What to do on April the 25th

As you may know, every year, on April the 25th we celebrate the Red Carnation Revolution. It was a non-violent revolution that put a end to a long lasting fascist dictatorship.

Being such a recent and emblematic date, there isn’t much open in this day. However, not many places open don’t really mean that there isn’t a lot going on.

If you’re in Lisbon and are wondering what you should be doing today, the answer is simple: join the crowd!

At 3pm starts a cheerful parade along Avenida Liberdade. Foklore groups, brass bands, people dressed in traditional customs and everybody else walk and sing along this avenue to celebrate the freedom of speech.

Worried about the dress code? That’s simple: buy a red carnation and you will immediately make part of the group.

“Portugal is, and there I will be, happy” – Ruy Belo

MacNamara and the waves of Nazaré

     Thanks to Garrett MacNamara even those who couldn’t care less about surf have been hearing a lot about Portugal as a surf destination. I’m going to be honest: I’m not a great fan of surf myself, but the pictures leave anyone speechless and have been going around the world.

  Last year MacNamara was recognized by Guinness World Records for riding the largest-ever wave, a towering 78-foot wall of water. Now he claims he broke his own record, after surfing a 100 foot tall wave, also in North Beach, in Nazaré. Tó Mané, a local photographer, took the magical shot and this picture is now being published by world reference newspapers.

Photo by Tó Mané, originally published by Zon North Canyon

      Is our coast that rough? Incredibly, not at all. Nazaré Canyon is a rare phenomenon created by a gap in the Continental plate. It’s about 105 miles long and 3 miles deep and focuses the Atlantic energy right on the beach of Praia do Norte, creating huge waves.

      If you ask me, I’d give you other solid reasons to visit this area. In Nazaré you can still see women wearing seven skirts (the traditional costume) or dressing all black once they become widows; try incredibly fresh (and affordable) fish in local restaurants; see the fish sun-drying in the beach and relax watching the beautiful waves and beaches in the Atlantic Ocean.

      Any time is good for a visit, as Nazaré is an open door to an almost lost world of local traditions, centuries old and to a never ending variety of table delights. Sounds like a perfect destination for a family trip, doesn’t it?


Com’out Lisbon – another festival

During summer time it’s quite hard to see one Lisboner sitting inside, either at a restaurant, café or even music concert. As the sun starts to shine and the nights get warmer Lisbon’s streets get more and more crowded with plenty of things to do. Open cafés and restaurants can be found everywhere, belvederes are turned into chill out areas, kiosks open and get popular and there are also the famous feasts of Lisbon. They only last until July, but for those who are visiting Lisbon during August or September (like you, Kristin) and are sad because the Feasts of Lisbon are over, I have great news: “Com’out Lisbon” has just begun.

This festival will last until the 11th of September and will cover the whole city. Almost every concert or projection happens in a different part of Lisbon, which will let you discover off-track gardens or parks. The activities are varied, including music concerts (don’t miss the Big Band from Hot Club Portugal, on Sept the 8th), outjazz, DJ’s and open air cinema. As usual, the entrance is free and you don’t need to pick up tickets some days before, or so. Just show up at the exact place in the exact time and enjoy the show!

The full program can be found here. Unfortunately there’s no English program but it’s not hard to understand the location nor the date, so, since it’s free entrance, I guess that you have nothing to lose!


Off the beaten path, a new place to relax and enjoy

     Despite being very central Martim Moniz rarely comes on guidebooks. This square is named after the nobleman who helped the first king of Portugal, Afonso Henriques, to conquer the city of Lisbon from the Moors. As the Moors were trying to close the doors of the castle, he stood between them and let the Christians get inside.

     Honoring this brave for his actions, the square where he lost his life received his name. Though it was built with a noble purpose, with the evolution of times, it became a degraded place, with signs of poverty on the streets, prostitution and some drug dealing. Finally the Town Hall decided to change history and rehabilitated this area.

     Instead of closing the eyes to the huge immigrant community that lives in this area, they decided to assume and be proud of it, opening lots of cafés, kiosks and restaurants serving food from the entire world. Handicraft shops, art exhibits, concerts and cinema, among many other activities, can also be enjoyed from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

     On Fridays and Saturdays you can enjoy this place until midnight, so if you want, you can go there for a drink after dinner. To finish the good news, on weekends you can also visit the Fusion Market, which is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., where you can find goods of all kinds from all around the world.

     Don’t be shy nor afraid and come to discover the multicultural identity of Martim Moniz. It is open 365 days per year, 365 days plenty open air performances in a perfect symbiosis of cultures, music and entertainment!

Ready to go there? Share your thoughts with me and this article with your friends!