Lisbon apartment

This item appears on page 48 of the September 2011 issue.

I almost hate to let the word out on this wonderful find! My husband, Mike, and I spent eight nights in an apartment on Praça de Luís Camões, in the Chiado (historic) part of Lisbon, in February ’11. From the first enquiry we e-mailed to the owner, Paulo, until the day we left Lisbon, this was one of the best apartment rental experiences we’ve ever had! All questions were answered promptly and thoroughly.

The apartment is listed as No. 77293 with Vacation Rentals By Owner (Austin, TX; 877/228-0710) and as No. 53774 with Home Away (Austin, TX; 877/202-9331). The price was €95-€105 (near $136-$151) per night or €665-€735 ($954-$1,055) per week.

When we landed in Lisbon, we called the number provided by Paulo. Miguel answered and met us at the apartment. Due to a transportation strike, it took us 45 minutes to get there via cab, but Miguel was patiently waiting.

He told us everything we needed to know about the apartment, answering questions as long as we wanted. He gave us a number to call 24 hours a day for anything we might need. We called the day before we left and his coworker arranged for a taxi to the airport, which arrived right on time.

In a modern building with two elevators, the apartment was clean, large, bright and equipped with everything we needed. The pictures and description on the website were accurate.

A minor inconvenience — adjusting the water was a little different than what we are used to. We learned not to run water anywhere when someone was in the shower.

The apartment is in a perfect, safe location. I enjoy getting out and taking long walks through different neighborhoods, so this was great. It was so much fun to be on Praça de Luís Camões with all the excitement day and night. The noise wasn’t a problem in the apartment with the windows shut, but I’m not sure how it would be in warm weather.

Tram No. 28 is just outside the front door. The metro is a two-minute walk away. (From street level down to the escalators is about 50 steps, so this would have been hard to manage, down or up, with baggage. We didn’t see an elevator. Also, the “down” escalators were never working.)

Shops and an ATM were very close. For our first grocery shopping, we went to the nearby store. After that, we picked up items at the Pingo Doce supermarket at the Cais de Sodré station — much nicer, not as crowded and with a larger selection.

In exploring the city, we made good use of the Bica Elevator (a funicular that connects Rua de São Paulo and Barrio Alto), the Santa Justa Lift (connects Baixa and Carmo Square) and the escalators in the Armazens do Chiado Mall at the end of Rua Garrett.

Once, we even took the metro to El Corte Ingles department store at the top of Parque Eduardo VII. There’s also a nice food court there.

Hebron, KY