25th of April- a very special national holiday.

Whenever I go to Lisbon- and believe me when I say I go to Lisbon a lot! – there is a place I never miss: the Largo do Carmo. This is a quiet yet central square of Lisbon where some very special piece of recent History took place.

As you might have heard already, we had a closed, strict regime in Portugal from 1926 (although only officially from 1933) to 1974. António Salazar was the head of government until 1969 and Marcello Caetano, his successor until 1974.

In that year it all ended finally, not in a blood bath as you might imagine, but in rather a joyful way, with a “shower” of carnations, grabbed from the street flower vendors, instead (you can read more about it here.

It’s been 39 years but we still celebrate this date and what better place to start celebrating than the very place where it all happened? If you are around Lisbon on this date you must make your way to Largo do Carmo and other nearby places and see for yourself.

We will have music playing, speeches from some important political leaders, poem reading in the open air from tonight.  In the afternoon a parade will be held in Avenida da Liberdade down to Rossio where there will be some Portuguese music concerts.

You won’t need to go hungry nor thirsty as there will be many stands selling cold drinks and traditional nibbles. Cafés in the center will be open all day. Will you want to miss all the revelry and joy of yet another year in freedom?

International Day of Monuments and Sites

     There are good reasons to celebrate today’s date around the world. It is a very dear day to us here at Lisbon Stories: today is April the 18th the international day for monuments and sites. And you are more than welcome to come and join the party!

     Why is today so special? Well for a start, it is an official international celebration approved by the UNESCO in 1983, so actually today is its 30th anniversary. Many places around the world hold special events in Museums and other important sites today and during the next week and Portugal is no exception.

     Every year there is a different theme and the theme for 2013 is the Heritage of Education. More than 490 activities in 290 different monuments and sites were planned for today throughout Portugal and most of them include some very different tours from what we are used to.

     From food tastings and ancient dance shows in the castle of Saint George in Lisbon to a special guided tour to the painted tiles of Pena Palace in Sintra, there is a bit of everything to please everyone’s taste.

     By the way, did you know that the St. Jerome Monastery is the most visited monument in Portugal? Well, I dare you to come and figure out why. If not before, maybe you can come just in time for next year’s celebration of the international day for monuments and sites!

Seven cruises in the same day

     Today Lisbon will be exceptionally crowded. Seven cruises are on port and the city will receive about 8500 passengers only from the cruise ships.

     Crazy day? Maybe yes, maybe not. Though the city is not so big, I’m sure that many of them will decide to enjoy the beach in Cascais, the history in Sintra, religion in Fatima or wines in Arrábida. All these towns are easy to visit just in a couple of hours, which gives passengers passing by Lisbon many options in how to spend their time.

     Though receiving seven cruises in one day is a little uncommon, April is normally a peak month.. It’s the beginning of the season for Mediterranean cruises, which happens at the same time than the re-positioning of Mediterranean and North European cruise ships.

     This year, only in April, we’ll have 55 cruise calls. 33 cruises will be passing by during the day, 17 will be in turnaround and 5 in inter-porting  This means a 41% growth when compared to the 39 calls registered in April 2012.

Curious? Come on board and discover Lisbon!

 

 

We want a Fernando Pessoa doodle

     I’ve just received this email from Casa Fernando Pessoa and couldn’t resist to share it:

     ”On June 13th 2013, Portugal and the Portuguese language (spoken by more than 280 million people all over the world), will be celebrating the 125th birthday of Fernando Pessoa, our most universal writer and poet. Internationally revered by readers, Fernando Pessoa was the first writer ever known to have dispersed his creativity through tens of literary personas and the genius creation of the concept of three main heteronyms, whom he embodied but at the same time giving them a life, a biography and a style all of their own. Writing in Portuguese and English all his life, Fernando Pessoa, through himself and his own others, was the epitome of Portuguese literary innovation breakthrough, on the XX century. His legacy is now more alive than ever, having been translated and published in more than 40 languages.

     With all this in mind, we thank your doodle team, in advance, to take his upcoming 125th birthday under serious consideration.”

      Copy / paste this text and email it to [email protected]oogle.com

“To be great, be whole;
Exclude nothing, exaggerate nothing that makes you.
Be whole in everything. Put all you are
Into the smallest thing you endeavour.”