If there’s something that would make me want to write again, that is Portugal. I’ve been to Porto years ago, for business, and I fell in love with how the city felt like. Lisbon made it to the top of my list instantly. And it wasn’t replaced no matter how often I went back or how many other cities I’ve visited.
Last years were a bit complicated, professionally speaking. I change countries three times so the move took a toll on my mood. So when we decided to spend New Year’s Eve in Lisbon, my heart bounced with joy. With very little holidays at hand, we decided to make it a road trip.
Crossing half of Spain (from Barcelona), to the Portuguese capital was a delight it itself (though, I would hold on driving through Aragon province in winter, it gets pretty foggy.
Nevertheless, this is not about the road trip, but about Lisbon.
The treat – for me – was to spend the first evening of the New Year listening to fado, in a small tasca, while drinking red wine in silence. I’ve been to A Tasca do Chico before (there are two, this is about the one in Alfama, the oldest neighbourhood in Lisbon), so finding it exactly as it was year before was amazingly beautiful.
We booked a table, we arrived a bit late (the Uber driver got lost), so we were treating as regular tourists – they shushed us silent, because there was singing already. The singers in this small bar are locals – they look just like me and you, but with a great talent for fado. There was a mix of characters that you could meet outside, on the streets of Lisbon: the talkative old man from next door, the music student earning an extra-buck to support herself through school, the still shining star that is now reaching the end of her career. I loved it! So did my best half, but not so much (you see, he’s not a fado lover, but a heavy metal lover).
By the way, the word fado means “fate” in English.
I still strongly suggest you give this experience a try. Do not expect fancy food or out of the ordinary services. The waiter/owner’s attitude is close to rudeness and you will be expected to be quiet while they sing (which almost all night). We recommend share tenderness and enjoyment through silent signage.
About the food: good to regular – us recommend the beef, which was pretty amazing. Do try the red wine of the house, which is dry and decently priced. A stroll through Alfama after leaving the place is strongly recommended.
Here’s where we stayed while in Lisbon, at Anto’s place. Cozy, elegant, clean, in a fancy neighbourhood. We strongly recommend it.