Lisbon..... I have to admit, has never really on my agenda of "must see places"......... and yet after a few days visiting I am delighted to say I think it is possibly the jewel in "undiscovered" Europe. Now I realise saying this is incorrect as many have discovered it long before me, but no one told me I HAD to visit, and yet it is absolutely gorgeous! If you love history...... this place has it in spades with its incredible courageous voyagers, Vasco De Gama, Dias & Magellan who sailed across the globe in search of new lands (year 5 social studies lessons would never have been the same with out them!)... if you love architecture, this place has it in spades with spectacular buildings and a unique sense of style with exterior painted tiles covering many of the old buildings around the city (simultaneously practical and beautiful) and if you love food & wine, this place has that too with a long history of making spectacular port wines plus delicious Portuguese custard tarts - and all of that is only the start.
On our 4 day visit to finalise events for a conference we are running in Portugal next year, we walked with a private guide to discover the incredible depth of history, went to a dinner where we listened to several fabulous Fado performers (the soulful music of this country) plus found ourselves in the midst of a huge protest against austerity measures which the newspapers reported was about half a million people. In most other countries where as a foreigner you happen upon half a million angry people, you may be concerned, but this was a calm protest that made one truly feel for the people of this country.