Last week we made a visit to one of our favorite cities, Lisbon. We had spent two months there in 2017 to determine if we preferred it to Nice as our expat destination choice, and it had been a tough choice. However, once we’d decided on Nice, we knew we’d want to return to Lisbon, and to see more of Portugal, on a visitor basis.
I’d like to make it an annual event. For one thing, the Portuguese are sweet. Don’t take their reserve and meekness for disinterest. Smile, and they’ll smile back. Ask for help and they’ll give you a chunk of their time. Make a weak joke in poor Portuguese, and they’ll join in. OK, I won’t generalize as we did encounter a couple of choice assholes, but you can’t fail to notice how chill the locals are compared to the French.
We didn’t do everything we’d planned, but we did see some old friends and make spot visits to some of our favorite places, like the riverfront, the Principe Real park we love and the perfect neighborhood, Campo de Ourique. There’s a pastry shop/luncheonette/cafe that makes a walnut cake I dream about and we did squeeze that in between a couple of appointments. We had to pick up some cans of sardine spread too.
Perhaps the coronavirus epidemic’s dent in tourism was the reason Lisbon seemed quieter than usual. There was a noticeable lack of large tourist crowds where you usually expect to experience them. The city felt like it had returned to itself.
Although Portugal is rapidly changing, and the simple, old ways are giving way to global youth culture, it still offers up a squinty view of what was. Glimpses of this world in twilight appear in between the new trendy shops and cafes, modern apartment houses and the once-unthinkably pricey restaurants. Being a natural nostalgic, I’m drawn to the tiny old bars where a coffee costs less than one euro and the woman behind the counter is in a constant repartee with the regulars as they enter, sip and bid “Bom dia.” This world won’t be around for much longer. Which makes a return visit soon a necessity.
Wow! John and I will visit Lisbon soon. When will you next return there?
So, have you firmly decided that you won’t be moving there?
Wear good shoes! Those tiled, steep streets are slippery.
Beautiful photographs Kathleen…. I like the one of the older man reading his paper newspaper… it seems to reflect the nostaglic feeling at the end of your blog about capturing these “good old times” while they last…
I like this photo as well. The quality of light is perfect for the composition and feel of the subject.
Great post 😁
Loved your insights into Portugal. It’s on our list for next spring. My best to you and David. Cicely
Thanks for this lovely commentary on Portugal, Kathleen. One day I hope to visit or even live there. And thanks for your birthday wishes!
I hope you and David are both well and having plenty of fun.
No list of beautiful European cities would be complete without Lisbon and your plan of returning every year is admirable. But, you note that Portugal is changing fast, and not necessarily for the better, which raises the question: for visitors, are there any Euro countries which are actually improving these days? Keep on blogging. Your readers eagerly await each post!
I don’t think Portugal will be ruined. It’ll just move into a different era. I hear Poland is right behind Portugal, and Chile.
i adore Portugal – that’s where I’d go if i could – love it all, the people, color, food, mood —
how about Sintra? loved it….. i don’t tell people about portugal as i don’t want them turning lisbon etc into a rich american retirement community (like they did to my fave san miguel de allende in mexico, it’s so horridly changed i can’t go back…..good clip, interesting and love the pics.xxoann
The retirement communities are in the south, in Faro and Lagos. They are gross. Lisbon is still great.
The bolo and pate look delicious 😍
Sent from my iPhone so please excuse the brevity