We Are Different But We Are The Same – Notes From Lisbon

We Are Different But We Are The Same – Notes From Lisbon 1200 1600 Aylin Satun Olsun

 I was in Lisbon ten days ago. There are so many things I’ve planned to write for a long time. Lisbon notes are one of them; however, all of the thoughts and ideas in my mind run away, when I sit down to write: Catch them in order to write!

 I did not think about writing the title headline, ‘We are different but we are the same’ came spontaneously. Lisbon is one of the cities that look like old Istanbul. These similarities include the passing of the Tejo river which is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the connection with the sea, the fact that it is a city with seven hills, its multiculturalism, reflections of Mediterranean cultures, some orientalist themes and even the famous 25th April suspension bridge like the Bosphorus Bridge. In Lisbon, you can also notice Greek, Arabic and Latin influences from the buildings and from the living quarters.

 On the other hand, it is a very quiet city compared to Istanbul. It is not possible to compare the city with the cosmopolitan structure of Istanbul, which is already said to have a population of 1 million, but we can call it a ‘slow city’ with the definition of the recent times. You do not feel horns and traffic rush, so tranquil that at the Praco Di Commerco (Trade Square), they have a boat on the sea side, right in the middle of the city’s most central square. Drink service inside, a couple of sunbeds on the front, and people sitting on the chairs, sunbathing and reading their books, enjoying the calm moment. Not arguably, it was one of my favorite scenes.

I can not say that I did a very detailed Lisbon tour when I went to a meeting and participated in a dinner at PWN (Professional Women’s Network) Istanbul’s Lisbon network where I became a member, but I want to talk about my brief impression and suggestions.


 First of all, I can say that it is a cheap city and one of the most economical cities in Europe. Especially seafood prices are very reasonable. In Lisbon, sardine and cod fish come first to mind seafood becomes the topic of conversation. So much so that only a sardine canning store is offered as a prestigious element. From cod, they offer many different food alternatives like Bacalhau; but I think because they usually salted the fish, the meals came out very salty to me. I would like to mention that I did not exaggerate when I said I was walking around with a liter of water bottle. Again, there is a pasta dish named Pastel Da Bacalhau, which resembles our stuffed meatballs. They make potatoes and cod fish like dumplings and put them in their Turkish-like cheddar cheese. It can be a good alternative for lunch. If you are into seafood, the restaurant named Ramiro is very famous but it might be a problem to find a place.


 Since we started the article with food, Nada is their another famous dessert. Nada was actually a kind of puddled tart, it’s delicious I think. You can see it everywhere, but they suggest you most to try at Belem Pastry. I did not have time to get pastry despite I went to Belem. The city also has many wine-tasting centers in many regions. You can taste the wines and get what you like. I like the wines of the Douro region in dry wines section. I also bought the Porto wine from there when my husband ordered it. I usually do not like sweet wine, but I can say that these wines offer a more filled taste.


 In Lisbon, not only food, but also transport prices are convenient. The airport is very close to the city. You can pay between 12 and 20 Euros depending on the hotel location. Especially if you have a group, do not hesitate to use a taxi. By the way, one of the most enjoyable views on the streets of Lisbon is the historic tramway. Absolutely do not come around town without a tramway. You can also see Thailand’s famous Tuktuks in the square, but they say unnecessary prices like 20 euros. Taxis are much more economical.


 The photographs you see are photos taken at Praco Di Commerco (trade fair). You can pass from the Rua Augusto gate to the Augusto Street in front of the square. The first thing that comes to mind, of course, is that the historical elevator (St.Justa elevator) that can pass you to the upper district of the city, Bairo Alto, or you can watch it from the city hill. As far as I can see, this is not the only alternative to see the bird’s eye view of the city, there are many different ways. Bario Alto is a preferred area for cafes and restaurants and its vibrant nightlife.


 The outer surfaces of buildings that covered with ceramic tiles something that will catch your attention while you’re wandering the streets in Portugal. It causes more oriental feel, I liked it actually. They have created an aesthetic approach for themselves. Although the buildings in the historic area are not very well-maintained, you still see the infrastructure of a European culture. The aesthetic and regular mosaic pavements in the streets were very beautiful.


 By car I saw the 25 April Bridge, the Explorers Monument in the Belem district, the Belem Tower and the Darwin Restaurant which is very close by. The Port and the Marina get a complete overhaul after the World Trade Fairs in Lisbon and have become quite fashionable, but unfortunately I am not be able to give much detail since I didn’t spend much time here, just a quick tour and a coffee break; but still, in the evening, I managed to take a memorial photo of myself on the Belem Tower, beside an aircraft that flies on the Atlantic ocean at sunset.


 When I came here, there were 2 places that I would definitely not leave without seeing;


 -Gulbenkyan Museum

 -Fernando Pessao’s house


 Unbelievable, but I also managed to see both. Calous Gulbekyan is actually an Armenian who was born in Istanbul, a collector who completed his education in London and served in Ottoman bureaucracy for a while. Especially in the distribution of Iranian and Iraqi oil, he was known for his intermediary role between British, Ottoman and Germans. He spent a large part of his life in Portugal, and his personal collection is on display in the museum, which later has become a foundation for charity. There is a very rich selection of paintings, sculptures, Iznik tiles and collection of Chinese porcelains. Then the modern art museum opens. I do not think you should left without seeing this museum.


 The other is the home of Fernando Pessao, one of the most important literary canons for the Portuguese. After the author’s death, who moved within the anxiety of unrecognition throughout his life, more than 10,000 pages of his own works have been published. Can Publishing in Turkey also published ‘Book of Disquiet’ in Turkish. As we were visiting the museum, they immediately showed us the Turkish translations.


 I think Portugal deserves at least a week’s worth of travel. Not only Lisbon, but also the surroundings of Sintra, the seaside town of Carcais and, of course, the city of Porto should be taken into a trip plan I suggest.


 Musts of the city;

 – a tramway tour if it is possible, to roam the streets

 – Gulbenkyan and Fernando Pessao Museum

 – Wine tasting and purchasing Porto wine

 – One night in the Bario Alto district

 – Listening to Fado if you have time

 – In Belem region: Walking around the beach under the bridge of April 25, visiting the Belem Tower


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