Did You Know That Lisbon is Super Hilly?

The latter half of April was given over to international travel.  We had flights to Morocco on TAP (Air Portugal), and they offered us a free layover in Lisbon.  We didn’t want to give up too much time in Morocco, but a quick weekend stop sounded fun.

We booked two nights in the city and found a tile workshop to book, too.  It was a bit tricky because our flight left late Friday night and we arrived around local lunch time on Saturday.  The flight was uncomfortably warm, and neither of us slept well (or at all).  So navigating to our hotel to drop off bags before check-in, finding lunch, and then getting to our workshop on time after having been awake for 30+ hours was going to be tough.  Fortunately, my former roommate who lives in the UK flew down the day before and with her being relatively rested, she helped us avoid making too many bad decisions.

One thing that had not figured into any of our plans is just how hilly Lisbon is.  Huge swaths of the city are up these long 15% grades, and naturally our tile workshop was in one of these areas.  It was good that we’d allotted so much extra travel time because trekking up there was a real ordeal.

That said, it was totally worth it.  We spent about three hours on the experience, and I had a blast.  The guy leading the workshop had a ton of knowledge and experience, and walked us through some of the history (both aesthetic and technological) of Portuguese tile work.  He also had a ton of examples of tile patterns from around the city that we could base our own work on.

Painting tiles by stencil
A series of tiles that I rather liked
On the right, a fired tile that I used as reference; on the left, my unfired copy

The whole session was a lot of fun, and I’m super glad we did it.  And despite the exhaustion of doing the workshop immediately after flying, I’m also glad that it was one of the first things that we did.  Mainly because the next day we went to the Tile Museum, and the hands on stuff that we learned at the workshop really enhanced my enjoyment of the museum.

It was one of those “lots of items in the collection, not a ton of context for them” museums, and being able to recognize some of the chronology and progression added a lot to the experience.  It was a really beautiful museum, too.  Definitely recommended if you’re ever in the city.

I love how this pattern feels 3D
The detail work here is really striking, especially with the irregular tile sizing (full blue and full white tiling are individual cut-to-size tiles)
Some truly impressive free-hand work here

After the museum, on the way to dinner, we found a building tiled in one of the patterns I’d used at the workshop.  This was on the other side of the city, so it was a really neat coincidence, and oddly exciting.

The pattern that I used, but in one color and adorning a random building in Lisbon

For dinner we went to this vegetarian burger place called Kendrick.  It was, no kidding, one of the best burgers of any kind that I’ve had in years.  Great sides, great sauces, and incredibly tasty burgers (mine was mushroom based, crispy fried).  Highly recommended if you’re ever in the city.

The burgers at Kendrick were amazing, they also had an incredible house lemonade

Then, on the way back to the hotel, we passed by a little public park, and had to stop to check it out.  Because it was full of chickens and ducks.  I didn’t catch the name of the park, but it was a ton of fun to just sit down and watch the roosters run at each other and then try to shag the ducks.  If you can find this little park, it’s worth your time to sit on a bench with something to drink and enjoy the breeze and the show.

Chickens and pigeons just chilling in the park
So many birds
The ducks looked pretty funny

Then the next day we left the country.  It was a bit of an adventure.  The short version is that I don’t recommend flying TAP (Air Portugal).  The long version I’ll save for my next post about our time in Marrakesh.

Ultimately, I had a lot of fun in Lisbon, and if you ever get a chance to go yourself, everything I did I’d highly recommend.






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *