I Heart My City: Maureen’s Lisbon

ParqueNecessidades.jpgGreetings, city-lovers! Today Maureen Moore fills us in on her adopted city, Lisbon.

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Lisbon, Portugal Is My City

The first place I take a visitor from out of town is to the hilly Graça neighborhood for its amazing views of the city.

When I crave greenery and nature I always go to the Jardim da Estrela.

To escape city noise I head to the river-walk near Belém.

If I want to get lost I wander the narrow, labyrinth streets of Alfama.

For complete quiet, I can hide away at the peaceful Parque das Necessidades in Alcântara.

If you come to my city, try to get your picture taken with the “waving man” who appears at Saldanha plaza nightly.

If you have to order one thing off the menu from the Cantinho de Bem Estar it has to be ameijoas de bulhão pato (clams swimming in hot olive oil, garlic, and cilantro).

Amatudo and A Vida Portuguesa are my one-stop shops for non-kitschy, cool, Portuguese design and original products.

Locals know to skip fado restaurants in Bairro Alto and check out the local spots in Graça and Mouraria instead.

When I’m feeling cash-strapped I go to the park on Sundays in the summer for free jazz concerts.

For a huge splurge I go to a Napoleão wine shop and buy some mid-priced Portuguese wine that you can’t get in the average restaurant.

Photo ops in my city include the view from the castle looking out toward the river and from the top of the streets in Príncipe Real district that frame the urban landscape with bits of the red 25th of April Bridge peeking through in the background.

If my city were a celebrity it’d be unknown. That’s just Lisbon’s style.

The most random thing about my city is the “we have snails” signs in the restaurant windows.

In my city, an active day outdoors involves walking up any one of the numerous hills, navigating the uneven stone sidewalks, and climbing up the staircases of elevator-free buildings.

My city’s best museum is its own! Museu da Cidade–Museum of the City (not even locals know about it).

My favorite jogging/walking route is next to the River Tejo, from Lisbon to Belém.

For a night of dancing, go to Lux. Or, for live music, check out smoky and small, “Beiro” in Santos district.

A Merendeira is the spot for late-night eats.

To find out what’s going on at night and on the weekends, read Le Cool’s e-newsletter.

You can tell a lot about my city from the way the buildings show their age.

You can tell if someone is from my city if they whisper “ssa ssa,” as they pass you (short for com licença / excuse me).

In the spring you should photograph the purple blooms of the jacaranda trees.

In the summer you should try the grilled sardines.

In the fall you should buy freshly roasted chestnuts from the street vendors.

In the winter you should drink Portuguese red wine until your heart’s content.

CasadoAlentejo.jpgA hidden gem in my city is the Casa do Alentejo.

For a great breakfast joint try Pão de Canela.

Don’t miss the Santo Antonio festival in early June.

Just outside my city, you can visit the enchanting abandonment of Ginjal on the other side of the river.

The best way to see my city is on foot.

If I didn’t live in a city, I’d live in Capistrano Beach, California.

When I think about my city, the song that comes to mind is any fado song: poetic, melancholic, heartfelt, and nostalgic.

If you have kids, you won’t want to miss the Jardim Zoológico.

More newspaper/TV coverage on national football than on real news could only happen in my city.

My city should be featured on your cover or website because it’s full of hidden secrets to be discovered and explored.  Its history is layered on the buildings, revealed in the wrinkles on the faces of its people, whispered in the breezes of the Tejo River and tasted in the scent of grilled fish that is ever-present in the air.

Photos by Maureen Moore.
Top: Parque Necessidades; bottom: Casa do Alentejo.

Comments

  1. David
    September 8, 2009, 1:26 pm

    In Lisbon itself you should go up the hill to St. Jorge castle, that has a lovely view over the river and also over the city.
    Also you should see the Tower of Belem and the Monastery of Jeronimos, that are wonderful monuments.
    You can also see the National Park (Parque das nações) where the Expo 98 took place. Some pavillions are still open there, including the Oceanary.
    If you like wildlife make sure you also go to the Zoo of Lisbon, sure!
    Outside Lisbon I would suggest you a trip by train until Cascais, which is a lovely beach village. From there you can walk until Estoril (lovely, all near the seaside) back to Lisbon.
    You can also take the train to Sintra village that is a lovely place, full of ancient castles. And I don’t mean just stone in ruins castles (although there are some also like that), but beautiful preserved castles with furniture and all that inside. Make sure you go up the hill to Pena castle, one of the most beautiful ones!
    I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful time! :-)

  2. Rachel
    September 11, 2009, 6:31 pm

    I’ve never been to Lisbon but it seems like such a charming and romantic city…I would really love to go! If anyone is looking for more travel information you should check out the website I intern with where you can make your own personalized Lisbon travel guide . And if you’ve already been there let me know what you think about the guide!

  3. Stephanie
    March 1, 2010, 4:39 pm

    Obrigada! Visiting Portugal for the first time in just a few days and will keep what you have written in my thoughts. Lovely!