For the last few years every time I am in Lisboa, I naturally spend some time with my loving aunt and uncle in Charneca the Caprica, a quaint neighborhood of the Costa da Caparica beach coast. And whenever possible I always like to take advantage of location to see and do something new within Lisboa. Since my cousin and I love fado, we’ve been treating ourselves to some intimate fado nights in famed casas de Fado or in the garden of the amazing Amalia, which I can’t wait to share with you soon. It turns out that when I went to gather photos from my time this summer in Portugal, I realized there were many wonderful afternoons and quick trips to Lisboa, that I hadn’t shared with you since 2018! How is it even possible of me, it seems I welcomed you all to quintessential Lisboa when I too aimlessly wandered getting to know those streets, and then simply forgot to share all the new and hidden treasures I’ve encountered along this time.
It’s quite nice to go back to places we throughly enjoy, no matter how many times we can return to a landmark or location — there are always new and old but new to me things to discover. This year my mother wanted to get to know Lisboa, like actually see the capital city so raved about these days, for herself. Yes, a Portuguese native, born in Angola, and yet she barely has any personal firsthand experience with the charm of Lisboa. And what an eerily perfect opportunity to see the often bustling city of Lisboa for the first time, with the usual large summer crowds kept afar because of Covid. If you’re a local or have experienced Lisboa in pre-pandemic times you know it’s certainly a vibrant city with endless history mixed with the modern and exciting, quiet alleyways and old neighborhoods, steeps hills that carry the sounds of Fado, the Tuk Tuks whizzing by on the cobblestone roads — so to see it all on an early July day and on a Saturday, just muted and empty, was simply eerie. The restaurants, esplanadas, outdoor bars and cafes…all quiet.
It was nice to have that quietness and space to ourselves, and yet we knew too well it comes at a cost to the locals and businesses. Let me tell you, this Saturday was also one for the record books when it came to heat, hence why many were kept in the cool alas for the brave tourists and semi-tourists, like ourselves. The heat blazed on at 94°F, it was one of the hottest days in Lisboa, even for me it was not a day to be walking around Lisboa or strolling the steep hills. We, and this city, were not meant for this. So we took it easy by starting the day in Belém, a neighborhood we had seen many years ago together when I was a child, but I think it’s a lovely way to start any first time adventure in Lisboa!
I loved when I did it with my aunt and uncle, the tourists lingering, ready to take on the morning of walking around a lovely historical city, and the same for us and the handful of visitors, that were also taking advantage of that morning seaside breeze before the heat would become unbearable. It was nice that I got a closer look at the details, uninterrupted. A quick walk around to watch the sailboats and we followed the Tagus river along, passing darling food, drink and artisanal carts — making the already picturesque walks towards the Ponte 25 de Abril and Descobrimentos an even more delightful way to start any weekend morning.
The sun beamed onto the iconic stone carved images of famed navigators and figures in Portuguese history and the beautiful tile and marble floors. If I lived nearby, I would certainly make early morning walks alongside the marina and Tagus River a frequent pastime.
We walked up along the cobblestone roads, ebbing and flowing dependent of which side the shade preferred, and steering clear of anything that was too steep for my mother take on in the heat. We made our way towards the famed Igreja do Santo Antonio Capela, where I sat down to cool off while my mother paid her religious respects. Right behind Santa Antonio is Lisboa’s Cathedral, Sé. You can see more of these historical religious landmarks here, and admire the work that went into creating two very different styled architectural religious structures, hundreds of years ago.
The next set of photos were taken while riding the tuk tuk 🙂