Sunday, May 17, 2009

Lisbon, Portugal

Portugal’s capital is a charming old city with gorgeous architecture. Along with red roofs, the most ubiquitous feature were the azulejo tiles. Parts of the city reminded me of San Francisco, with its hills and trams. Lisbon is one of those cities that I definitely will have to visit again for a longer period!

I came to Portugal mainly to try the Portuguese egg tart, something that I loved to eat back when I was in Hong Kong. These tarts, as I later learned are called pasteis de nata. However, the original one, with its secret recipe, is called the pasteis de Belem and can only be bought at one store in the Belem district of Lisbon. Not being a connoisseur of these pastries, the only features that I could discern was that the pasteis de Belem was flakier and less rich.

Another activity I partook in was going to a local restaurant (non-touristy) with some CouchSurfers and watching a performance of fado. This form of song is rather melancholic, with either a male or female singer accompanied by a guitar player and a Portuguese-guiter (round base) player. I watched a dozen male and female singers each express himself or herself. The most notable singer was a Japanese female singing in Portuguese. (Apparently, fado is big in Japan.)

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