Yesterday was markedly less exciting than the day before. But really, any day that doesn’t involve careening through tiny streets in an oversized go-cart seems staid in comparison. So I can handle less excitement.

We dealt with bureaucracy for the most part, and managed to squeeze in two flats and a ridiculously long lunch (unfortunately the leisure was not ours, but rather the restaurant staff’s) in between. But Gabe got a bank account started, which was a big item on our checklist, and we explored the area where our now-favorite flat (that of the ground floor and new refurbish) is located.

To our utter delight, we discovered that the store directly across from what would be our windows is not a butcher’s, as I’d originally thought from the owner’s red-splattered smock. Rather it belongs to a little old man who does art restoration — frames, paintings, statues, you name it. He let us walk around his tiny shop and ask him questions about the neighborhood, all with a rather bemused look on his face.

The best part is that the flat is right off the Praca dos Restauradores — the Place of the Restorers. How fitting! Somehow this just made the place that much more attractive, because where else can you live across from a little old man who restores paintings from the 17th century? (The flat is in the burgundy house in the pictures below.)

Our delight grew even further (as you can see by the grins on our faces) when we discovered that ten minutes’ walk — straight uphill, mind you — from the flat is one of the amazing miradoures (viewpoints) over the city, and by far one of the nicest we’ve seen yet. The park is newly redone, and there’s two little kiosks there, selling drinks and sandwiches and playing beautiful Portuguese music. In the other direction, i.e. downhill, there’s another smaller park, covered in huge shady banyan trees. Not bad for a neighborhood!

Our grins quickly diminished after this point, as we went to look at what turned out to be a tiny attic loft at the top of five flights of stairs, with low, slanted ceilings and drug deals being done right outside the front door. We couldn’t leave that place fast enough! I figure if I brained myself the first time I entered the bathroom, guaranteed I would do myself serious injury by the end of the first month, so no thank you.

We then stopped for a quick bite of lunch before our next apartment viewing, in what looked like a nice place but which turned into an hour long ordeal. They place only served carpaccio (thinly sliced meat or fish), which is a great concept, but since the waitress/cook gossiped with a customer as she sliced the salmon and laid it slowly, meticulously on a plate, piece by paper-thin piece, the concept quickly lost its appeal as our appetites — and disbelief — grew.

After it had taken her half an hour to make my salad plus two others, we cancelled Gabe’s order (which they hadn’t even started on!) and just ate mine. Since the salmon had been frozen anyway, it wasn’t even worth the wait. Thoroughly disappointing, but funny, in an unbelievable sort of way. Surprisingly, this was the first disappointing meal we’ve had in the four days since we arrived, including the ones we’ve made ourselves.

The second flat we saw was closer to the University, functional but slightly dingy, nothing exciting. Although it would be convenient, we both like the area the other one is in much better, so this one came in at number three on our list.

We hope to look at a couple more places this weekend, both of which look & sound beautiful but somewhat out of our price range, so the flat near the restauradore is not likely to be knocked from its top spot any time soon. I’m getting nervous that it will be rented out before we can make our decision, which is always a good sign. We’re looking at it again tonight, and hope to have a decision made fairly soon.

In the meantime… more pictures! The first few are of this crazy dilapidated place we walked by in the morning, which had these wild chimneys and a run-down old metal walkway in between the buildings.

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more about “More house hunting“, posted with vodpod