Lisbon is home to various hubs of Portuguese society such as culture, history, arts, entertainment and tourism; creating a colorful mesh of these elements that can be seen across the streets and in every day life. Lomographer Esli Afiqah a.k.a. eslitography recalls their 2019 trip to the capital, enjoying its Mediterranean climate, both day and night, with their poetic words and vividly colored photographs using the Lomography XPro Slide 200 film.
I visited Lisbon in December 2019, together with a friend of mine. Lisbon is so rich with history and incredible architecture.
I like to name my albums in a poetic way that describes the places I visited. For this Lisbon album, the quote "By day Lisbon has a naive theatrical quality that enchants and captivates, but by night it is a fairy-tale city, descending over lighted terraces to the sea, like a woman in festive garments going down to meet her dark lover" was from a book titled The Night in Lisbon by Erich Maria Remarque. I thought it portrays Lisbon perfectly and illustrates my perspective when I was standing in the middle of Praça do Comércio at night and looking back at her. Lisbon is truly a fairy-tale city.
The city is laid back, beautiful and every corner you turn to is a photo opportunity. I would stand in a spot just observing the façade of the buildings. They are so intricate, colorful, and mesmerizing. I remember being excited to try pastéis de nata and explore (as much as possible) the different neighborhoods like Alfama, Mouraria, Bairro Alto as well as the trendy hub place, LxFactory in the Alcântara neighborhood. I was also thrilled to visit Sintra, particularly Quinta da Regaleira. With that said, Portugal has several UNESCO sites to visit and explore.
Lisbon offers a delicious array of food that would make you ask for more! My top favorite is of course the pastéis de nata, which we tried from two of the most popular bakeries -- Pastéis de Belém and Manteigaria. I probably ate 3 or 4 pieces and thinking about them has made me crave for them now! Another of my favorite food is bacalhau. It is a shredded salted codfish that may be cooked with potatoes and onions. We stumbled upon a restaurant called Loja das Conservas Petiscos, and the bacalhau was amazing and the staffs were friendly as well. It was raining when we were there, so the ambiance in the restaurant was warm and comforting. We also tried a place called Eight – The Health Lounge. They serve varieties of healthy food from smoothie bowls to tacos – and they are all vegan. Deliciously vegan!
Lisbon has many viewpoints, but I have two favorite viewpoints. The first one is simply the rooftop of our Airbnb apartment in Saldanha, which gave us the perfect sunrise. Watching the sun risen while holding our warm mugs of coffee was blissful. The second viewpoint was accidental. We wanted to find Miradouro da Graça (one of the famous viewpoints) but could not find it. It was at night, and the area was becoming quiet and we did not see anyone else in the vicinity. And we chanced upon this area that overlooked the city all the way to the River Tagus. It was magical to view a bed of lights shimmering and covering the entire city of Lisbon.
My fondest memory in the city is being surrounded by colorful buildings, endless uphill streets, and did not feel afraid of being lost. Because if I do get lost, Lisbon would be the perfect place. Another memory of the trip is visiting Quinta da Regaleira. I felt like I was in another realm, surrounded by enchanted trees and ancient relics that were trying to share their stories with me. It may sound crazy, but the place truly felt whimsical.
I would love to return to Lisbon after this pandemic is over. There are many other places in Portugal I would like to explore too. Lisbon is very laid-back, beautiful with friendly faces and convenient transportations. Although I would suggest walking on foot around Lisbon because you would be able to absorb more of the culture and history surrounding this city. I feel that when you travel, it is good to have a day planned out, but it is best when you let the city lead you. Oh, and do not let the uphill demotivate you because you will never know what surprises await you on the other side.
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