Updated: Sep 8
As I get into arrivals at Aeroporto de Lisboa, Portugal, a southern European country on the Iberian Peninsula bordering Spain, I instantly feel 'that' rush like something magical is about to happen to me. I may not speak the language, but that does not take away from what I am about to experience in this vibrant city. Walking through immigration after a 24-hr trip, I salute the finest immigration officer I have seen in a long time with a little hint of confidence, and a splash of excitement.
Waking up the morning after the night before as I pull open my curtain to let that fresh 'bluesky' kind of the day light ooze in, I inhale with a sense of relief because this is the day that the lord has made and I promise to rejoice and be glad in it. And truly , my 1st day in Lisbon never felt so vibrant. The sun was shining, no clouds in view and lovers and friends were holding hands like the world was brand new, and the next thing i had to do is join them out in the street.......and even though I did not see a sparrow yet, what colourful vibrance that set the notes higher for the rest of my days in this beautiful city.
The understatedly cool and trendy district of Lisbon's Cais de Sodré was certainly my destiny this time around. From the buildings, to the historic streets, the vibrant graffiti-trams, the romantic lovers holding hands savouring every second they had left, the little boutique restaurants all along the streets, the late-night kiosks that had anything and everything I needed after midnight, the ever-buzzing shopping strip and the pier by the sea that got the best of me.
What is there not to like about this city?
The once neglected Cais do Sodré area is one of my favourite places in Lisboa right by the waterfront, blogging or dreaming with a glass or vinho tinto as I watch the breath-taking sunsets going down easy like Sunday evenings.
"My soul smiles when I think of every experience planned or unplanned."
They do not call Lisboa an outdoor art gallery for nothing. Besides diverse and historical architecture, the street art is on a whole other level drawing that flavour & spice out of these artists straight to the streets.
On the following day, my girl Francesca invited me to perform at an event in Cascais which was my opportunity to jump onto the band wagon, let my hair down and get ready for another fabulous experience in another city just about an hour drive from Lisbon.
Cascais's history as a cosmopolitan haven for the rich and famous originates in the 1870s, when King Luís I of Portugal and the Portuguese royal family made the seaside town their summer residence, thus attracting members of the Portuguese aristocracy, who established a summer community there. We took time out to go and be a part of a gala event where we got to strut our gowns and heels on the red carpet at the infamous Casino Estoril.
Besides my fascination around these trams with the street art that extends through, did you know the first Lisbon tram tracks were laid in 1873 and the early trams used horse pulled carriages. The tram lines became electric in 1901 and this gave rise to the Portuguese name 'Carro e létrico' (carriage with electricity), which over time became Eléctrico.
Liz Ogumbo Wines - Wine-tasting
Despite the last-minute introduction to one of the cool hidden gems in Lisboa, I got to pull in some of my favourite people in in the city including Francesca Marzilli Batista, Mario Batista, Victor Hugo, Roslyn Silva, Katia Nunes, Rui Barreto, Cibele Ossemane, Isabel Descnacimiento & Francis Boy to join me for my wine-tasting. It was nothing but bliss; a beautiful intimate experience in the heart of the city with great #TLC from Café Dede’s owner, Rhi who took good care of us and prepared great tapas that paired well with the wine.
Portugal’s location on the Atlantic Ocean has influenced many aspects of its culture: salt cod and grilled sardines are national dishes, the Algarve's beaches are a major destination and much of the nation’s architecture dates to the 1500s–1800s, when Portugal had a powerful maritime empire. The best part of visiting this country is the happy hormones transcending across the city because everybody’s smiling.
If you have not been to Lisbon, I hope that the sharing of my experience is enough reason for you to lock this into your travel plans post-covid-19 and explore this world of the living on another level.
Multidisplinary Creative Entrepreneur,