Loving Lisbon In the Winter

For additional posts on Lisbon and surroundings click here...

We're at the end of our month in Lisbon and have had a fabulous time. Partly it was the flat and our visitors (A&A and J&G) but it was also the affable Lisboans, the affordability, the mild weather and the seafood. This is a great city. There's plenty to do but nothing that screams that it MUST be done. This is a city where you can relax into your stay without worrying you've missed something unmissable, though now I think about it perhaps the Gulbenkian Museum is unmissable! We spent a quiet Sunday here and were awed that this was the collection of one man. The Middle Eastern rooms are extraordinary and the Art Nouveau Lalique jewelry was very memorable. I particularly like the manner in which they displayed fine art and furniture together which creates a sense ot time and space.

But it isn't all about history and aesthetics, you can't spend any time here without hearing about the austerity measures the Portuguese have been living with for longer than anyone else in Europe. While the Spanish protest the Portuguese are entering yet another year of fiscal cut backs. They have the lowest wages in Europe, with a minimum monthly salary of 500 euro. Youth unemployment continues to rise and the President has recommended  that young people emigrate. Despite all this the people we met were stoic,  welcoming and warm. I can't think of a better place to spend your tourist dollar.The Fort in Lisbon, below.
On a lighter note we had some great meals, I've talked about the simple food but we also enjoyed some more elaborate grub. I'd highly recommend any of the following Duval100 Manieras (both the main restaurant and the bistro) and Cantinho AvillezBelow is 100 Manieras' signature amusee bouche, a tribute to Lisbon - cod crackers posing as washing drying outside in the wind.
January is a good month to visit Lisbon because there are no lines for the famous 28 tram, we could get reservations at great restaurants very easily, the sites  and museums were empty and the apartment was reasonably priced. I'd highly recommend traveling here in the winter months I don't think we wouldn't like at as much at the height of the tourist season. Next time perhaps we'll try March.
 Elevador da Bica, one goes up as the other goes down.
If you are looking for yoga or a gym I can recommend Envy in Chiado. The people there were very welcoming and kind to me and the yoga instructor was very patient. I now know how to say "breathe in" and "breathe out" in Portuguese as well as "bend your legs" which seems like a useful skill! It's very strange to take a yoga class in another language. You spend half your time contorting yourself to see what other people are doing and the rest of your time hoping desperately you'll recognize the sanskrit name for the poses when pronounced with a Portuguese accent. 

I should have blogged about so much more, the pousada in Estremoz, the museums, the port tastings at Solar do Vinho do Porto, the fort in Lisbon and  lots more. Of course there's always so much more to see, instead here are a few random photos to say goodbye.

The symbol of the city in the distinctive paving stones.

Eighteenth Century tile work from the National Palace at Sintra. 
Restauradores Square in Lisbon after the rain. 
 The statue of the poet Passeo outside Cafe Brasiliera.
 Roman ruins in Evora with the pousada on the right.
D. and A. on the tram heading for Belem.


Unknown said…
I love Lisbon! Never been there in winter though. Thanks for sharing!

x Hannah

Thank Hannah - It's well worth considering in the winter, yes there's rain but there are plenty or bright days too and in January and Feb you'll see FAR fewer tourists.
Thanks for dropping by!