Lisbon, My New Home

Hello everyone. I’m back! Sorry for the long silence.

I’ve been busy since the beginning of 2021, relocating myself to Lisbon, Portugal.

Don’t get me wrong. I loved Ireland for its natural beauty, literary tradition, and some of the friendliest people in the world. I would go back and visit in a heart beat. But it was time to move on.

Statue of King José I, by Machado de Castro (1775), lit up in GREEN, during St. Patrick’s Day

I fell in love with Portugal when I first visited back in 2017. Since then I’ve always wanted to return and experience what it’s like to live in this beautiful country. I chose Lisbon because it is a city big enough to host people from all over the world, with a good mix of diverse cultures. There are events (concerts, seminars, art exhibition etc) throughout the year. It’s near the sea. It has good facilities as well as an international airport to connect with most major cities.

So far I have not been disappointed.

First, let’s talk about hills. After living in “flat, sea level” Dublin for about a year and a half, I was quite excited to add some elevation gains/losses to my daily routine. Lisbon is known as the city of seven hills – they are: São Roque, São Jorge, São Vicente, Santo André, Santa Catarina, Chagas and Sant’Ana. I happen to live on the highest hill of Lisbon, steps away from the highest viewpoint of the city.

Lisbon is a walkable city with countless viewpoints perched on top of those hills. To get there usually requires some climbing.

But if you are tired of going up and down? Options abound – lifts, trams, cable cars, funiculars, you name it. Uber is not at all expensive in Lisbon, and Bolt (I heard) is even cheaper.

Second the smell of the city is wonderful this time of the year (March/April) when the wisteria and orange blossoms are in full bloom.

But it doesn’t stop at flowers. Ambling along streets of Lisbon, you won’t fail to notice the sweet aromas from the freshly baked Pastel de Nata.

Pastéis de Belém is popular among tourists, while locals swear by Manteigaria. Which one is your favourite? You be the judge.

Thirdly, the 300 days of sunshine is a lie, according to my other expat friend that is 🙂 Lisbon is known as the sunniest capital in Europe. But that doesn’t keep it from becoming cold and damp in the winter. Although, when the sun does shine through, it is usually intense. I plan out my daily walks around mornings and late afternoons, coming home for a siesta when the temperature climbs up.

Fourthly, there are a good variety of musems and monuments in Lisbon ranging from Portugal’s emblematic art media to music form, most of which are free on Sundays and holidays. With the April 5th re-opening, we were able to catch the magnificent René Lalique exhibit at the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian free of charge.

The São Jorge Castle is also free entry this month and to residents of Lisbon all year round. It’s one of the best places to view sunset in Lisbon.

Next week sees the start of the Magic Garden display at The Tropical Garden in Belém. I was told that there will be plenty of outdoor events in the summer.

Last but not least, the food.

Food is one of the deciding factors I picked Portugal. Durning our travel around the country, we sampled a great variety of food from different regions of Portugal, each with its own key ingredients, flavours and cooking methods, not to mention the worldly influence from India and Africa. Most fruits and vegetables are locally grown and priced at a bargain compared to Ireland, where the produce are largely imported from Spain or Portugal 🙂 There are a number of organic farmers markets in Lisbon that I am still exploring. So far my favourites are the ones at Santos-O-Velho and Principe Real.

The Portuguese cooking method is what I am most accustomed to growing up in China, more spices, less or no cheese/butter/cream. Lots of rice and vegetable 🙂

Traditional Portuguese Easter Lunch with roasted kid goat, accompanied by kid goat liver rice, roasted potates and sautéed greens

Coming up next: Lunch at Alma

30 thoughts on “Lisbon, My New Home

  1. I also spent several years in Dublin before moving elsewhere. I understand the desire to leave a city and a country once you’ve seen it all, but I also understand the desire to come back to find the great atmosphere. Good luck in Lisbon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Merci! Well the things is, I haven’t seen all of Ireland, with the travel restrictions we were only confined to 5 km of our homes. So once things are safe and opening up, I am going back to visit more places 🙂 It’s a beautiful country!

      Like

  2. Wow, just like that. Will you change your bi-line to sunny days in Portugal? Best wait and see. Beautiful post. I hope covid restrictions won’t restrict your walks too much.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Here I thought you were quiet, because you were in quarantine. Congratulations on the move. With COVID, was it hard to move there? I think Italy doesn’t allow visitors… or Americans right now. Glad you are enjoying life!! Glad you are back with travel updates!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. Ha, I was never the quiet one. Just busy. Lots of things to plan out and arrange with the move. As you mentioned, it wasn’t easy with covid. Portugal only allows Americans to enter with a residence visa, that’s the one I obtained. I figured if I am going to be stuck in a lockdown situation, then Lisbon would be a good place. I have more free time now, will write. Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Lisbon remains one of my favorite cities I’ve visited, and Portugal is at the top five of my favorite countries I’ve visited in Europe! I would honestly kill to return, even if for just a visit! I’ve only been to Pastéis de Belém, but I’d be keen on trying Manteigaria. To also get views from the miradouros would be the dream once more, and I hope for an opportunity to return once we can! Enjoy the next chapter of your adventures in the Portuguese capital!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I loved Portugal when I visited long ago (esp. beaches, tiled streets and food) and the Gulbenkian museum still ranks as one of my world favorites. All that Belle Epoque/Art Nouveau is wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve only spent a couple of days in Lisbon on different trips, but I enjoyed the city very much each time. I look forward to seeing it through your eyes. And hope to get back there next year if Covid is finally under control. As you mentioned, the city is great for walking (plus exercise :)) –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

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