Tile. Medicine. Pastry.

Tile murals of old Lisbon surround the outside of the Sant’Anna showroom.

Brett and I both still feel quite miserable (although better than yesterday), but today was gorgeous – warm and sunny – so we decided to go out for a short while and visit the showroom of Fábrica Sant’Anna, located a short distance away from our apartment. Fábrica Sant’Anna is Lisbon’s oldest azulejos (tile) maker, in business since 1741. Portugal is known for its decorative tiles, which can be seen everywhere and can cover entire buildings (serving as sort of temperature control) or be used to create historic or cultural murals, tile panels or other decorations. Although we had hoped to visit the national tile museum, the Sant’Anna showroom was an easy outing for us and a delightful way to check out traditional Portuguese tiles and ceramics.

Just a few of the many hand-painted tile designs produced by Sant’Anna.
This lovely blue and yellow tile panel could be installed either inside or outside for decoration.

Fabrica Sant’Anna is the last of its kind in Lisbon, a store where every piece of ceramic is made and painted by hand – many of the tile products seen around town in souvenir and other shops are actually machine-made these days. Prices at Sant’Anna are not low, but they are lower than many other tile shops in Lisbon. The Sant’Anna ceramic factory is in Belem, west of Lisbon, and tours are available by appointment. However, their shop in the Chiado neighborhood display all their products, from individual tiles to dishes to decor to fountains to bathroom sinks, in designs from traditional to modern. Blue seems to be the predominant color used, but all the colors of the rainbow can be found throughout the shop.

Every type of dish imaginable it seemed could be found in the showroom, and of course more beautiful tiles. The shop also does custom designs and colors.
Beautiful traditional farm scene panel

After spending awhile looking at and gushing over the many different tile patterns and other products on display (and being thankful we don’t have room in our suitcases for any of it because we would have otherwise purchased several pieces), we headed back to the apartment. On the way we stopped in a pharmacy to ask about cold medicine and came away with cough syrup for Brett, cold tablets for me, Tylenol, and throat lozenges . . . all for a very affordable price. And they are working! We are still far from being well, but we are coughing less and feeling a bit better.

Another delicious bakery stop!

We also wanted to make another stop at the neighborhood bakery we visited the other day. The waiter recognized us from our previous time there and in a matter of moments had us seated and our treats in front of us: a peach cinnamon bun and café Americano for Brett, and sponge cake and fresh-squeezed orange juice for me, loaded with vitamin C in every sip! We also ordered two Pastel de Nata to enjoy later this evening.

After we finished our treats we were feeling too exhausted to do anything more so it was time to head back to the apartment, happily downhill all the way. It was a short but lovely outing in our neighborhood, and we’re glad we made the time. As for tomorrow, who knows? We will see how we feel in the morning before deciding if we are up to going out again, and if so, we’ll decide where then.


14 thoughts on “Tile. Medicine. Pastry.

    1. We are still both very, very sick – neither of us has a cold like this in years. We’re not getting to see as much of Lisbon as we hoped, but have discovered we actually enjoy just doing things around the neighborhood versus rushing around to do a lot of sightseeing.


  1. So very sorry your week in Lisbon is turning out to be more about recuperating than seeing the city, but the glimpses you are getting should be a good way to decide if you want to return someday when you are feeling better! And I hope that is very soon (the feeling better part, not the returning to Lisbon part!). Absolutely beautiful in Portland right now, COLD dry and clear, views of mountains are amazing, tree is up in Pioneer Square! Have a safe trip on Thursday.


    1. It’s looking more and more like Lisbon is going to be bust for us – we just can’t seem to shake this thing and now we need to be looking at being well enough to fly on Thursday. I am dreading those flights, especially the descending part. We thought we might go out to dinner tonight but that fell apart because neither of us is up to it (and I couldn’t taste the food anyway). We are just going to have to come back some day.

      Happy that Portland weather is great now but it’s supposed to be raining when we arrive on Saturday. 😦


  2. Hi Laura, I enjoy following your travels…hoping you can visit a doctor for a check before you fly to Oregon. We always internationally travel with a “Z pack” regimen of antibiotics just in case of this type of situation. As your other readers have thoughtfully suggested it would be prudent to get medical care if you’ve been ill with no improvement or recovery before flying home. Your fellow passengers will thank you…Best wishes-Dee


    1. Hi Dee – thank you for your concern. We are continuing to improve, just not very fast, which is what happens with a cold. No body aches or pains, no fever for me, so it’s just a nasty head cold and thankfully not the flu. Brett is almost over his cold but I’m playing catch-up since I picked it up a few days later. Medicine from the pharmacy here has helped and the coughing has pretty much stopped. For now my head is very, very stuffy and feels like a soggy sponge. We will continue to rest tomorrow and most of Thursday (our flight isn’t until 8:30 pm on Thursday) and will take it from there. The one medicine they didn’t give me here is a decongestant – that’s what I really need, but will have my daughter bring some to the hotel the evening we arrive in Boston. I’m sad that we’ve had to miss so much of Lisbon!


  3. The tiles are so beautiful, and I’m glad you were up to at least that short outing. So sorry you continue to be ill and hope the meds help. I wish I could overnight you some Mucinex-D. That’s the only thing that help my sinuses when I get that kind of cold and flying is painful, as you know. Here’s hoping you are both quite a bit better by Thursday!


    1. Musinex-D is what I need right now! The pharmacist gave me something to stop my nose from running, but I think it’s more anti-allergy than a decongestant – the nose stops running but my head hurts more and feels stuffier. We researched so many cold medicines before we traveled and all of them appeared to be illegal to bring into the countries we were visiting. Neither of us has had a cold in ages, but I’ve had two on this trip! The change is weather I think is part of it, another part is all the stuff we inadvertently touch here, and we’ve also had radiators in each apartment – dry head can aggravate colds. We are both getting better, albeit slowly, but fingers and toes are crossed that we’re much better by Thursday.


  4. Just a note more-some airports have Sudafed or decongestants in the travel stores as pilots and crew need them. Hope you can get some soo -Der


  5. Hope you feel better before your flight! We will be flying in on the 21st! 🙂

    Lisbon is definitely on our list of cities to visit some day. The tiles are gorgeous!


    1. We are very sad that we haven’t been able to do more in Portugal. I think if we come back to Europe it will be at the top of our list.

      We are thankfully getting better day by day – I am going through the Great Drainage now, getting everything out of my stuffy sinuses and lungs. Not pretty, but I sure feel much, much better.

      P.S. If you are passing through Portland on your visit to the coast and have time to get together let me know – I’d love to do a meet-up!


      1. We will be in PDX through the first week of January. Let me know if anything meshes with your schedule – I’d love to get together if possible!


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