Rodrigo DeMedeiros has traveled the world with his camera, and his beautiful art has graced the pages of 425 magazine since its inception. He recently went on an assignment (prepandemic) for Microsoft and spent time in Lisbon, Portugal. He shared this lovely city visit with us.
What airline did you fly, and where did you stay?
I flew Iceland Air from Seattle to Dublin, and then TAP to Lisbon. I always prefer to stay at local homes via Airbnb instead of hotels, and I found a little two-bedroom home fully furnished in the Parque da Nações neighborhood, conveniently located near a bus and metro station.
What was most surprising about this adventure?
I’m from Brazil, of Portuguese descendancy, but this was my first time visiting. I was surprised at how much I loved the vibe of the city, a mix of colonial character and contemporary urban living. Cobblestoned streets with charming streetcars share space with up-and-coming restaurants, and old buildings house major modern fashion brands. I also felt very safe and at ease getting lost around the narrow streets and squares at night. I took the metro several times — it is easy and fast, and a great way to people-watch. And although the accent is different, I was able to communicate perfectly using Portuguese.
Can you tell us a little about the culture?
The Portuguese, and the Lisboans especially, are very friendly and hospitable. People gather around at bars and restaurants to eat and drink at lunchtime and after work. There is a certain sense of pride in their city, and it’s reflected in the cleanliness and care of the more historic neighborhoods. Lisbon has its own rhythm, but anyone is welcome to partake and enjoy. Also, the food is amazing almost anywhere you go, and very affordable.
If others go, what should they absolutely fit into their itinerary?
I was in Lisbon for only three days, but I found time to visit Terreiro do Paço, considered by many the most beautiful square in the city, with beautiful 18th-century symmetrical buildings and arcades facing the River Tejo. I walked uphill and had a late lunch at the Pharmacia, a quirky pharmacy-themed restaurant owned by local celebrity chef Susana Felicidade that shares a historical building with the Pharmacy Museum. The menu offers absolutely authentic Portuguese classics, such as the Bacalhau with mashed potatoes – don’t miss it! All drinks are named after drugs, such as the LSD (whiskey and ginja), a twisted version of an old fashioned.
What was the best thing about your trip?
Honestly, I always felt embarrassed for not having visited Portugal, given my roots. This first contact was wonderful and ignited my connection with the culture and customs.
What did you learn?
The Portuguese love Brazilians! I was told so many times that we are “twin countries,” because of the fact that we share so much history and culture. It was refreshing to feel right at home in a foreign country.