It didn’t surprise us to learn that Lisbon was home to a thriving street art scene. This is known as a somewhat anarchic city, with a large population of struggling, disaffected youth, and a fairly permissive culture. That’s the perfect combination for excellent graffiti: political, angry, sarcastic, weird and often beautiful. During the course of our stay in Lisbon, we’d discover something new every time we stepped outdoors.
I wouldn’t have guessed it before arriving, but a big part of our Lisbon experience has had to do with tiles. They cover the facades of the city’s buildings, decorate its churches and palaces, and are even the subject of a popular museum. So it seemed natural to visit a workshop, where they’re still being made the old-fashioned way. The family who runs the Cerâmica São Vicente was kind enough to invite us inside and introduce us to their craft.
Reconstructed after the 1755 earthquake in accordance with an ultra-rational plan devised by the Marquis de Pombal, Lisbon’s Baixa (or “Lower”) district is a rectilinear grid of streets at the base of the city’s main valley. Many of the shops that were opened during the earliest days of the neighborhood’s rebirth are still in operation. We checked out 22 of these “lojas com historia” (“shops with history”) during a long day spent exploring Baixa.
What is it about rich people, always choosing the highest neighborhoods in which to live? Do they have to literally lord it over the rest of us? Apparently so, because in a hilly town like Lisbon, you can bet that the highest hills are going to be populated by the richest people. It’s a law as immutable as gravity, and should you be in doubt, then please check out Lapa. Just make sure to step out of the road as the Porsche SUV blasts by.
Not many stray dogs roam the streets of Lisbon, but there seems to be no shortage of cats. Perhaps they just breed faster, or they’re more difficult to catch. Or maybe nobody cares, because the slinking, sneaky creatures fit into this mysterious city so perfectly. Throughout the course of our time in Lisbon, we’ve collected […]
Lisbon is such a monumental city that it can be overwhelming. What’s around this corner? Another ancient church with another fascinating history that I’ll want to spend hours learning all about? Ain’t nobody got time for it all! So, it was almost a relief to be exploring the neighborhood of Alvalade, where the biggest “sight” is an everyday produce market.
Largely unknown outside Portugal, the musical style of fado is a big deal in Lisbon, where it was born in the early 19th century. On a chilly Sunday night, we were introduced to the mournful music at the TascaBeat do Rosário, a tiny joint tucked away in one of Alfama’s many hidden corners.
The Ascensor da Bica is both the newest and the most popular of Lisbon’s three remaining funiculars. It connects the party zone of the Pink Street to the party zone of Bairro Alto, along the party street of Bica… the operative word seems to be “party”. Friday night seemed like a good time to take a ride.
During our first month in Lisbon, we lived in Mouraria. The ascent to our apartment required the lungs of a deep sea diver and the legs of a cyborg, and although the trek always destroyed us, we had to concede that it could be worse. High above us, the residents of another neighborhood sneered at our exhaustion. While gasping for oxygen, we’d shake our fists at them. “Maybe not yet, Graça! But we’ll be ready for you soon!”