Lisbon is definitely the place to visit. The global village of the moment considering the number of foreigners from all walks of life flocking here.
The best way to arrive in Lisbon is by plane and we recommend the national airline, the best in the world, now partly owned by a Brazilian, but such is life in the capitalist world.. Taxi is the best option to arrive in the city centre and the cost of a ride in a Mercedes driven by a local is around 10 euros. Despite some bad publicity and the voices from the competition, most of the drivers are nice. Should you prefer the metro take the red line to Alameda and change to the green line. Once on the platform make sure you walk all the way to the front otherwise you will be forced to join the stampede of foreign tourists running along the platform to reach the wagons, a funny show, courtesy of the Metro administration. When in the city centre, drag your trolley uphill to your hotel or rented apartment. Make sure you arrive early in the morning or late at night and that the wheels in your trolley are loud enough. By waking up neighborhood you will have had your revenge for having to run like mad along the metro platform. Put on your sports shoes and walk out the door to the nearest café. Be a local and have an expresso, the best way to start the day. Three a day will keep you up and running and awake. Pastries are tempting and go well with it. Do not worry about the number of calories in each custard, you will lose them quickly going up and down the hills. I hope you have improved your French. You will need it to greet the French now living in the city centre. Be nice to your neighbor waving at you by the castle walls. He is here too with his family. And so is your boss, your schoolmates and your distant cousin. Grab a piece of paper and start counting the number of locals you have seen so far. Lisbon is a modern city and ladies with moustaches, men with army tattoos and children with rotten shoes are quite rare these days here, hence make sure you have your camera ready should by chance come across one. Restaurants and cafés serve lunch at affordable prices nearly everywhere. But you may wish to try also the new sensation in town – gourmet food courts. The Portuguese are very fond of shopping centres and spend a great deal of time in them. Probably with that in mind the city now offers a number of food courts in local markets and historic buildings operated mostly by kids from well-off families. Prices are higher in these places and the quality of the food is generally good, prepared by renowned chefs, a new phenomenon in the country – the country now has more chefs than tram drivers. Tram 28 is highly overrated. For your information I believe there are only half a dozen of them, hence put some sun block and get ready to wait for a while in the sun by the tram stop. If you are lucky enough to find a seat open the window and enjoy the breeze. Otherwise you will find yourself trapped and squeezed in a small tram whose final destination is a cemetery. No kidding. Once you get there visit The Cemetery of Pleasures, a curious name for the most beautiful graveyard in the city. Visit the residential neighborhoods and the local shops and restaurants where the attendants and waiters, contrary to Spain, will make the effort to speak you language. Book a table after 8. I know it is 7 P.M. and you are now thinking of dinner. But forget it. Take to a terrace and have a drink before that. Locals only go out for dinner at 9 and before that you will only find foreigners… and you neighbors. Fado is ok but it can be also a saddening bore. The melody is fine. As for the lyrics, thank God you don’t understand the words. If you do not wish to get depressed don’t have them translated. Buy shoes while you are here and the next time your boss tells you Italian shoes are better kick his royal ass with your fine leather shoes made in Portugal. Have a nice haircut. Hairdressers and barbers are now in full fashion in Lisbon. It’s a highly competitive sector and prices start at €4.5. Take to the beach. You probably didn’t realise but there are dozens of beaches around and it is fairly easy to reach them by bus, train or car. The water is not as warm as in the Mediterranean, but then again who wants to swim in a bowl of warm soup?! If you wish to stay know that there are lots of advantages for you: if you have half a million to spend we give you a golden visa and grant you the right to stay as long as you like.
Carlos Tomé Sousa