museum, Rua Madre de Deus 4. Closed Monday open Tuesday through Sunday 10.00 to 18.00. Website: museudoazulejo.pt
The Sant’ Anna tile factory, founded in 1741, is still producing handmade tiles for an appreciative international audience. Take a free guided tour of the factory (no prior appointment necessary) and learn something of the processes involved; afterwards browse in the showroom where tile and tile panels, many reproducing 300 year old patterns, are for sale. Also available, a large variety of ceramic home products including vases, plates, chandeliers and lamps. If you’d like to try your own hand at tile decoration, sign up online for a 2-3 hour workshop (apply at santanna.com.pt.) The Sant’Anna factory and showrooms are at Calcada da Boa-Hora 96. Open Monday-Friday 9.30-12.30 and from 13.30 to18.00. There is also a Sant Anna showroom at Rua do Alecrim, 95, open 9.30 until 19.00 Monday through Saturday.