Every person I speak to in Lisbon has a fascinating story to tell. There is also the history of Portugal and its reach across continents and the buildings here, they speak volumes, whispering secrets of their past.
Lockdown is once again upon us but I am able to walk daily, exploring and discovering something fascinating and/or beautiful around every corner.
Walking the streets, though, brings me a sadness. Seeing shops closed, knowing these businesses have struggled through tough economic years in the past and now a pandemic, seeing the quiet strength and resolve of the people is extraordinary.
For now, I will share with you what I see during my quiet walks through the city I now call home.
One walk I take is up Avenida da Liberdade which is compared to the Champ de Elysee in Paris. It is a wide boulevard with benches and cafe kiosks, lined with shops on either side. In the summer there are vendors on the weekends selling their wares and in the winter there are lights dangling from the trees. It makes for a lovely stroll up to the top of Parque Eduardo VII with a view of Avenida da Liberdade, the Baixa and the River Tagus.
On my first walk through the park, I came across this beautiful building, Pavilhão Carlos Lopes.
The pavilion was designed to be the Pavilion of Portuguese Industries in 1922 during the International Exhibition in Rio de Janeiro, being built mostly with elements transported from Portugal to Brazil.
After the exhibition it was dismantled and transferred back to Portugal and placed in the park.
Now it’s a venue for meetings, conferences, fairs and exhibitions.
It is also a beautiful gem to come across in the park.
In the park are also tennis courts, little paths with places to sit and unexpected sculptures. The open area is also a venue for concerts, festivals and book fairs.
Last weekend, when the sun came out, I went to a sunny, and now not-so-secret, spot where I can read a book during lockdown. It is a space next to the Carmo Convent which is now an archeological museum. Above is the view from my reading bench.
In front of the museum is a little park and a favorite spot of mine to sit and have a cafe on a summer day.
Above is the entry door into the Carmo Convent facing the park.
Another walk took me to the riverfront the other day. On my return, taking backstreets again, I looked up and saw this image:
On another Sunday walk, I decided to go along a street in the Baixa I had not explored before and came across what I now know is one of the Lojas com Historia (historical shops in Portugal).
A few of these places I have visited, not knowing they are registered as historical, are the Confeiteria Nacional, a wonderful bakery, A Brazileira, a great place to sit outside listening to street music and watching the people go by in the Chiado, and the Farmácia Normal where I dropped in just to take a photo of the ceiling.
TimeOut has a good article on some of these shops.
One of the locations on the list is the Palacio Chiado.
The building was originally where IADE was located. It is a school that was created in 1969 under the name of the Institute of Art and Decoration and is a pioneer in design in Portugal. The university is now located in Santos.
This video shows some of the extensive restoration that was done before the venue opened as a restaurant.
Once we are out of lockdown, I plan to visit more of these historical places and spaces.
The day before lockdown began, I stood in line to enter an art store in the Chiado, Ponto das Artes, assuming, as other’s did, that the store would be closed through lockdown.
While waiting to go inside, I met an artist who recently arrivied in Portugal after cycling through Spain, Mate Peniasco. He showed me sketches in his notebook and I was very impressed.
You can check out more of his work at his website.
Speaking of the lockdown in Portugal, schools here have been closed during this time. Schools remain open only for children up to 12 years old whose parents are essential workers workers such as hospital staff and police. Children with special needs may also attend school and meals for needy students are available. Parents of children up to 12 who work in other sectors but don’t have the ability to work from home can miss work and receive 66% of their wage. This is a far cry from how families are treated in the US.
Odds and Ends
There is a great publication that comes out every three months titled Relish Portugal filled with great Portuguese based recipes, tidbits of helpful information on the foods of Portugal, shops to find specialty items and a list of Portuguese words to learn in each issue related to food and cooking. Highly recommended.
On a wall at Tecidos Santo Condestável
During the scramble to get what I needed before lockdown, I discovered two amazing fabric stores, both in Campo de Ourique. The first one is Nomalism where I found fabrics for my couch and pillows. They have a wide range of good quality fabrics. Next door I discovered Tecidos Santo Condestável, a store with high end fabrics that are gorgeous.
Campo de Ourique appears to be an area where there are several fabric stores and decorator outlets with mostly middle to high end furniture and furnishings.
I heard about this store and while on my way to the Continente supermercado (it’s a megastore) in Centro Vasco da Gama, I decided to explore this outlet. They have all things electric, from kitchen appliances to cell phones and all at good prices.
A place to go for good deals and an excellent selection of anything that needs to be plugged into a wall.
Now I can get lost in Lisbon with my new Buddy.
In the midst of writing this, I adopted a wonderful companion at the Lisbon animal shelter.
When visiting the facility, I was very impressed with the care the volunteers provide to the dogs that are found. Many come with severe injuries and are brought back to health through good medical care. All of the animals are well taken care of until they are adopted.
Buddy, my new friend, was in the shelter for three years. He had been abandoned and was discovered by one of the volunteers at the shelter.
As we were leaving, several of the volunteers came by to say good-by to Buddy, take photos and give him big hugs before he was off to his new home.
If you ever consider adopting a dog or cat, please check out Casa dos Animais de Lisboa which is located in the center of Monsanto Park.
Until next time,
One thought on “Lisbon: A city with many stories”
Love your narrative and beautiful photos, Dora.