You cannot visit the beautiful city of Lisbon, Portugal without being reminded of the global dominance Portugal once had in the world. Even in the 21st Century, the Portuguese remain proud of their place in history. Commencing with the “Age of Exploration” in the early 15th century, Portugal mastered navigation of the seas and were at the forefront of the establishment of colonies in the New World. Throughout Africa (Cape Verde, Angola, Mozambique), Brazil and even in India (Goa), the Portuguese spread their seeds. Regrettably, this process was predicated on the development of wealth at the expense of indigenous peoples and participation in Atlantic Slave Trade, with a focus on West & Central Africa. Many of the voyages during the Age of Exploration originated right in Lisbon, also know as Lisboa. I arrived in Lisboa with my wife ready to initiate my own personal Age of Exploration.
The beauty of Lisbon is perhaps unmatched in all of Europe. We were fortunate enough to score an amazing Airbnb, located in the Alfama district of Lisbon. Alfama is the oldest district of Lisbon, spreading on the slope between the São Jorge Castle and the Tagus River. The views from these hilly streets create joy and excitement. An exploration of these streets in Alfama does not disappoint. The neighborhood was filled with great restaurants, bars, and shopping. Waking up in the morning is accompanied by the sounds of the famous yellow Streetcars zooming by. What a sight! In the late morning, street performers begin to set up and play all throughout Alfama into the evening.
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As night falls, the options for a traditional Portuguese meal are endless. You cannot leave the City of Lisboa without exploring the Culinary delight of Bacalhau à bras! A popular Portuguese comfort food, bacalhau is dried and salted codfish traditionally pan-fried with finely sliced potatoes and scrambled eggs, garnished with black olives, and parsley. You would be having an incomplete experience if you did not pair your Bacalhau a bras with a glass or two of Vinho Verde also known as “Green Wine”. Vinho Verde is a slightly sparkling white wine that is particularly enjoyed in the summer and with Seafood. MMM good! Lastly, a good evening in Lisbon isn’t complete without listening in on a Fado performance. In popular belief and folklore, Fado is a form of music characterized by mournful tunes and lyrics, often about the sea or the life of the poor. Even if you can’t understand Portuguese, you can feel the soul of the experience. Exploring Fado is a can’t miss Lisbon experience.
There is so much to explore in Lisbon. A priority for me was trying to connect with this “Age of Exploration”. Perhaps no better place symbolizes that than Torre de Belém (the Tower of Belem). Belém Tower is a 16th-century fortification located in Lisbon that served both as a fortress and as a ceremonial gateway to Lisbon. It also is the eternal symbol of the dominance of maritime that the Portuguese enjoyed for centuries. The Tower is grand and imposing and offers vibes of confidence, power, and domination. You get the feeling the Portuguese embodied these qualities during the height of their maritime empire. Many of the voyages to West Africa, to search for Slaves to transport to the new world, commenced from and around the Tower of Belem. As I explored the Tower and walked along the Tagus River, I couldn’t help but think of the significance of this place in the History of the African Diaspora with a heavy heart.
Lastly, our experience with the locals in Lisbon was one of love. My wife and I signed up for an Airbnb experience led by a local, we went searching for clams. At the conclusion of the experience, our host invited us to his home where we shared clams, beer and of course Vinho Verde! It was a unique opportunity for us to learn about the people and the nation. A truly memorable experience. Similarly, we were able to join a small sunset cruise on the Tagus. Our Captain Mario provided great insights on the history of the city and the magic of Lisboa. Exploring the City from the water gives a fresh perspective on the beauty of Lisboa. Pictures don’t do the views justice, nor the people. You should experience your own exploration of Lisbon. The magic awaits you!
Couples Experience and the Experience More lifestyle is where conversation takes place. It is where the experience of exploring new places, new trends, new norms, and great growth takes place. It is where your child-like spirit comes out and shares a good laugh, a good game night, good food and drink and a way to reflect years later on the best that has occurred with friends and strangers alike, through experiences.
This is who we believe we all are. We are individuals desiring the life we want. We are individuals seeking the best connections to get us to the next level. We are individuals that see the best in another, and they too see the best in us. We are individuals of all ages and backgrounds with a story to share.
So get in on the Experience More lifestyle, and hop on that bandwagon of living your best life because, I know you’ve heard it before - this life...this experience...is just too damn short not to enjoy it!
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