The proximity of countries here in Europe continues to impress me, and I’m on a mission to explore at least one new country every year. So, last week, I ‘popped over’ to Portugal. Back in Aus, the only thing I knew about Portugal was Nandos and its peri-peri sauce. One short flight later, I found myself at Rock in Rio Lisbon, which just happened to coincide with my visit, and starred some of my favourite artists. I fell into bed at 4am after seeing various acts including Hollywood Vampires. Yes, that’s Johnny Depp, who looked relaxed, given the death of his mother and the domestic violence accusations, as well as Alice Cooper, Matt Sorum from Guns and Roses and Robert DeLeo from Stone Temple Pilots, along with others. After coconut sweet bun treat the following afternoon upon waking, I was off to explore the rest of Lisbon.
My friends and I were impressed with Lisbon’s cleanliness; the welcoming people; and the architecture, where public squares abound with patterned tiles underfoot and statues towering above. Mostly, we fell in love with the food. Over five days, we didn’t have a bad meal or cake stop (yes, we split our cakes to sample each one, as pictured). It was a personal food fest and I was grateful for the wide variety of meals on offer — in stark contrast to the stodgy cheese and potatoes of the French Alps.
Best of all was the tile painting lesson! We found Marie Caroline on Facebook, and she agreed at short notice to visit our apartment one evening to teach us about the traditions of Azulegjos tiles. My friends and I selected two designs each and painted them with Marie Caroline’s expert and patient guidance. She even offered to post our tiles to us after she’d fired them, and sent a follow-up message the next day wishing us a safe trip home.
With a happy heart, a tanned face and a suitcase full of pastel de nata custard tarts, I returned to waterlogged France. I’m already planning a trip to Porto!