It's the charm of the Portuguese capital that captures me every time I visit the city my mother grew up. What makes Lisbon so charming? It's their colorful houses spread around seven hills, it's the location by the Tejo, the beautiful light, the thousands Cafés and «Pastelarias» where you can get the sweetest things you have ever tasted, it's the carefully designed pawing («Calçada Portuguesa»), the tiles on the walls («Azulejos») and last but not least it's their people.
On that one day I was strolling through «Bairro Alto» in the afternoon. The area is mostly populated at night. I passed by a place with yellow «Azulejos» saying Adega Machado and I asked a girl sitting opposite of it if she could take a picture of me in front of that nice wall. She looked up her phone, smiled and said: «Of course!, It's my pleasure. I work at that place.» So we started chatting and she explained me that they have Fado every evening from 5-6 pm in the bar downstairs. You pay around 17 Euros, which includes a drink and snacks and the Fado of course. I admitted that, even though I am Portuguese, I had never been to a Fado-Bar. The Adega was actually not open to the public, but she quickly went in to ask her boss if she could show me around. A few minutes later I was getting a private tour around the Adega where the Portuguese Fado-Diva Amalia Rodrigues used to sing as well. Meanwhile, the place has been refurnished and has a modern interior. But on the walls there are black and white pictures showing the old Fado-Times. Amalia Rodrigues Sister still frequents the place. I told the girl that next time I visit Lisbon I would definitely come by. She answered, that I was very welcomed. I left happy about that encounter and chat and realized once more that those gestures are the ones I love about the people in Lisbon.
I had other encounters too: One was at Avenida de Liberdade. On that avenue you find most Luxury Brands. I strolled down the avenue and passed by the handbag shop Coccinelle. I had won a bracelet and came to collect my gift. When walking towards the shop there was a lady in front of it. When she saw me she said: «You are coming for your bracelet, right?» I was surprised she recognized me. «I follow you on Instagram», she replied.
After that tour I took a break to have a «carioca de limao» (lemon tea) at «Fabrica da Nata». The place opened not long ago. After the big wave of tourists coming to Lisbon (Lisbon has been one of the top destinations in the last few years) this coffee place opened in downtown. The most famous Pasteis de Nata are the original ones called «Pasteis de Belém» sold at the one and only place in Belém. But you can enjoy a good Pastel de Nata almost everywhere in town. «Fabrica da Nata» combines tradition with a modern interior. A good alternative to the ones in Belém if you want to take a break in the city centre.
There are plenty of places and neighborhoods worth visiting in Lisbon. I know many more spots that I will definitely share with you another time. For those who can read German:
Besides all the reasons mentioned in the beginning, I love Lisbon for it's Poetry too. The probably most famous poet of Lisbon is Fernando Pessoa. Nowadays you find places saying that he has visited this and that café. He has articulated his love for the city in poems as well.
If you are visiting Lisbon and want to know more about my favorite spots, drop me a message below and I'd be happy to answer.
Até à proxima,
Photos: Tanya König, all rights reserved.