One very specific childhood memory of mine is how much I loved the colour contrast of the neighbours’ pitch black dog and its neon-pink leash. I would literally sit at my window and wait for their morning walk, just to catch a glimpse and get inspired. I’m not waiting for that dog anymore, but colours still totally do their thing for me. Especially when I leave the familiar colour palette of home behind and travel to places I have not seen before. This is where I get inspired and gather new ideas. When I went to Lisbon for the first time a few days ago I quickly figured that this town is a colour lover’s paradise – and naturally I fell for it right away. So here are some experiences and recommendations, sorted by colour. You don’t have to use it as a guide, you can also just daydream away and fend off the November blues by looking at the photos.
Red happened to be one of the most consumed colours during my stay. In liquid form. Blame the Portuguese wine and its promising aroma of warm summer nights! On our first night we ended up in Majong a dimly, cosy bar in Bairro Alto. They got me with their warm smiles and lamps made out of plastic cabbage (!). Apart from all that wine, I ate the most delicious pomegranates during my stay and admired all the beautiful old red neon lights that can be found all over town and make even an orthopaedic surgery look super sophisticated.
What I reallly loved about Lisbon is its apparently good relationship with the colour pink. Often being looked down on as a colour not to be taken seriously, this town fully embraces it and doesn’t care about the haters. Here pink peacefully and openly lives on houses, women and men’s skirts or even whole streets and enjoys the sun together with its colour-siblings. You go girl!
Orange On our last night we went for a dinner treat at the contemporary Portuguese restaurant Gosta do Castelo, enjoyed some local food and learnt about the old Portuguese speciality Ginjinha, a liqueur made out of sour cherry. Normally I don’t dig the sweet stuff, but this one somehow matched the town’s mood. It is smooth, pleasing and of the same colour as Lisbon’s breathtaking sundowns. Those – on another note – definitely were the highlight of my vacation. I drank them in, calmly sitting at Miradouro de Santa Catarina, watching the diverse crowd, listening to a bearded guy playing the contrabass and seeing the colours turn from yellow to orange to pink to blue.
Lisbon (Or Portugal in general) could also be called pastry paradise and many times I marvelled at how creative Portuguese people can get with sugar and flour and how beautiful the outcome is. The most famous one probably is Pastel de Nata. Reliable sources told me that you can get some of the best ones at Manteigaria, where everything is freshly and lovingly prepared in sight of the public. There’s always a huge line, but everyone (even Germans) manages to peacefully line up, lulled by the promising smell of caramelized sugar and cinnamon and the staff’s warm chants and sweet smiles. Another beautiful spot is Tartine, a spacious bakery that also serves a huge array of breakfast options and lunch. Their Galao is really tasty and they also have vegan options, which I sometimes found hard to find in Lisbon.
Speaking of Galao, I have to talk about the other favourite spot of my trip. As a real coffee lover I’m always curious to find good coffeeshops when travelling and testing out all the local specialities – out of professional interest, obviously – not just pure lust for caffeine. The mill was just around the corner from where we stayed and inspired love at first sight. Their coffee is excellent, as well as their breakfast and lunch treats. What I loved most is that you could not only eat from the most beautiful hand-painted plates in all shades of blue, but also buy them; a little souvenir that reminds me of coffee and the sea, all the things I like! I also had a very special time looking at the water from Espaco Espelho D’Agua, a futuristic pavilion that was built for a world exhibition in the 40s and is an event space and a very well-designed restaurant with a huge terrace and great food now.