I have been enjoying Lisboa, the capital city of of Portugal, for the past week. Lisbon is a legendary city with over 20 centuries of history and has seen its conquest from the Moors in 1147 and survival of the 1755 earthquake.
With slick mosaic cobbled streets this is not the city for heels- but thankfully I travel with nothing higher than ballet flats and the beautiful streets presented no problem! The narrow streets are lined with historic buildings with facades that are traditionally decorated in gorgeous tiles. Crowned by St. George’s Castle, the slopes of the hill and old quarters of Castelo, Mouraria and Alfama come alive with the feasts in honour of the popular saints.
I was in Lisboa during the celebration of Portugal’s patron saint, St. Anthony and witnessed the street parties, parades, traditional dancing, and the scent of grilled sardines. Santo António de Lisboa was born in 1195 and was known to perform miracles and be the saint for matchmaking. In honour of St. Anthony, and as an exchange of affection, people present each other with little pots of basil and paper carnations on which they write poems.
While in the district of Chiado in Lisboa, I came across A Brasileira a favourite cafe of Portuguese poet, writer, and literary critic, Fernando Pessoa. We enjoyed a cafe together and this is what he shared with me…
“…all I want is a sun more sun than the Sun,
all I want are meadows more meadows than these meadows,
all I want are flowers more flowers than these flowers-
all more ideal than it is, as it is, in the same way!”
<Fernando Pessoa, translated from Poemas Inconjuntos de Alberto Caeiro 12-4-1919>
I know I will be back to this wonderful city and country again… perhaps by foot as a Peregrina as I walk the Portuguese Camino?!