There’s a fabulously old and twisty neighborhood in Lisbon called Alfama. It’s easy to get lost and turned around in Alfama but that’s just part its charm. It was built that way, on purpose to confuse invaders. Alfama is the oldest district in Lisbon and has survived earthquakes and abandonment. This delightful neighborhood is filled with azure tiles, charming restaurants and shops and the friendliest people. Make your way up to one of the many miradouros for a sweeping view of Alfama’s terra cotta rooftops and the Targus river.
If you are lucky enough to visit in June, you are in for a treat! Starting in mid June, Alfama spills out into the streets for Festa dos Sant Antonio. We didn’t know about the festival when we booked our stay in Lisboa, but were pleasantly surprised when in early evening music suddenly filled the streets and the smell of grilled food filled the air. The local restaurants set up stalls in the streets where grilled sardines and other local treats were the special of the day. If you are a fan of sardines, definitely get one fresh off the grill served whole on a piece of bread with olive oil. For just a euro or two you can wash it down with a refreshing sangria from one of the many beverage stands around. As the evening goes on more and more people fill the squares with dancing, laughter and fun!
However, my absolute favorite thing that we discovered during the festival was the Ginjinha shots. Ginjinha is a popular cherry liqueur served in chocolate cups or in a shot glass with a piece of fruit at the bottom. When served in the chocolate cup, it tastes like a chocolate covered cherry. Totally worth the one or two euros for each shot! Not everyone in my group was a fan, but when you love chocolate covered cherries as much as I do, then these are for you! Even more fun than the shot itself, are the little stands that some of the women create right from the door to their apartments. Of course, I had to get a picture of one of the ladies. I regretted not getting her name, but as we passed by her place later, we noticed little plaques on the wall and she was on one of them!
My husband and I tend to run into fun things like this on our travels, as we try to have our days completely planned out. We like to see where the day or night takes us! This was our first night in Lisboa and it was certainly a memorable one!