Tag Archives: Lisbon

Something fishy in Portugal

 

productsSimple, cheap and tasty, tinned sardinha is a favourite across Portugal, for the poor and the wealthy alike – as a healthy basic, fast food or gourmet cuisine.

The riches of the sea have long sustained the Portuguese, so it’s no wonder the humble sardine has become a bit of an icon around here.

fish-product-montage

Forget those three flying ducks on the wall at grandma’s place. Here, it’s ceramic sardines up there.

The ubiquitous fish also features in paintings, accessories, homewares and every imaginable type of souvenir.

There are even street art fish (although sardines have a bit of competition here).

fish-street-art-use

 

2016-09-16-03-39-32Of course, bacalhau (salted cod, right) is another staple – but I’m guessing it missed out on the fishy audition because it’s not quite as sleek as sardines.

Surprisingly, we saw very few fish in the rivers and close to the coast – except mullet slithering all over themselves in the rivers.

Where do you catch the sardines, we ask a local.

whole-fish-meets-pescatarian

The fish that met the pescatarian… and lost

Out there, he says pointing way out to sea.

There are a lot out there, he adds with a grin.

Considering tinned sardines are exported to about 70 countries around the world, I believe him.

Later, as we crossed the border into Spain, the words of Douglas Adams were circling in my head:

So long and thanks for all the fish.

Indeed!

 


On the streets of Lisbon

 

 

2016-09-15-16-22-44-hdr

Pigeon roosts…

Monuments and other tourist tick-off points are impressive, but our favourite thing to do is to take to the streets on foot. Apart from the odd slippery cobblestone, we inevitably stumble upon the unexpected and delightful.

A meeting place

The sign on the street says ‘gin lovers’. Yep that’s me. Besides, we’ve been walking for hours (and it’s hot) so this is the perfect place to stop.

Inside we know we’ve found somewhere special. This is Embaixada,  a unique Portuguese shopping gallery created in a XIX century Arabian Palace.

An ornate staircase draws our eyes upwards to the sensational murals and figurines, and beyond.

blog-2-on-lisbon

2016-09-15-12-54-12

Meet Gina, with tonic, rosemary & lemon…mmm

In the palace rooms, national brands and recreated vintage clothing mix with the work of local artists and artisans.

Even a non-shopper like me can get blissed-out here (and I have the credit card hit to prove it).

Eventually, we stop at Gin Lovers Principe Real in the centre of this jaw-dropping building for a delicious gin & tonic (or three) from their extensive list – and some amazing food.

Like so many Portuguese people we’ve met here, everyone is friendly and enthusiastic. No wonder they call it ‘the meeting place’…

Urban edgy

2016-09-15-20-45-34When the street is your canvas, the possibilities are endless in Lisbon.

From commissioned to clandestine, and gaudy to subtle – street art is everywhere here.

I notice so many people don’t really ‘see’ it as they hurry past, but to me it says so much about the creative energy of a city…

Street art isn’t everyone’s thing, but it’s one of my passions. No doubt I’ll be banging on more about it some other 60 seconds. Meanwhile…

2016-09-15-09-46-54

Gourmet moments

Portuguese people love their food and it shows (in a good way!).

There’s something to satisfy the foodies, the fuellers and everyone in between in the many small cafés and impressive restaurants and wine bars sprinkled liberally across the city.

2016-09-15-21-01-09

Hugo concocting something fabulous at Cervejaria d0 Barrio

And the vino, port and spirits. Phew.

We soon redefine our perception of a ‘glass’ of wine. It ‘s more like a small carafe in a glass.

A ‘tasting’ can also be the entire glass filled to the brim. Per taste. Which makes pacing yourself pretty much impossible.

Then there’s the traditional sherry, Ginja. We’re told it’s taken as both an aperitif and an after-dinner drink.

I’m sure there are plenty of happy home chefs using Ginja too – and some of it might even make it into the cooking.

Perhaps it’s all that fabulous wine. Perhaps it’s just this place. The Portuguese may be struggling economically but they don’t let it affect their open and generous spirit.

So come to Lisbon, take to the streets and come alive here.

It’s impossible not to.

2016-09-15-11-35-25

 


Lisbon wanderings…

As soon as we arrive in Lisbon, the city of the seven hills and capital of Portugal, we dump our bags in our hotel room and head out to explore the city’s ancient Arab district…

street-art-1

lisbon-tiles-1In Alfama, Lisbon’s oldest quarter, we lose ourselves in tangle of cobblestone alleys and narrow streets, where a vibrant energy gives you light feet while the breath of the past brushes your neck.

At every turn, there is something to surprise and delight.

In picture-postcard alleys, colourful tiled and sometimes crumbling buildings huddle together – and steep stairs beckon you up and around another corner.

There is street art and tile art and sculptures and galleries, and small shops selling kitsch and classy souvenirs, fashion, homewares and groceries.

lisbon-night-walk-in-old-townNearby there are 17th-century churches and an impressive cathedral – and up on the hill there are views to take your breath away.

At dusk, the old quarter comes alive.

Cafés and restaurants serve delicious traditional and international food and fabulous Portuguese wine and beer, while the sound of Fado music drifts out into the street.

There is so much more to this beautiful city, but for now here’s a glimpse of the old quarter…

 

2016-09-14-14-03-49

art-by-jose-saramaga

tile-peacock

2016-09-14-13-42-07

cello-player-2

lisbon-door