Lisbon: The City Of Fado

After a short flight from Casablanca, Morocco to Lisbon, Portugal where Sarah got lucky enough to get all the rows for herself, we finally arrived back in the old continent.

After renting a car which took around 3 hours ( for some reason everyone was renting a car!), we headed to our beautiful hotel in the center of the city. They had free port wine and cherry liqueor for free!

We were eager to go visit the city so we walked around to find something to eat. We tried a traditional dish that consists of steak cooked in pork fat. It was delicious!

Lisbon is the stunning capital city of Portugal, and is one of the most charismatic and vibrant cities of Western Europe. It is a city that effortlessly blends traditional heritage, with striking modernism and progressive thinking

As a holiday destination, Lisbon offers a rich and varied history, lively nightlife and is blessed with a glorious year-round climate.

We quickly discovered Portugal’s most famous dessert, the Pastel De Nata. These little cakes were created before the 18th century by Catholic monks at the Jerónimos Monastery (will visit later on). These monks were originally based in France where these pastries could be found in local bakeries. At the time, convents and monasteries used large quantities of egg-whites for starching clothes, such as nuns’ habits. It was quite common for monasteries and convents to use the leftover egg yolks to make cakes and pastries, resulting in the proliferation of sweet pastry recipes throughout the country.

They were good, but they were not thaaaat good (in my humble opinion)

The city has 5 tram lines operation since 1873.

They have become obsolete after the construction of the underground metro system.

The following day, we separated for the day from Dan and Elly in order to join one of those amazing free tours of the city. These are run by volunteers, usually students in need of some beer money!

The tour started at the Rossio Square,  It has been the setting of popular revolts and celebrations, bullfights and executions, and is now a preferred meeting place of Lisbon natives and tourists alike.

The wave pattern stone paving was added to Rossio during the 19th century and was designed to resemble the oceans but more often disorientates late night revelers.

We stopped at the Igreja de São Domingos. The church was built in 1241 and was, at one time, the largest church in Lisbon. It was formerly the home of the Inquisition,

This was also the place of the  Lisbon pogrom or the 1506 Easter Slaughter, this was an incident in April, 1506 in which a crowd of Catholics, as well as foreign sailors who were anchored in the Tagus, persecuted, tortured, killed, and burnt at the stake hundreds of people who were accused of being Jews and, thus, guilty of deceit and heresy.

We passed through one of the main delicatessens shops in Lisbon. Bacalhau (salted cod fish) is the most popular base commodity in Portuguese cooking. Traditionally there are more than 365 different dishes, one for each day of the year, and the country has a love affair with the pungent smelling fish. This ancient method of preservation means the cod can be stored indefinitely at ambient temperatures, with no bacterial or mold able to grow on the highly saline dried cod fish. The smell was puke inducing.

We passed the statue of King John I in the Praca da Figueira.

We made our way to the Alfama neighborhood, which is the birth place of Fado. Fado is the folk music of Lisbon’s rustic neighborhoods. Since the mid-1800s, it’s been the Lisbon blues — mournfully beautiful and haunting ballads about lost sailors, broken hearts, and bittersweet romance.

Fado means “fate” — how fate deals with Portugal’s adventurers…and the families they leave behind. The lyrics reflect the pining for a loved one across the water, hopes for a future reunion,

We had the opportunity to try Ginjinha, a liqueur made by infusing ginja berries, (sour cherry) in alcohol (aguardente is used) and adding sugar together with other ingredients. Even Sarah was able to drink that one!

We made our way to one of the multiple viewpoints around the city.

We strolled around the narrow streets where we would have been lost if it wasn’t for our amazing guide, Andrea.

Unlike most capital cities, Lisbon’s status as the capital of Portugal has never been granted or confirmed officially – by statute or in written form. Its position as the capital has formed through constitutional convention, making its position as de facto capital a part of the Constitution of Portugal.

You couldn’t blame your average lisboêta for thinking of the apocalypse when the ground gave way just before 10am on 1 November, 1755. What followed was up to eight astonishing minutes of city-shattering shaking spread across three tremors, followed 40 minutes later by a massive, city-engulfing tsunami, culminating in a week-long firestorm that incinerated what little was initially spared. Lisbon was decimated. Today, the modern city is shaped by that cataclysmic day – nearly everything is defined as before or after the earthquake – and the Pombaline architecture that defined post-quake Lisbon reconstruction counts as some of the first seismically protected constructions in Europe.

The city is full of art and amazing graffiti.

We went to another viewpoint that gave us a nice view of the ocean. Lisbon is a popular cruise ship destination.

It is continental Europe’s westernmost capital city and the only one along the Atlantic coast. 2.8 million people live here!

Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in the world, and the oldest in Western Europe, predating other modern European capitals such as London, Paris and Rome by centuries.

We continued our tour until we reached the Lisboa Cathedral.

Since the beginning of the construction of the cathedral, in the year 1147, the building has been modified several times and survived many earthquakes. It is nowadays a mix of different architectural styles.

We finished the tour at the Praça do Comércio. On 1 February 1908, the square was the scene of the assassination of Carlos I, the penultimate King of Portugal. The assassins were shot on the spot by members of the bodyguard and later recognized as members of the Republican Party – which two years later overthrew the Portuguese monarchy.

This location was traditional where traders would sell their foreign wares and financiers would fund perilous expeditions to the far reaches of the known world. King Jose I was the Portuguese ruler during the reconstruction of Lisbon and the statue was inaugurated on his birthday on the 6th June 1775.

After tipping our guide, we were set free to keep enjoying this wonderful city.

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