As part of her new series Well Being Around The World, Danielle Copperman, author of Well Being: Recipes and Rituals to Realign the Body and Mind, shares wellbeing rituals, resources and recipes from her travels to Lisbon.
I fell in love with Lisbon the first time I visited a couple of years ago, and so was super pleased to be invited to visit a newly opened hotel in the heart of one of my favourite cities. Situated on what used to be the main street into and out of the city, The One Palacio De Anunciada is a beautiful 16th century palace that has been restored and transformed into a beautiful hotel, perfect for short city breaks and for exploring all of the city in no time. Whilst exploring the local area, I picked up a few tips on Portugese daily rituals from the locals that contribute to the chilled and happy vibe of Lisbon, and they're all things you can try anytime, anywhere.
Long times over meals
One thing I really noticed during my time in Lisbon was how cherished the ritual of eating and sharing mealtimes was. Of course, with busy works schedules, it's not always possible to spend hours over lunch let alone 10 minutes to get take out, but I did feel inspired by how many people seemed to enjoy longer lunch breaks, even during the weekdays. I also noticed much fewer people eating on the go whilst walking or performing other daily tasks. People actually took their time over their food, and even enjoyed it, sometimes alone and sometimes with others. I think taking our full lunch break allowance is something that has slipped, and instead we end up eating take out at our desks whilst finishing work. reclaim your lunch break and see how positive an impact it might have on your mood and output for the rest of the day.
Vacations and days off are actually taken off
Similarly, vacations and holidays are sacred and they're actually taken off. Thing's completely close down, especially during summer months like August, meaning employees and inhabitants are encouraged to as well. We are so used to the lifestyle of having whatever we want, whenever we want it, but I almost envy this approach to accepting and dealing with a little down time every now and then, and not feeling like it is the end of the world.
Apparently, there is an unwritten rule that being 10-15 minutes late is to be expected and almost normal. Speaking with locals, it was refreshing to pick up on their laid back approach and how they almost found it admirable. At the end of the day, it's not the end of the world, and if everyone is in on it, being a bit behind schedule won't mean keeping someone waiting, but will just mean allowing yourself a little extra time to get sorted and en route to where you need to be. Maybe this is what we need in order to reduce our stress levels, especially in big cities where transport is often unpredictable and just enhances our hurried and despairing natures.
Spending lots of time outside, wild swimming & surfing
Something else I loved was seeing so many people outside. People tended to walk a lot and rarely reply on getting around in Lisbon by car. Of course the streetcars are popular, but I noticed that, since the city is not overly vast, many people are out walking during the day, hiking briskly up the hilly areas to get in their exercise for the day. Outdoor activities, according to the team at the hotel, are popular all year around. There is a lot of nature surrounding Lisbon, and with local coastal towns and beaches, wild swimming and surfing are particularly popular, not just for tourists but as part of daily or weekly life for many locals. Nature is good for the soul, and keeps you physically and mentally fit, so I'm with them on that.
As someone who loves buying vintage, secondhand clothes and antiques, I love how much Lisbon has to offer in terms of flea markets, secondhand and antiques stores. Whilst the main streets and central areas offer designer and high street regulars, you won't find too many chains around the rest of the city. I love the boutique vibe meaning you can wander and explore for hours and find some really unique and characteristic gems.
As far as their sustainability efforts are concerned, preserving history and restoring instead of building new is a solid foundation of the development of the city. Every little bit of building or design work needs to be approved by law, which is why as you wander around you'll notice such unique building work and architecture which has been rightfully preserved, giving the city its unique energy and vibrancy. This not only means the city remains authentic and traditional, but materials, structures and already-existing buildings are recycled, reused and refurbished, rather than being knocked down and started from scratch.
Food & recipes
The food in Lisbon is so unique, with influences from all parts of Europe and neighbouring countries. Aside from the infamous pastries, Lisbon has a strong fresh fish and seafood game, due to nearby coastal towns. It is apparent that growing your own and using local produce is commonplace, and even in the supermarkets, you will often find locally produced fare, and not much overly processed stuff at all. There is a lot of fresh meat and bread, even in small convenience stores, and what’s more, I enjoyed that their fresh fruit and vegetable aisle was mostly unpackaged. The produce they use is often local and seasonal, and homecoming is a big part of daily life and almost a tradition.
The One Palacio de Anunciada has recently been completely restored, and so many of the original structures and features have been not only retained, but made the focal points of the building. They have recycled what was there originally, and have reused structures from around the palace to make use for them amidst modern updates. Around the hotel you will notice many of the floors are the originals, from ancient woods and natural materials to authentic, untouched tile work. Furthermore, all of the ceilings have been kept exposed and have been really enhances as focal points of the hotel, the details on which are staggeringly beautiful. Original doors also remain, one of the most interesting being what was once the entrance to the palace premises from the main road; a huge wooden door that holds so much history of guests, inhabitants and visitors who’ve come and gone before. In the gardens, you will notice the dragon tree; one of the most amazing tree’s I have ever seen. More than 200 years old, the tree is the focal point of the central communal area, and all renovations had to be arranged around the tree. The tree also produces components that are used in the hotels spa treatments.
The hotel is committed to using local ingredients in their restaurants and bars, as much as possible. They source from local producers and artisans, and the menus of course change slightly from season to season, offering whatever is available, whenever it is available, with an authentic Portuguese twist. They also have specific menus for specific dietary requests or requirements, making staying 'well' whilst abroad really, really easy, including gluten free, vegan, healthy, sweet or savoury.