There are several alternative aspects to Lisbon but the former LX Factory almost directly under the 25th April bridge is the most recent. It takes a bit of finding. We chose to walk, but the bus or tram towards Belem is the most convenient way to access it. There is the tram depot followed by a police station and a discreet gateway has LX painted on the wall in small letters. The stop is nearby: a small square with local restaurants is the clue.
We found one of the restaurants both good and cheap for lunch, possibly preferable to one of the venues inside LX. The numerous workshops, shops, cafes and galleries line a cobbled street that presumably once served the different parts of the factory. There are bright decorative lamps and pennants hanging across the street and the whole place is at once chaotic, lively and above all friendly.
The main factory building has four floors with a balcony on the fourth and even a roof area for viewing the great bridge across the Tejo river. A number of craft workshops, clothing stores, art displays and coffee shops make an exploration of the factory well worth while. Everyone seems to enjoy being there, working as though the opportunity to do so was a privilege with no pressure to sell. It is delightfully relaxing. People have come from all over the world as well as all over Lisbon to create this vibrant locality.
After walking the length of street, visiting some of the shops and galleries we tried the factory building. There is a lift still operating for those who need it. We used it to come down but wanted to see as much as possible on the way up. Our search ended at a small coffee shop which offered a welcome seat and a pleasant enough drink. It had a balcony, which was worth visiting. The bridge is spectacular.
As for the art, some was good, much was mediocre but the crafts were for the most part very good. One present of hand-made jewellery was the main achievement but other offers were tempting to anyone not restricted by economy class baggage limits.
Apart from the need to return to our hotel on the other side of Lisbon we would have been tempted to stay on for a drink or even another meal. In some respects this might have been worthwhile because the late afternoon bus was heavily oversubscribed. A less crowded transport would have been preferable.