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29 LEFT: The view across the Lima estuary is said to be the most beautiful in Portugal. / 1. In Lisbon, the Festival of Saint Antonio marks the start of summer. / 2. Each of Portugal’s former colonies participates in the parade. / 3. A street barbeque in Lisbon with sardines on the coals. / 4. Representatives of the colony of Macao put on a dragon dance performance. CARNIVAL TIME Our weekend in Lisbon coincided with the Festival of Saint Antonio, which marks the start of the sardine season. Each year the festivities include a mass wedding in the old Sé Cathedral and a street carnival, with all the former colonies participating in the parade. Not quite Rio, but thrilling nonetheless, with sequins and percussion in abundance. The Alfama old town is a bit of a warren and we stayed, for better or worse, in its Mouraria section, best described as a kasbah. Our apartment could only be reached on foot. A huge advantage of our colourful location was being a stone’s throw from the start of the number 28, a museum-like tram, that passes through many of Lisbon’s finest districts and is punted as the city’s greatest highlight. We hopped onto the first tram of the morning, before the city was properly awake, thereby avoiding long queues. A steep climb up cobbled alleyways brought us to St George’s Castle, an imposing landmark on the city’s skyline, and a fine miradouro (viewpoint). From here we sauntered downhill, stopping for the occasional beer served with marinated lupini beans. As the jollifications intensified by the hour, street barbeques popped up everywhere and turned pavement cafés into sardine festas. The smells of fish on the coals and sweet basil are synonymous with summer in Lisbon. Sunday evening found us at a lively food and wine market. Stalls offered regional produce including red wines from the Alentejo region, smoked meats from the Planalto 4 1 3 2 4


1-October-2016
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