As I’ve posted many times on Lisbon (you can search for prior posts on this website) I will only post about things that are new.
So today I wanted to mention a must see if you like history, music, creativity and light shows. Many locals don’t even know about this but I discovered it last year and enjoyed it so much I wanted to see it again and this time took two of my cruise buddies – Dan and Nellie – to see it.
There are two 45 minute shows each night from early May to the Fall. They last 45 minutes and are at the El Convento do Carmo in the Chiado area. It is an astonishing light show in the ruined but still spectacular (even though roofless) convent that tells the story from the point of view of
He building and what it has seen if Lisbon history since it was first built in the 1300s. I love it and a bargain at 15 Euros.
Pictures can’t do it full justice but to give you an idea here are some.
My friend Gail, who I worked with back in the 80’s has always had impeccable taste so when I knew she was planning on restoring a beautiful former mansion in Lisbon and converting it into a luxury boutique hotel I knew it would be something special.
I was here one year ago when the place was shrouded in scaffolding with a lot of builders doing their thing. One year later it was terrific to see how much she and Miles have done and I have already fallen in love with it and can’t wait to come back and stay there once it is open.
For those of you who may be thinking of a visit to Lisbon in the coming months here is a sneak preview of the Palacio (which by the way is in a terrific location for visiting the city).
Below is the building itself from the garden area – still a bit of rubble around but you can get a good feel for the exterior.
The interiors are already looking lovely even though not yet completed
I cannot decide which bedroom I want to stay in (each one is decorated differently) so I may have to try a few
Love this one
And Barbara, if you are reading this I immediately thought this one was for you two – purple and hippos!
Roll on opening day and congrats Gail and Miles for getting this far – I am in awe…..
My time in Lisbon is coming to an end so I managed to squeeze in a street art tour that took us all over the city – Lisbon is right up there with Melbourne, London and NYC as a street art venue. Although it helps to have someone take you around to find the art.
These are from the Bairro Alto district and include one by Obey (who designed the Obama poster used during the first election campaign)
The first picture depicts the “Carnation Revolution” of 1974 when the dictatorship started by Salazar after the war was overthrown. A very important period for the Portuguese people. The madonna depicts a struggle which has also been a key part of Portugal’s history – the separation of religion and the secular world.
These almost photo quality artworks are of Amalia Rodrigues and a chap whose name I don’t remember – they were both idolized Fado singers (I have become a bit of a fan of Fado while here) and they lived in the Graca area where these are. The one on the bottom right is about the boat refugees (check the image in her glasses). And I love the unknown fado singer in red with her classic lace shawl.
Now here is a brilliant idea. Give good street artists access to a floor in a parking garage and let them do their thing. It makes the place so much more interesting and far less menacing than most car parks and there are plenty of white walls for them to work on – obviously at night only when the cars are gone.
The one at the bottom is another well known street artist from Portugal – Vhils – whose work I saw at Wynwood Walls in Miami earlier this year. This work is done with tiles rather than the etching he is famous for.
Farewell Lisbon, I’m going to miss you.
Next stop Crete.
Walking around Lisbon means you are exposed to tile work wherever you go ( a legacy from the period the moors lived here). These tiles were hand painted and decorated the exterior and interiors of buildings and churches. Some are purely for decoration and others tell stories about battles or saints. Some were even coded to denote whether the building or company was of Catholic or Freemason origin.
Sadly the ability to make quality tiles is a bit of a dying art and certainly very expensive so while there is some restoration mostly you get to see the original tiles which are sometimes in better condition than in others.
It is one of my favourite things about this city so wanted to share some examples in the same place.
I continued my long wander by bus and foot along the waterfront and moved from the modern art of the LX Factory to the decidedly old art at the National Museum of Ancient Art which features both Portuguese artists and others from Europe. This is a nice size place to visit with a lovely terrace overlooking the “golden gate bridge’ look alike where you can sip a decent cup of coffee.
As always I enjoy portraits and these were my favourites. I love the bloke at the bottom left – might have been a Brueghel?
The museum also has arts and crafts and tile work and I would buy both those vases now even though they were designed a few hundred years ago – so contemporary looking.
Then on, past some lively street art, to the Time Out Food Market (yes that Time Out). This is a venture that the Time Out staff set up and which I believe they are going to do in other locales too. It is a hanger of a space which is essentially a very high end food court highlighting (mostly) Portuguese food. There is everything from fish tartare, to suckling pig to ice cream. At the far end are five stands hosted by top Michelin starred chefs where you can taste some of their dishes. I decided that Miguel Lafan’s pan fried fois gras plus a mix of beets and raspberries would be my choice. Not half bad. Definitely worth a visit if you are in Lisbon.
Had another excellent day in Lisbon at various venues along the waterfront. First stop the LX Factory – an area tucked under the bridge that looks like the Golden Gate and which reminded me of DUMBO in Brooklyn. It has street art, restaurants, bars, shops (most only selling things are ate “green” and good vibe. Nice stop for an hour or so and I can only see it getting better and better.
And there is a wonderful place that only sells one kind of chocolate cake and coffee – called Landeau- I had it for lunch!
And now for another continent. I am using Lisbon as a base for a month with a few side trips to catch up with friends. I am staying in the Chiado area which is the older part of town. Lots of hills, charm and red and other coloured rooftops. Luckily they have quite a few “elevadors” to enable you you to get up and down some of those hills a bit faster. The one below was built at the same time as the Eiffel Tower.
the city is full of squares and many have Carioca cafes which are tiny and sell wine, beer, snacks and lottery tickets – it is a great spot to watch the sun go down and the local Fado singer do his thing. And the statue is of an old style lottery ticket seller – if you touch the ticket you are bound to win.
In Chiado I visited the church of St Rocque which as you can see was very sumptuous. There was an excellent one hour English tour for the same price as entry. Highly recommended. These pictures just show the King’s private chapel. Commissioned in Portugal, designed and built in Italy, dismantled and shipped to Lisbon and rebuilt. Plenty of lapis lazuli, amethyst etc.d nothing is painted – everything you see is mosaics. It’s good to be king!
Decided to do something totally different and visit the renowned aquarium which is much more about conservation than most of these and there are absolutely no shows – although there were a lot of kids I had to avoid stepping on but some were unavoidable – oh well. Note to museums of ostensibly kids things -how about some times for adults only?
Here are some inhabitants who live close to the ocean. Love the penguins.
Then there was my favourite part which were the plants beneath the ocean. The second set of photos is an underwater garden designed by the Japanese wabi sabi guru Takashi Amano. Basically this is a giant garden designed to be under the water but enabling you to look upwards at the light on the surface of the water. Hard to explain but breaktking to experience. Nature remains pretty cool.