Portugal travel
Lisbon Love Affair Print E-mail

A quick flick through the Lonely Planet guide of Europe will be enough to convince anyone the merits of the Portuguese capital, Lisbon. ‘One of Europe’s smallest, cheapest and most beguiling capitals’ the article begins, ‘Lisbon is a life-affirming, lung-busting city of hills offering views of the sparkling Tagus River’… and that was enough to convince me that my future direction lay in Portugal.

As a translator working my way through Europe through freelance work with a language translations agency, I’ve lived in some of the most fast-paced and glamorous cities in Europe – as well as those caught up in a charming other century, with an old-worldly atmosphere and a small village vibe. My most recent job had been with a French translation service, however I was looking for a change of scenery and an English translation company that I’d been working with on and off over the years gave me an enticing choice of work in either Warsaw, Milan or Lisbon. While I’d previously travelled through the two former cities, I’d never laid eyes on the latter, and with the Lonely Planet promise of ‘narrow streets and alleys… [that] exude a sense of history, with traditional shops and cafés and ancient street trams that rattle up the steep gradients’, I knew I was hooked before even setting foot in the city.

As for my first, second, third and final impressions? Lisbon is a thoroughly enjoyable city, with a relaxed outlook and quaint comforts. If you’re visiting Lisbon for the first time, don’t miss the Belém quarter and the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, or the delicious Portuguese custard tarts (pasteis de nata). For all those culture vultures out there, the collection at the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian is truly mind-blowing, especially when it’s considered that all this was Gulbenkian’s private collection. A thoroughly fascinating and rewarding destination.