As soon as I got out of the airport and figured out where I was supposed to go, I was okay. As soon as I got out of the metro and heard live music on the street, I was smiling. As soon as I found my way and somebody approached me to ask if I wanted some marijuana, I was laughing. As I reached Rossio Hostel and welcomed by a funky girl named Patrizia, I already had a good feeling about LISBON…
It’s been awhile since I last traveled on my own to Europe. It’s actually my first time to travel to a country without knowing anybody or without having any contact person at all. So, I was a bit worried at first coming to Portugal but aruruteynkyu to my wonderful friends – Michie, Simon & Pol who has been here, for their suggestions and recommendations.
So finally I am in P O R T U G A L!!!
I arrived in the evening and it was drizzling. After checking in, I decided to explore my ‘hood. That’s the first thing I usually do when I arrive in a new place – i just wander around to get the feel of the space…
I see tiled buildings, I see wonderful architecture like this train station (Naknampucha, train station pa lang ‘yan paano pa kaya yung elevator nila?!) and I see this interesting structure which turns out to be a lift to the top of the world! (Homeygawd! Ganito hitsura ng elevator nila, patay-patayan na 😀) Hahahaha.
I am really loving it here 🙂
When travelling, it is good to ask the locals for recommendations. Like this nondescript restaurant which was hidden in a very small alley behind the theater and near the police station. I had grilled cuttleflish with boiled potatoes, cheap but delish. Good thing I came in early because the place was soon packed with locals at dinner time. I found some olive oil and vinegar on the table, the server suggested to put some on my seafood to make it more tasty. Mmm, it was yummy!
When in Lisbon, one must watch a FADO performance.
Fado (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈfaðu], “destiny, fate”) is a music genre which can be traced to the 1820s in Portugal, but probably with much earlier origins. In popular belief, fado is a form of music characterized by mournful tunes and lyrics, often about the sea or the life of the poor, and infused with a characteristic sentiment of resignation, fatefulness and melancholia (loosely captured by the word saudade, or “longing”).
I saw a group of people waiting outside the door, I think this is where I am supposed to go. I hear a woman singing with a soulful voice, I tried to peek in, the place is packed to the brim . Walking towards here, there were men inviting passers-by to come check out their restaurant also with live fado performance, but in this place, nobody needs to invite us, we were already drawn in.
It was a cold evening and her voice kept us warm. After quite some time, people waiting outside gave up and left but I stayed on. I didn’t know there were breaks in between the performance, so finally I was able to get in. Once inside, every chair and inch of space was occupied. I was standing in the middle of this very small bar when an old man spoke to me in Portuguese. As far as I understood, he was asking me if I was by myself so I nodded. He continued to speak to me then he offered me a seat. Wow! I was truly grateful.
I haven’t mentioned it yet but I accidentally dropped my camera the day before I came here. I was seated in the steps of Palais Garnier in Paris waiting for a friend to arrive. When I got up to give him a bisous, my camera that i thought was on my shoulder, slid right down. I know you are thinking, what does this story got to do with this entry. Huwell, this explains why I didn’t have much shot inside the bar because it was too dark and I couldn’t figure out the manual settings of this borrowed camera. I broke my 50mm lens and half of it got stuck. Thank god for Olivier (an angel) for lending me his camera, so now I have images to go along with my portuguese memories.
Back at the bar.
The lights were dimmed, the 2 guitaristas appeared and then an old man stood in the middle of the crowd, just right in front of me. We all fell silent as soon as he started to sing. This was the same old man that offered me his seat. I couldn’t understand any word he is saying but I understand the story that he’s singing .
So this is Fado… and this is Lisbon.
I feel very lucky to be here.