Transport yourself to Lisbon with me, and listen to a song by the queen of Fado music, Amália Rodrigues. Take in the sights and sounds of this most beautiful city. The song I love the most is Lágrima. It tells the story of tears and heartbreak in a way, that only Fado can!
One of my favorite sights during a short visit to Lisbon, Portugal, was the “Torre de Belém”. It was built in the early 16th century. The tower was constructed near the mouth of the Targus River, the perfect location to defend the city from foreign intruders. The tower was rather big, and very spacious on the inside. Very narrow and tight stairwells led both upstairs and into the dungeon. The stone steps were high, and almost too tight for two people to pass each other. From the top, a Golden Gate Bridge look-alike could be seen spanning across the Targus River.
Up high on a hilltop, the Castle de São Jorge overlooks much of the city. The afternoon we were there, it was quiet. We encountered only a few visitors. There were more ancient stone steps to climb. The castle grounds are spread out, and very nicely kept. Numerous “castle cats” make their home there. Near the castle were some souvenir shops, where I found a cool cork wallet and postcards made out of cork. They are sturdy, yet somewhat flexible, so they can actually be mailed.
Lisbon has many small parks throughout the city. My favorite one was the University of Lisbon Botanical Garden. Lots of interesting trees and flowers, some I recognized and others I didn’t. While I took photos there, my husband relaxed in the shade listening to his iPod.
Lisbon is also the home of Fado music. There are many “professional” type performances oriented towards tourists. They include dinner and drinks, and can be expensive to attend. We opted for a small, hole-in-the-wall place in the Barrio Alto neighborhood, where the cook even came out of the kitchen and sang her heart out. Certainly not a fancy show, but seemingly more authentic. We were the only non-locals in the restaurant.
The next day we visited the Fado Museum, where one can learn all things and history Fado. Procured some authentic CD’s, many of which are only for sale in Portugal. We also learned that Fado started out in brothels as love songs, heartbreaks and loss. The songs are dramatic, oozing with emotion! This evening was amazing, especially since we were surrounded by down-to-earth, kind people. The food however, was terrible!! But we came primarily for the music, which did not disappoint.
The Portuguese language is beautiful to listen too. I am able to understand a bit, since there are some similarities with Spanish. However, the way the locals pronounced “Lisboa” ( with a little lisp makes it sound like Lishboah) really made me fall in love with the place and people. Obrigado Lisboa!