LISBOA!! A dream comes true (?)
Did you ever have the experience that something that you were too much looking forward turned out to be a deception? In our case, it was Lisbon... For months, I was looking forward to visit this amazing city, to finally live the dream and get to know the fairy tale stories that so many people told me about this place... It wasn't the fault neither of the people neither of Lisbon itself, but we had just too much bad luck in these 10 days than we can support...
But let's start with the positive things that we lived in these ten days that we will remember and that will in a certain time cover the bad things: we met wonderful people in Lisbon, we played quartet with amazing musicians, we recorded the Portuguese part of our IMAGINE video, listened to real Fado music and discovered Portugal best natas...!!
City of seven hills
Lisbon - "cidade das sete colinas" - is built on seven hills like Rome! Each of the hills has its magic legend, own style of architecture, tradition and beautiful view points! It means that there is a lot of up and down and it's not at all a bike city. Even less it is a caravan city and if you tried, you would get stuck in one of the tiny streets immediately. (and stubborn Ivan tried;-)So, we took a rental car (for 1,40€ per day(!), but they make it up with immense parking fee...) and we can tell that the infrastructure is one catastrophe! A chaotic number of streets going up in curves or nearly vertical, cars parked squeezed wherever they find a space so that it makes it difficult to pass and often, we had to turn in the back mirror...
The different meanings of zebra crossing
And pedestrians are the most dangerous. It is fascinating how the white lines on a street - so called zebra crossing - are "interpreted" differently in various countries:
- In Germany, drivers stop even though no one is waiting at the border of the street. (it is important to follow the rules!) and pedestrian double check that the driver is waiting, smile at him to be sure he won't smatch him.
- In France, nobody cares about these lines. Drivers might know about the theoretical meaning but as long as there is no red light or police man watching, just go, anyway French pedestrian will wait if they don't want to get hurt... And if it happens to be a German one: he will double check...
- In Portugal, people trust and still believe in good things. They are sure that the driver will wait (because drivers have time in Portugal!) and without looking they just walk on the street. Sometimes, they appear in last moment behind a car, walking self confident and slowly towards their goal at the other side of the white lines.
Even though I'm half French and German, I was trying to adapt this new point of view, still it was sometimes surprising who appeared suddenly from nowhere to use their good rights.
Lisbon - something for everyone!
Lisbon managed in a great way to combine old tradition, history and modernity and going with the time! There are fantastic new monuments in amazing architecture and contemporary art that show that the city is open minded and creative and willing to develop.
Alfama and Bairro Alto are the most charming historical districts where I could enter in the Lisbon world how I imagined it! Tiny and narrow alleys of a diameter of about one meter, artistic graffitis on the walls, laundry hanging in front of the windows, dancing in the wind... Millions of small steps and curves so that I lost orientation after one minute, but never mind: there are just two possibilities: going up or down and it will lead you to the next charming place, or a Fado bar or a backyard with an old man sitting and enjoying or some steps with children jumping up and down or a church or some terrasse with a magnificent view on Lisbon and the ocean... And not to forget the symbol of Lisbon that you can find on every postcard - and still it's so charming and a makes the flair of the city perfect: the yellow tramway! And still there was a reasonable number of tourists in Alfama and Bairro alto! (or at least now in March, it might be different in the summer time).
The district where are most of the embassies (we rehearsed in the Serbian embassy for our concert) is named Belém, there are great monuments like torre de Belém, the monument, an amazing view on the river and the jesus monument, also the monastery of . And every single of them will appear in our music video of Portugal!
The best natas of Portugal!
This might not be a very secret information as you can find it in any tourist guide (and apparently especially in Chinese and Japanese guides...), BUT our very Portuguese friend Tamila sent us to this place with the promise that we would have the best natas of our lives! And our expectation was high as in a few days we had of course an incredible number of natas in every "Padaria" that we crossed! Even more, we were curious about THE Natas of all Natas called "pastéis de Belém". There was a secret recipe that was transmitted through generations and that only three people alive knew!! They meet every night in the kitchen to make secretly the dow! At least that's the rumour... And I believe it because these natas.... oh I cannot write about them, it's too hard imaging them and not being able to eat as I'm already far from the place... If you are ever in Lisbon: go there and eat as much as you can, believe me!!!