I am currently living in an area of Lisbon called Alfama. It’s one of the oldest districts in Lisbon and got it’s name from the Moors, alhama means springs or bath, and is a reference to the hot springs found here. The Moors are responsible for Alfama’s maze of narrow, winding, steep, streets, which at the time were a defense system, but also help to keep homes cool in the summer. Walking is the best way to see Alfama, if only to see just how narrow the streets are and how close some of the buildings are to each other.
Every Tuesday and Saturday morning, Alfama is the venue for a flea market, (Feira da Ladra), known locally as the thieves market. In Portuguese ‘ladra’ translates as a female thief, however it originally comes from the word ‘ladro’ which is a bug found in antiques. A market has been in Lisbon since the 12th century. The stalls are spread out over several streets at Campo de Santa Clara, next to the National Pantheon.
Santa Engracia Church, although originally built as a church, was never completed, and is now designated as the National Pantheon of Portugal. It contains the tombs of Portuguese Presidents; Amalia Rodrigues, the iconic Fado singer; and Almeida Garrett, a leading literary person.
If the buildings aren’t covered in azulejo, they are usually painted in bright colours, giving the streetscape of the city, a vibrate and colourful, jumble of windows, doors and balconies.
I have friends who live in the Algarve, which is in southern Portugal, a couple of hours from Lisbon either by car or train. I visited recently and on a sunny, Sunday morning, we went for a walk along the cliffs at Benagil, Lagoa, which as you can see is quite beautiful.
After lunch we stopped off at the beach at Vilamoura to ( have a drink) watch the sail boats taking part in the Vilamoura Carnival Sailing Regatta, you can just see the little white dots of the sails in the photos.