The week in Portugal as the lockdown eases

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A statue of Dom Pedro IV (purportedly) in Praça Dom Pedro IV (Dom Pedro Square). The square is commonly called Praca Rossio.

We are in the second week of the reopening of restaurants and shops along with beaches and parks and it feels like a breath of fresh air.

The town of Cascais, where I live, is getting everyone who lives in the area tested for the anti-body. I’m trying to make an appointment but the phone line is continually busy. People are getting tested though. I just don’t seem to have the magic touch to get through yet.

I have been able to get out to shop and explore and this post will be about those experiences.

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People standing in line waiting to go into a shop in the Chiado.

While shopping in the Chiado, which is an area of brand label stores and local businesses, I decided to have lunch at an outdoor restaurant. It was a beautiful day, someone was playing guitar nearby and there were tables available so why not?

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All the restaurant employees wore masks and the table was carefully set with a paper table runner to be disposed of after I left along with wrapped and sealed napkin and flatware and a digital menu that I easily received on my phone bypassing the necessity of handling a menu.

The salad was wonderful with goat cheese, fresh fruit and strawberry balsamic vinegar dressing.

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My goal that day was to go to a wonderful yarn shop in the Alto Barrio called Retrosaria. They sell yarn that is hand spun and dyed in Portugal, much of the yarn is wool from sheep in northern Portugal. My daughter loves the uneven, un-dyed, hand-spun yarn from this shop and this time I was finding some yarn for a friend in the states who knits.

retroIt’s a small shop on the third floor of a typical building with wonderful character. The shop owner, because of COVID, allows one customer at a time to come into the shop to make a purchase. You are required to wear a mask when you go into any enclosed area which includes all shops and restaurants.

The shop owner is bringing back to Portugal, and the world, the handcrafted wool yarns that were used until synthetic yarns replaced the wool products.

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Mailboxes on the ground floor of the shop building.

When I completed my mission, I did what I always enjoy doing, I explored Lisbon.

One stop along the way was a tile shop in the Chiado, Dorey Tiles.

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Even though tile had been introduced to the region by the Moors, it did not take hold until King Manuel I visited the Alhambra in Spain and was impressed by the painted tiles on the walls.

On his return to Portugal, he commissioned painted tiles for his palace. It then became popular and was used to decorate fountains, blank walls, stairways, plazas, markets, any vertical surface that people felt a need to decorate.

A lot of the tile and tile murals depict historical scenes and I enjoy looking at them to understand what life was like centuries ago.

The azulejos traditionally are painted with blues, white and yellows with maybe some green or brown but many are blue and white. The blue and white tiles are symbolic of the culture of Portugal in many ways.

This shop, like a few others in Lisbon, have tile assemblages that are of historical interest or value.

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This striking piece was created in the 1700’s and is valued at 3,500 euros.

I also happened upon this fabric shop, Londres Salao.

What caught my eye was the quality of the fabrics displayed in the windows.

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These photos do not do the fabrics justice. You must see them and feel them to appreciate the quality of the linen and silk fabrics. They are exceptional.

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I would love to make a scarf out of the textured fabric.
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These are finely woven linens.

The streets of Lisbon are coming back to life a little at a time.

Tomorrow I will be making another trip into Lisbon in search of clothes for the summer and in preparation for a long weekend in Porto.

I’ll keep you posted on my finds and discoveries.

Ciao for now.

-Dora

 

 

 

 

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