travel and living

Castelo: History, Kings and Castles

I was going to talk about Alfama but the thought of Castelo came along. What can one do when something that was conquered by the moors in 1147 stumbles upon you!? Just embrace it!

Castelo area was another one of my playgrounds. I used to love to go to Castelo and thought it was all mine; to look at the views – beautiful ones by the way – sit on a bench and study or just stroll around. It was a happy kid! Back in those days we had free entrance, but nowadays it’s 6 € to just get in. It’s hard for me to pay for something that used to be “mine”, and this is the reason why there are no particular pictures from the Castle itself. Maybe one day I’ll me more more frugal and indulge in a visit though the castle.

I love to walk around and on this day I went through the roman theater. What a delight! Again, if you want to see all of it you’ll have to pay 3€. Inexpensive, but I am still in denial!

Even thought you would agree with me that from most of the pictures it is worth your while. The Castelo neighborhood is losing is identity to all the growing hotels and hostels kicking the locals away and populating the area only with tourists. Why don’t the authorities ever learn? There should be a balance between locals and tourism to keep the authenticity of the place. These grounds have seen many changes. Lisbon has been surrounded by different walls that kept the people safe from the intruders and those walls were always built around the Castle perimeter.

Today I visited the D. Dinis wall, a medieval wall that was build in the late thirteenth century but unfortunately didn’t last long. However that was the same king, Rei D. Dinis, that in 1290 established the borders of my country exactly as it is today, making Portugal the European country with the oldest established borders till this day.

I hope you enjoy knowing a little about this neighborhood as much as I enjoyed the day!

Come and enjoy for yourselves.

 

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Food · Lisbon · travel and living

A few of my favorites

Lisbon is full of treasures, one of them is food and I love hunting down the best.

Many things have changed since I was a kid. At a young age my parents would give me money to go to a Padaria or Pastelaria to buy ice cream, pastries or sweets. All I had to do was go down the stairs to find my treasures. Fast forward some years and my Padaria is now a fast food place and the Pastelaria is closed. I had to start all over again. Now I have a new list of favorite places.

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Just about two minutes from my job there is an amazing Pastelaria, called “Granfina”. They have the best merendas in the whole world. They have a lot of amazing goodies, my mother in law’s favorite is the folhado de carne.

Then if I walk the EUA avenue I get to “Fruta Almeidas”, where I used to go with my mom. It is soooo good! They have different fruit juices everyday, cakes, and savory treats like pastel de massa tenra – no doubt one of the best.

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My favorite cake from “Fruta Almeidas”

If you walk down through Avenida de Roma you have the brand new “Padaria Portuguesa” what a treat. They make the best of everything, but their croissants are out of this world. Still, croissants do careca beet all croissants, but you would have to go to Belem just for that, and for Pastéis de Belém and Pastéis de Cerveja. Belem is worth going to.

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at “Padaria Portuguesa”
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Pasteis de Belém and a Meia de Leita

I love so many other things in Lisbon but I need to go little by little because there is a world of goodness to find out, and one thing is for certain – B.I.C.A.s go with any anything, or a meia de leite, or sumo de laranja, or leite com chocolate (Recommendation: ucal).

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B.I.C.A.: Beba Isto Com Açucar – “drink this with sugar”

Life in Lisbon is good, not only the pastries are good, but coffees, lattes, juices, and many other different drinks are delicious. I’ll make another post to talk about “Confeitaria Nacional”, my coelhinhos, chocolate and caramel squares, and the list just keeps adding up.

At Benard, you can enjoy best chocolate croissants in town. “Galeto” is for ice cream late at night, and “Conchanata” for ice cream on summer nights. There is so much to discover and so many secret delicious treats.

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Waiting for a Ginginha

This post would not be complete without talking about two of my favorites, castanhas assadas and giginha (a liquor made of ginga – a type of cherry). There is nothing better on a winter day, castanhas assadas and giginha. Warms me up and nourishes my soul.

How happy are the “alfacinhas” of this world?!

 

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travel and living

Mouraria

“Ai mouraria, da velha Rua da Palma, onde eu um dia deixei presa a minha alma…”

The name Mouraria originated centuries ago, when the Moors were conquered and converted to Christianism. When they professed themselves as Christians they were sent to live in Mourarias. There are various in the country. This specific neighborhood was one of the poorest, even though you can find a few beautiful Palaces in the perimeter.

Mouraria’s fame grew due to fado. A Portuguese music genre and national culture icon. Music of longing, anguish and suffering, some songs are characterized by a sad tune but others are quite rhythmic. Severa, a former fish saleswoman used to sing at the local taverns to entertain the sailors, that used to come for amusement. Thanks to her, Mouraria is now considered the birth home of Fado, a valuable world heritage.

There are many Fado singers that were born in Mouraria or grew up there, such as Alfredo Marceneiro, Fernando Mauricio ou Marisa. Unfortunately, I do not sing Fado – that would be one of my weaknesses. I would love to sing “Lisboa não sejas Francesa” or “Lisboa menina e moça” but…oh well, God gave me some other talents, I can’t complain!

This neighborhood is very typical. Twenty three different nationalities inhabit this global village – Chinese, Indian and Pakistan the highest percent, however they are mixed amongst Portuguese. They become so tangled that for example some Chinese families name their daughters “Maria” and sons “António”. Two of the most typical Portuguese names!

The neighborhoods are also full of architectural gems. I LOVE to stroll around.

I grew up on 125 Rua dos Cavaleiros, and from the 4th floor I could see the fast speed pace that makes Lisbon – Lisbon.

Martim Moniz was my Playground (before the most heinous mall was built, but that is another issue for another day) and I loved to window shop. Currently the new “kid on the block” is the Intendente area. Now bohemian chic, once it was a red light district, but it has flourished; new stores, brand new hotels, cafes, and open areas just to walk around. The old Rua da Palma in intendente has been a huge hit.

 

There is so must more to say about my beloved Mouraria, but it’s better to go see for yourself. Go for a visit…

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travel and living

Door to My Heart

AS PORTAS DA MINHA MENINA LEVAM-NOS AO SONHO!

“The doors of my girl leads us to the dream!”

Lisboa has various rich and diverse forms of art throughout the city, such as architecture, street art, cobblestone designs, etc.

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Doors are one of them. I often spend time looking at doors and their different wood colors, metal, aluminium, iron or any other form of material. I get fascinated with their structure, the work behind each one. I daydream about people who live past them. The beauty of doors makes me think about the apartments, the people, the families, the cats and dogs that cross them, and the stories and memories they have. My imagination romanticizes it, by pretending  that couples madly in love have kissed in front of them. The colors make me happy. People often choose from a range between white and brown but sometimes I find a purple, a pink, a red one.

Seeing an old door coming back to life, changes my mood. It’s an indescribable joy to wonder what I could find behind each one, and that once they could have been the hiding place of a writer, a philosopher, or any other interesting human being. I am in love with Lisbon’s doors as much as I am in love with any of Lisbon’s features! I guess you’ve known this by now. Next week: MOURARIA.

“A beleza pode abrir portas mas a virtude é que entra.” provérbio Inglês

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travel and living

Unique Cobblestone Streets

Have I told you lately that I love Lisboa!?

Today my homage goes to our cobblestone streets. It’s Lisbon’s own personal art. All cobblestone workers are required to have at least one to two years of training to be able to cut each stone perfectly, to make the designs, the molds, and to know the exact amount of sand or foundation that needs to be placed underneath. All together they make amazing designs, patterns, pictures and more that transform the Lisbon pavement.

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When I lived downtown, I often saw men on one knee breaking and refurnishing the most common colored stone – blue and white, and these are found on our mountains.

Each time someone arrives in Lisbon by plane a bright light  immediately strikes them, which is a combination of a reflection of the Sun on Rio Tejo (Tagus river) and on the cobblestone streets. This makes our city unique. It is hard to find this light elsewhere!

Nowadays most City Halls are getting rid of cobblestone streets with the pretext that it is hard for people to circulate on them, so they are making these ugly cement lanes and destroying these amazing pavements.

The new Avenida da República reconstruction is proof of this disaster, but I’m enjoying it while I still live here and there are still some cobblestone streets left!  

Most of them are more complex, but some are a little on the plain side but ALL of them are such a delight. They offer Lisbon a unique street art.

Though I truly love them, I must confess – high heels and cobblestones are not the best combination but after living here all my life I can handle it like a pro!

Some of these pictures show the mind behind the design and Rua Augusta. The picture with that has the Arch with the clock tower is my most favorite – they pretend they were making Arraiolos Tapestry along the street. And they did. When you look at it from a top view that is exactly what it resembles. (first picture below)

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I am in love with this city. I’m beyond privileged to live here. If want to know look at a few more pictures of cobblestone streets.

What did you think of this post? Leave a comment below.

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Lisboa · travel and living

Belém: MAAT and a delicious treat.

I fell in love with a TV show my family and I watched together:

Larkrisen to Candlefor – This british series was my daily bliss. One of the characters was the Post Mistress at the local Post Office in Candleford, and she use to say “My one weakness…” – but she had many “one weakness”.

The same happens to me and Lisbon! There is so much I want to share it makes it hard to only share one thing, but let’s start with Belém.

This particular day was a national holiday (October 5th) so I decided to visit Lisbon’s most recent acquisition: the MAAT (Art, Architecture and Technology museum). Parked a little far away from the location to enjoy the walk. Gorgeous buildings covered in tiles is the staple. The Pedrouços area in Belem is a wonderful place to see that the old Lisbon is still kept alive.

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The building where the MAAT Museum is located has various contemporary aspects and is in walking distance to the Electricity Museum, a structure made of brick from the time of the Industrial Revolution.

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Since it was too early in the morning, the museum hadn’t had its inaugural opening yet. This lead me to treat myself to one of my “not many” weaknesses – the famous Pasteis de Belem, a type of cream pastry. Nothing better than a meia de leite and two pastelinhos (obviously two because eating just one is quite shameful… I think).

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After that sugar rush, got in line ready for the new museum to open. The museum was free this particularly day. Lisbon offers many free attractions or discounts on holidays throughout the year to various museums or other attractions.

At last, after an hour and a half of exploring every corner of the MAAT I came out a bit disappointed. The building was beautiful, but they still didn’t have any exhibitions only a big empty space. I’ll be visiting some other time soon to see the changes because my favorite part of a museum is the inside.

Give MAAT a try! Another good museum is the National Coach Museum. The new location of this museum is not as good that last one, but you can still see various coaches used many years ago to transport royalty and nobility around.

Finished my little trip with a walk along the coast, enjoying the beautiful sunny weather!

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Comment down below what you’d like me visit next or talk about. A new boutique? restaurant? My TOP 10 favorite style trends?

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travel and living

Why Do I Love Lisbon?

My love for Lisbon comes from birth.

Lived downtown Lisbon for twenty-one years, and no doubt it was the best time of my life. I was so happy.

My city was everything to me. My playground, my shopping mall, my food court, my cultural adviser, my indulgent sightseeing location and everything else you can think of. Getting “lost” in this city was one of my most favorite things. There are so many little streets that I still discover news one till this day.

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Mouraria use to be home sweet home, one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Lisbon. The birth place of Severa, a famous fado singer. And the birth of many fado singers and beautiful Portuguese people, just like me.

For the last 24 years I’ve lived in the suburbs, not by choice but because a family makes it expensive to live downtown. I’m longing for the day I’ll be able to “come back home”. There is not a single day I don’t daydream about it.

I was blessed to grow up in Lisbon. My “menina e moça” is an expression that comes from a fado song by Carlos do Carmo. A song that creates the illusion that Lisbon is a woman, a young woman and describes each part as a characteristic of the town in comparison to a woman’s features.

Lisbon brings me hope. It reminds me of God. When we have blue skies (and around here it’s pretty common) we fall in love every single time. She is delightful. She is appealing. She is a beautiful and welcoming “lady” to everyone who visits her, by sea, by air, by land.

I challenge you to get “lost” in her arms. You will get addicted. I’m warning you! Since I work in Entre Campos, this has been my area of adventure more often during the week and I can tell you I’ve found a few gems!

Come along with me… (to be continued)

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