Our trip had finally drawn to a close as we found ourselves down to the last night in Lisbon after we had completed our Serra de Sintra drive ('Distrito de Lisboa' page) earlier in the day. Once again we made the moderately long walk from our hotel in the Saldanha area to the tourist area near the Rossio and Restauradores Squares. It was not too bad going there, downhill along a confusing series of narrow streets (and narrow sidewalks) going in various directions!
As we came closer to the centre of action, we passed many small local 'hole-in-the-wall' restaurants doing fairly good business. After a while, we noticed that in every one of them, all customers and most of the staff seemed very intent on the 'in-house' TV. Finally we arrived at our destination and we eventually picked a restaurant right next-door to the one that we had chosen on our first night in Lisbon! Even here, the restaurant 'callers' working the street passers-by seemed to be captivated by the TV program blaring in the nearby restaurants.
Only later did we learn that this was the night of the big showdown for the European Cup, with the Porto club from northern Portugal playing France's Monaco club at a venue in Germany! As we sat there eating our meal, we were occassionally interrupted as the waiters came running out to announce the score, with Porto emerging the 3-0 winner!
Of course, football fever was really building now at the end of May, since Portugal was hosting the Euro2004 tournament in June. On our way back up the dark streets to our hotel there was much whooping and hollering going on as the whole country celebrated the win! One gang of young men on the other side of the street shouted something at us as we made our way along and I shouted 'Porto' back at them, which seemed to make them very happy!!
By the way, Portugal had a great run at the Euro2004 tournament as well, losing in the final to surprising upstart Greece! I followed all the games after I had returned to Canada!
After labouriously making our way up the steep and narrow streets of the Alfama, we were relieved to finally find our way onto the grounds of Castelo de Sao Jorge! We entered through a small gate and soon found ourselves enjoying its wide and breezy stone-paved promenades.
This is a great area to just sit under the olive trees, enjoying the view out over the city and the Tejo River while you have a cold drink. Just ahead and to the right is a multimedia centre which depicts 16th century life in Lisbon. Next to it is a very nice restaurant, Casa do Leao, which was very busy hosting what appeared to be a wedding reception. There were many well-outfitted couples enjoying refreshmentts at their tables and others just enjoying the views along the walls of the Castle. Between Sintra and the climb up the hill, we had done a lot of walking, so we took some time to sit down and enjoy the view ourselves!
Portuguese love to kiss. When I lived in the US I almost got myself into trouble because when I got introduced to girls I would give them two kisses, even with their boyfriends there.
That's the way we do it in Portugal. Very few hand shakes between opposite sex people.
The tipical Portuguese kiss goes like this: you turn your head to the left and kiss the other people's right cheek then you turn your head to the right and kiss the left cheek.
Simple! Now go out there and do some kissing!
Lisbon is full of life and activity. When you're walking down the street, you may encounter people selling umbrellas, roasting chestnuts or entertaining the crowds with music or other performances. You also might run into some shady sorts trying to sell you drugs, but they seem to only operate in broad daylight on crowded streets so you probably won't feel unsafe.
This photo was taken on Rua Augusta near my hostel.
Folkloric Lisbon rely on the rivalry between its traditional quarters or "Bairros". For a foreigner it's impossible to distinguish differences between most of them. For instance, the "Bairro da Sé" next to Alfama or S Vicente, shows the same ambiance, and the same look of narrow streets, stairs, and ramps, with clothes hanging from many windows, despite the general forbidding.
Well, when June 13Th comes and marches compete, everything turns different.
Portuguese are traditionally catholics, tradition that is fading, mainly in big cities. Here and there religion is mixed with popular beliefs with stronger manifestations than the official religion. A medical doctor from the second half of the 19th century, Sousa Martins, dedicated his life fighting tuberculosis, with such empathy with his patients, that someone started saying that he made miracles.
More than one hundred years after his death, people keeps praying for his help, and thanking him for the cure. The base of his statue, in front of a medical school, is covered with hundreds of stones celebrating his "miracles" and there is always an old lady bringing flowers or praying. A touching scene of the unknown Lisbon!
"Sonhos...2 Imaginário de Macau, Igual 5.
Grupo Igual, young portuguese artists exhibition in Lisbon.
7th to 25th October 2002.
The groups name is "Igual" that mean "The Same". The artists names are: Joana Reis, Joao Leitao, Maria Eduarda Ribeiro, Rita Máximo and Tiago Oliveira.
On the picture canvas of Tiago Oliveira.
Yes, we were amazed at this public pissor on the main access street to the Castelo de Sao Jorge. As we walked up the street we noticed a head sticking up above a metal panel on the side of the street..Then the person walked out zipping up his pants. Sure enough there was a small sign that says URINOL with a statue of the Manneken Pis from Brussels to show you how it is done. Just walk behind the metal plate that will partially screen you from the passing throngs, open up, and let it rip....you can have satisfaction watching those folks walk by as you are letting off pressure.
Oh and almost forgot to mention, there is no door of course.
This for me was true adventure travel, participating in the arts and culture of the locals while getting rid of the extra beer ^O^
When we are introduced to new people, is usual to give two kisses in the chicks... Between men and women or between women...
Dont find it rude but you can be faster and stretch your hand first, lol... We will get the message...
People here usually greet each other with 2 kisses, one in each cheak, so if you know portuguese poeple and they greet u like that, or introduce you to other portuguese and they kiss you, don't be surprised. But in between 2 men, they just shake hands.
Most of portuguese are catholic, even though not very rigoursly, it's still dificult, speacially for older people, but not only, to understand gays, or even people who dress really diferently, have piercings... but still you'll find loads of nice colourfull people in Lisbon or Porto. :))
Ombrigado means thank you. Se faz favor, means please.
Tipping: we left about 10% although most don't leave any. The Portuguese aren't very talkative or sociable as many other parts of the world when waitering. They seemed very tired because they work long shifts, but they don't expect anything.
The Portuguese are conservative. Don't be too loud or obnoxious, don't be too drunk in public and remember your manners. Just as any other country, try to learn some of the basic words in their language. Portuguese is a tough language but if you can say please and thank you you will be treated will.
There is no way you will feel lost in Lisbon. People there are soooo nice. They will always try to help you, although they usually don't speak a word of English. But if you know Spanish, you can give it a try.
Portugueses are a latin people. Not shy at all. After get know better a person it's normal to say hi or goodbye with two kisses, one in wich side of the face. Men shake hands with men and kiss women. Women kiss women and men. It is not strange a portuguese offer his/her house to stay without second ideas or invite you to have a meal with. But always remember that some wolfes hide under a sheep skin.