June 8, 2014 § Leave a comment
Older people often complain that food doesn’t taste as good as it once did. Are they right or it is just that everything tastes better when we’re young? We can answer this question thanks to Herdade do Freixo do Meio, an Alentejo estate.
In 2001, the Herdade adopted organic production methods and planted old varieties of fruits and vegetables that were left behind by the industrialization of agriculture. They also started to raise black pigs, Barrosa cows, Alentejo turkeys, and other animals, letting them roam free. You can see and taste the amazing results by visiting their store in Lisbon’s Ribeira market.
When you try their products, you quickly realize that older people are right: food used to taste much better. The good news is that Herdade do Freixo is bringing that taste back!
Click here for the Herdade do Freixo do Meio web site.
April 20, 2014 § 2 Comments
Physicists think that traveling to the past is impossible, but Catarina Portas, a Portuguese entrepreneur, proved them wrong. Through painstaking work, she brought back to life many Portuguese products and brands that had disappeared: beautiful baskets, blankets, ceramics, glassware, pottery, toys, and much more. In her wonderful stores we can be archeologists without dealing with dust and visit the past without giving up our smartphone.
Catarina Porta’s stores are called A Vida Portuguesa (the Portuguese life). There are two in Lisbon, one in Chiado (Rua Anchieta, 11, tel. 213-465-073) and the other in Intendente (Largo do Intendente Pina Manique, 23, tel. 211-974-512). There is also one store in Oporto (Rua Galeria de Paris, 20, tel. 222-0220105). Click here for A Vida Portuguesa’s web site.
January 12, 2014 § Leave a comment
If you’re visiting Lisbon with kids, don’t forget to go to the Oceanarium. It is a beautiful aquarium where you can see up close the wonders of the sea. You’ll find a large sample of marine sea life: scary sharks, elegant manta rays, cute penguins, fragile sea horses, and much more.
The Oceanarium is located in the Park of Nations, a large public park by the river, in the north of the city. The best way to get there is to take the subway. You’ll arrive at the most elegant subway station in Lisbon, a light, airy structure designed by Santiago Calatrava, an architect who often turns to sea life for inspiration.
The Oceanarium is open every day except for New Year’s and Christmas. Click here for more information.
November 28, 2013 § 6 Comments
It’s very easy to have fun in Lisbon. But, to have an unforgettable vacation, you have to make this city your own. All it takes is a little effort: choose a window and write a story about it. Suddenly, Lisbon will be more than just another tourist destination. It will become your city, a place where you have a window.
The photo shows our window. Our story is about a couple that can live anywhere in the world, for their talents are many. He and she came to Lisbon for a short stay and rented this apartment in the Campo d’Ourique neighborhood.
One late afternoon, they were enjoying the view of the Tagus river, when he said: I think we should move to Lisbon; this place should be our home. She smiled tenderly at his impractical idea. Then, she noticed that his eyes had the same color as the Tagus river. And, from that day on, she called him river.
She began to notice the same blue color everywhere, in the ancient tiles, in the hydrangeas sold by florists, in the old pottery on the windows of antique shops. And she began to wonder. Isn’t blue the color of heaven? Can you keep a river from flowing to the sea?
November 1, 2013 § Leave a comment
Casa dos Bicos is famous for its pyramid-stone facade. Brás de Albuquerque built the house in 1523 with the riches accumulated by his father, the Viceroy of India, Afonso de Albuquerque.
Like so many other homes, Casa dos Bicos was severely damaged by the earthquake that hit Lisbon on November 1, 1775. The house’s first two floors were restored after the quake, but the top two floors were rebuilt only in the 20th century.
In a poetic twist of fate, Casa dos Bicos became the headquarters of the José Saramago Foundation. Saramago received in 1998 the Literature Nobel prize for his brilliantly original novels. So, a house built with the spoils of imperial conquests is now devoted to celebrating a writer’s feats of imagination. Is the pen mightier than the sword?
Casa dos Bicos is on Rua dos Bacalhoeiros, near Terreiro do Paço. Click here for the José Saramago Foundation web site.
October 13, 2013 § 1 Comment
The Hot Club of Portugal is a famous gathering place for lovers of improvised music. The club, founded by Luiz Villas-Boas in 1948, has welcomed many renowned musicians, including Count Basie, Dexter Gordon, Max Roach, and Sarah Vaughan. The Hot continues to thrive, hosting regular performances by a new generation of jazz artists.
If you’re visiting Lisbon and you enjoy live jazz, head to the Hot Club and watch what happens.
The Hot Club is at Praça da Alegria, 48, Lisbon, tel: 213460305. Click here for the club’s web site.
July 29, 2013 § Leave a comment
Why would an Italian couple move with their children from Rome to Lisbon to open a gelato store? And why would they name it after a 1950s actress that no one remembers? We don’t know, but what’s important is that they came.
They use Italian technology and the best Portuguese ingredients, such as water from the Estrela mountain, Vigor milk, Delta coffee, Pantagruel chocolate, rocha pears, Port wine, and Óbidos ginja. The result is gelato so indescribably delicious that we feel the urge to sing: con Nannarella la vita è bella!
Nannarella is located on Rua Nova da Piedade, 68 in Lisbon in the Principe Real neighborhood.
July 18, 2013 § 1 Comment
Any nutritionist will tell you that breakfast is the most important meal. It gets our body ready and sets the mood for the day. A lousy breakfast is like a bad haircut, it makes us look weird and feel awkward.
If you’re staying near Chiado, you can start your day with the right foot by walking into Tartine, a wonderful new café. We like to order coffee with toasts made from one of the delicious whole grain breads that are so healthy. After being nutritionally savvy, we reward ourselves with one of the amazing pastries or fruit tarts. When we walk out, the sun is shining and the future looks bright.
Tartine is located on Rua Serpa Pinto, 15-A, tel 21-342-9108. Click here for their web site.
July 11, 2013 § 3 Comments
Bartolomeu Gusmão, a priest born in Brazil in 1685, was probably the first human to fly. On August 8, 1709, in the presence of King John V and his court, Gusmão soared four meters above the ground, held by a paper balloon full of hot air.
This moment of triumph was followed by years of failure and disappointment. Gusmão worked tirelessly on an airship called Passarola. He planned to fly it over Lisbon, but his invention never left the ground. Gusmão’s contemporaries considered him a fool for thinking that a heavy machine could fly. What would they say if they saw us land in Lisbon aboard a modern version of the Passarola?