Just back from… Lisbon

Destination: Portugal Destination: Lisbon

This Easter, I visited Lisbon for the first time. I was there to celebrate the upcoming nuptials of one of my best friends, so was expecting a week of willy straws, boozing before midday and a lot of giggles. I wasn’t disappointed – we bade farewell to Sian’s single life in style. But something else happened; something wonderful, strange and completely unexpected. I fell in love. Real love. The head over heels, crazy, ‘put a ring on it’ kind of love that the patron saint of hen weekends, Queen Bey herself, would probably sing about.

I fell in love with Lisbon.

It was unexpected because until Lisbon was announced as the destination for Sian’s hen do, I’d never even considered visiting. Never. It wasn’t that I hadn’t wanted to, I’d just never thought of it in the same way as other European cities. Cities like Paris, Rome and Berlin dominate the to-do lists of many travellers, presenting their virtues like incontrovertible evidence in a trial. But Lisbon? What was Lisbon offering? I knew it was Portugal’s capital, but not much more. Maybe it hadn’t shouted as loud about its must-see merits as its gobby neighbours. Or maybe I just hadn’t listened when it tried.

Whatever the reason, Lisbon’s residence in the shadows of its gargantuan European counterparts made the city’s welcome all the more special. Because where the pull of a city is often based on specific attractions: phallic wrought iron towers, symbolic walls, crumbling amphitheatres; the real joy of Lisbon was simpler than that. It was just being in Lisbon.

It was passing yellow trams creaking up the city’s steep cobbles.

A tram on Calçada da Glória, Lisbon

Enjoying an al fresco bica, on a miradouro infused with the sweet citrus scents of blossoming orange trees.

The view from Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcantara , Lisbon

Stumbling upon a local ‘library’ overlooked by faded façades adorned with azujelos.

A local library on the walk up to Castelo de São Jorge, Lisbon

Watching the rooftops ripple in terracotta waves from a sun-drenched terrace.

The view from Zambeze Restaurante, Lisbon

Quenching a heat-induced thirst with the floral effervescence of a Vinho Verde.

A glass of Vinho Verde at Zambeze Restaurante, Lisbon

Savouring the satisfying snap of a spoon breaking into a Gratin de Queijo.

Gratin de Queijo at Grapes and Bites, Bairro Alto

Relishing the wind’s warm whisper at Praça do Comércio’s waterfront.

Praça do Comércio, Lisbon

Letting the brushstrokes of street artists act as a tour guide.

Street art near Castelo de São Jorge Street art near Castelo de São Jorge, Lisbon

Watching the Castelo de São Jorge twinkle under a navy cloak.

The view of Castelo de São Jorge from São Pedro de Alcantara , Lisbon

That’s the joy of Lisbon.

A wise man once said that ‘the best things come from nowhere’. He must have been talking about Lisbon.

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5 thoughts on “Just back from… Lisbon

  1. Looks fabulous – I’m planning my first trip to Portugal to meet Stephen on his cycle tour in July, no idea which part yet, but you’ve whetted my appetite for the country!

  2. Pingback: Bundobust | Where's Lisa?

  3. Pingback: Recipe: Truffle Oil and Mushroom Pizza | Where's Lisa?

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