I would like to tell you about the place where you can the authentic real stuff that ordinary persons are selling on the street. An open air market called Feira da Ladra (Flee Market). It takes place around the Church of São Vicente de Fora on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 6h00 till 13h00. Here you can find everything that is characteristic about the Portuguese culture in objects, which belonged once to someone, who made it a part of their life for a number of years and now they are almost giving it away. I remember on one of my first trips I managed to grab a beautiful vintage 1940’s white linen hand braided table cloth that was custom made for the Henrique Family’s new dining room table. I got it from a middle aged woman, who went by the name of Maria Henrique who was selling a few pieces that had belonged to her grandmother. The hand sown H for the initial of the family’s last name approved for the authenticity of the item and I had no problem dishing out the incredible amount of…5 Euros.
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Hidden behind all the sunshine and joyfulness there is a very Forgotten/Abandoned/Destroyed Lisbon, which is very interesting and different than one that normally portrait.
These are centuries old relic buildings that remain characteristic of a country in constant economic distress for the last 50 years. Although there was no war or any catastrophic event these places were simply abandoned by the ones that once called it a home, leaving a significant part of their lives behind. I started shooting these lifeless still places constantly picturing in my mind the moment when the last look was cast inside by the person that lived there as they closed the door, never to call it home again.
Get lost in the narrow hilly back streets of Lisbon’s hills
Lisbon is best seen walking its cobble streets, so always have in mind that for your better sake you need sensible comfortable shoes. I am quite adamant when I tell my guests at Palacio Belmonte to forget the tourist map and just navigate themselves the back streets of old town Lisbon with only a few waypoints that I show them from the Palacio’s terraces.
It’s very easy to get lost in them, but I believe that it adds to the mystique of the maze that the old town is. I always tell them to navigate their way with the aid of what is available to them. As an example to direct them to the Flee Market on a Saturday Morning, I tell them to head east towards the rising sun, go down one hill, across the tram line and up another hill to reach it. Easy right? When its mid-day and the sun is high, start walking parallel to it and to the river, while continuing downhill to reach Alfama.
When they hear Fado music and the sound of kids playing in the street they know that they are in the heart of the oldest district of the city. From here to come back to Palacio Belmonte you just need to climb the hill, as we are at the very top and no matter what direction you take you will always eventually reach us. It is much more adventurous and personal to know that you are discovering your way through Lisbon much like the Portuguese Discoverers did in the XV century.