WELL BEING & OTHER STORIES

Recipes, rituals and other stories to realign the body and mind

Portugal

Well Being Around the World Lisbon ~ For Ecoage

Around the World, Commisions, City guides, Lifestyle, Sustainability, Travel, Ritualsdanielle coppermanComment
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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.

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Rituals

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.

Acceptably late

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.

Secondhand

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. 

Restoration 

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 hotel

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.

Travel Well ~ A weekend in Lisbon

Traveldanielle copperman1 Comment

I always make so many lists when I go abroad of places I want to visit during a trip. I then spend most of my time during the trip making new lists which feature a combination of places I've ticked off the original list, places I walk past and want to come back to later, and/or places I stumble upon spontaneously; compiling all of my favourite places with consideration for others who may one day visit and appreciate some first hand recommendations. I also have good intentions for the list to form the foundations of a blog post on my return, but every time I find I hit the ground running straight into overflowing inboxes and other tasks to make up for lost time, with no chance to look back. So, unsurprisingly, it never happens. This post, however, marks a moment of change.

From day trips and flea markets, to local beaches and the worlds best pasteis de natas, here is a breakdown of my favourite eats, drinks, see's, do's, shop's and stay's during my brief encounter with Lisbon.

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Eat

You'll struggle to find a bad Pasteis de Nata anywhere in Portugal, I'd imagine, but if it's the best you're looking for, head out of the city to Belem and don't stop until you get to Pasteis de Belem. This place is nothing too fancy; just traditional, affordable and famously delicious. If there's a queue, queue. If you want to take away, take no less than 5 (per person) or you'll be kicking yourself when your only one is over and done with. But if you have the time (and I'd really advise you make the time), find a seat in the back and give these mouthfuls of pure insurmountable pleasure your full attention.

For an authentic Portuegese experience, I can recommend Ribadouro, A Provinciana, A CervicheriaCervejaria Do Bairro and PinóquioCervejaria Ramiro is a famous family run seafood restaurant which we had to queue for but was well worth the wait. Peixola is another slightly more modern place for fish (and rum, just FYI), as is Sea Me Paixaria Moderna, which exists to pay tribute to the old fish shops of the city. And finally, Cantinho Do Avillez is also a must; a relaxed atmosphere with unique interiors and a sophisticated and well thought out menu.

For those with allergies / intolerances or other specific requirements, Terra Restaurante offers a pretty authentic and mostly vegan / vegetarian buffet. Cone ou Copo for all your gluten free / dairy free ice cream needs. Pizzaria Lisboa is one of the best pizza's I've ever had, and it was gluten free. Koppu Ramen Food is also lovely if you've tried enough of the local cuisine.

For sweets, Pastelaria Alcoa, a modest bakery chain, has a lot to offer, alongside hundreds of other local pastelarias dotted throughout the city. If you've run down your Pasteis de Nata quota for the day, a selection of handmade chocolates and the most heavenly chocolate cake awaits at Landeau Chocolate.

Drink

For daytime drinking, Liquid is the place to go for a selection of all-natural juices and smoothies, and if you need some emergency goodness, Power Foods delivers.

Topo and The Insolito are both great rooftop spots, if the one thing you want is a perfect view. Both also happen to serve a selection of drinks and amazing food. The Insolito is situated on the edge of Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara - a small park with a fountain that occasionally has markets and live music. About as picturesque as it gets.

Next to your list, add Pavilhão Chinês - a really characteristic bar in an old transformed grocery store. The rooms are museum-like - decorated with thousands of antiques and artefacts.

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See

All of the architecture, everywhere. Just walk around, put your phone away and take it all in. Dotted around the city, almost like checkpoints, are a selection of miradouros - which translates literally to mean 'viewpoint'. Basically, they're little spacious areas - often with benches, greenery and occasionally a tiosk selling food and drink - that offer particularly good views / photo opps.

St Jorges Castle in the Alfama district is also a popular site for the best views of the City.

Pay a visit to Basilica de Estrela and be sure to pass by the Santa Justa Lift even if you don’t go up it. We stayed in the Alfama District and would highly recommend just wondering around here enjoying corner cafes, local shops and an endless array of artful exterior tiling.

The Botanical Gardens are also a nice place to take a rest from walking.

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Do

Take a short train ride out of the city to Belem and take a stroll through the small town. You’ll find lovely cafes, bars restaurants and stores and the usual lovely architecture. You should also schedule some time for the Jardim Botanico Tropical and if you like art museaums, the MAAT.

Take a day trip to Cascais - also reachable by train - and spend some time wondering through the town until you reach the beaches. There are plenty of places for lunch, lovely traditional stores as well as a small market.

LX Factory is a creative hub on the outskirts of the city. You’ll find all sorts, from antique shops, furniture stores and a holistic therapy cafe and training hub, to cafes, concept stores and artist studios, in an otherwise derelict factory. V inspiring and worth a short taxi ride out of your way.

Lisbon is famous for its jazz, so spend some time researching or asking locals for the best venues in the city. We spent an evening at a really tiny jazz club called Hot Club, with an intimate vibe and cosy atmosphere. 
 

Shop

As well as exploring the city centre and the streets lined with local vendors, we found a few special gems during our visit; different to the touristy shops or the usual chains. Fiera da Ladra Flea Market is worth a visit for anyone into vintage anything. Whenever I travel to new places, I try to seek out local markets. It's really wonderful browsing the stalls and provides a lot of culture and tradition in a combination of locally crafted goods and second hand tat. This flea market is huge so allow some time to wonder around. A vida Portuguesa is a huge indoor market selling vintage bits and bobs, from clothes and furniture to collectors items and homeware. Some things are a little pricey but it's lovely to browse if not to buy. There are also some really unique stores and showrooms in the LX Factory (see 'Do').

For food, Time Out Market - an indoor food market, serving fresh hot and cold, ready-to-eat food. You can also pick up groceries or baked goods if you don't want to stop for a meal. They have a great selection of many different cuisines; a combination of fine dining and casual yet creative street food. If you want to buy local groceries to cook back home, Mercado Biologico Do Principe Real is a market selling all the fresh, organic produce you could need.

Stay

Whenever I travel, I tend to stay either with friends, in rented apartments or in hostels - especially if I'm travelling alone. I love meeting new people and getting really valuable advice on the area from the locals who live there. During this trip we had a private room in the Alfama Patio Hostel which is really beautiful and has a garden and rooftop. Each morning they made a batch of fresh crepes, included in the price of the room, and all awakened guest gather in the garden to enjoy them together. For anyone booking last minute or on a budget, Lisbon has a pretty strong selection of pretty nice hostels. Otherwise, there are many really lovely hotels and of course Airbnb's a plenty.

For more, this site has some other great recommendations.

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