Tis the season of delicious sweets, music and lights along with the hope of a better year to come.
One good start for 2021, besides having a new President in the US, will be Portugal’s Prime Minister António Costa filling the position on January 1st of the presidency of the Council of the European Union.
The presidency of the Council of the European Union is responsible for the functioning of the Council. The presidency’s role is to chair meetings of the Council, determine its agendas, set a work program and facilitate dialogue both at Council meetings and with other EU institutions.
In a twitter post written after meeting with the President of the European Council, Prime Minister Costa wrote “In these times in which the fight against the pandemic and the socio-economic recovery requires all of our effort, we’re laying out how we will implement the two national COVID-19 vaccination plans and their relevant EU measures”.
We wish him well in this role.
I walked out of El Corte the other day to see a beautiful sky as a backdrop to these impressive buildings.
On another front, the European Union is to begin the roll-out of the COVID vaccination program on December 27th. Francisco Ramos, coordinator of Portugal’s national vaccine task force, says if all goes well, it will be possible to achieve herd immunity by summer and says wealthier countries in Europe and around the world, including Portugal, should buy more doses than necessary and distribute them to poorer countries.
Portugal is struggling financially and yet they are thinking about others. I wish I could say the same for the United States, a country that is purportedly the richest nation in the world.
Now for some fun.
Walking through the Chiado one day, I decided to stop in a shop I had visited before, Cutipol.
The focus of the shop is on high quality cooking and dining goods and decorative objects for the home and I want to share with you a few of their pieces.
Also during my explorations, I came across some wonderful sweets.
On the seventh floor at El Corte Inglés, Lisbon
An all chocolate Christmas log
A Bolo Rei at the Alcoa pastry shop in the Chiado.
This Christmas I purchased a Bolo Rei from Confeitaria Nacional, the first to introduce the King’s Cake to Portugal. Even though it is referred to as a cake, the consistency is more like a sweet bread with nuts, raisins and candied fruit pieces decorating the top. It is very good, not too sweet, and I can see enjoying it with a cup of coffee as a dessert.
And now for the lights!
Last December, people would disembark the trains by the hundreds to walk through the Baixa and the Chiado to see the lights, have coffee and a pastry or dine at one of the restaurants, some with tables outside along the pedestrian walkways.
This year, the crowds are not here but the local residents are out in the evenings, strolling through the streets and enjoying the displays of holiday lights that everyone loves.
Lights at the National Theater
In the Chiado
At the Marquês de Pombal
In the Chiado headed home one night
I hope for everyone this year a peaceful holiday with hopes for a better 2021.