Something about Portugal grabbed me. I’d spent years waiting to go to Spain, and I loved every minute there. But it was her neighbour that intrigued me, that made me want to stay a month and lazily make my way around the country, or even just around one of Lisbon’s neighbourhoods. It might have been the language; so close to Spanish and yet I could hardly understand a word. The portuguese accent had me constantly trying to “place” the language. Was it a mix of German and Spanish? Or was that French and Italian?
The streets of Lisbon are narrow and steep. The trolleys are colourful and the flowers fragrant. We had an amazing meal there, the restaurant recommended to us with a vague hand gesture by our hostel owner to “follow the alley.” It was practically in a cave: dark with stone walls and lit by candles. No menus. We were seated and asked simply: “tinto ou branco?” Thankfully my brain was working and I put two and two together, and we asked for “tinto” — red (wine). The next question was “carne ou —” Who knows. To this day I don’t know what the alternative to beef was. Chicken? Seafood? Pasta? We risked the beef, and didn’t see our waiter again until we were brought a bottle of red, and again when the most succulent beef dish in the world came out.
Language barriers can be frustrating, but more often than not they make the adventure more thrilling, more romantic, and more genuine. I hope you enjoy this little taste of Lisbon.