Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Tiles of Lisbon

The family embarked upon a ten-day holiday to the Iberian Peninsula.  

We started off on the west side of the peninsula in Lisbon, Portugal.  I quickly realized the strong sunshine was something my children had not experienced in quite a while.  However, Matt was more than happy to take on the part of Solar Sponge.

Youngest Kiddo didn't know what to do in the sun
I did not know a lot about Portugal when we booked our holiday.  Research online told me that Lisbon is one of the places to visit in 2014.  I'm not sure what credentials the list makers have that give them the authority to make such an edict, but I can see why Lisbon made those lists.

Lisbon is beautiful - its beauty is unlike other cities I've visited

Lisbon is old - Paris & London are old, but Lisbon's old is different.

The city's architecture is unspoilt.  The tiny delicatessens, patisseries, art shops, tapas bars, and neighborhood markets fit into existing spaces.  The shops are mixed in with family homes.  The only differentiation between a shop and family dwelling is a small squeaky sign above the door.  Or maybe a chalkboard listing the special of the day on the wall.  Laundry billowed from window-hung clotheslines against original tiled exterior walls.  Ladies talked to each other across from their balconies.

As we walked the city, we could see families and friends having a bica (Lisbon's version of espresso) at the sidewalk cafes.  Families had conversations in their houses with the doors and windows wide open.  The doorsteps of many shops retain the tiled name of the original shop.

The sidewalks in the entire city are cobbled and hilly, which makes them quite slippery.  We all wore trainers (British for tennis shoes), and each one of us had at least one sliding event.  Some hills appear to be straight up 90°, which makes the descent quite interesting. Can you imagine the man power involved in laying all of these tiles?  

Lisbon does not feel like 2014.  It feels stuck in time, and I get the feeling that they are OK with that. 


  1. Would you recommend it as a vacation spot?

    1. I most certainly would recommend it. At the conclusion of our trip to Lisbon & Barcelona we had quite a bit to discuss about the similarities and differences. While both cities are old, Lisbon is old Europe. Barcelona has more modern influences, especially with architecture.