off the record
Gaze at the Tagus river from any viewpoint in this city, which stands on seven hills, just like Rome and Istanbul. Then, let the locals tell you their history.
WWhen you lose your voice on the first day of your stay in Lisbon, the best thing you can do is listen. Listening to the locals is the way to get the best views of the city. From advice on how to look after your voice, generously provided by singer Raquel Tavares, to the concert Rodrigo Leâo invited us to at Coliseu dos Recreios. Or listening to chef André Magalhães talk about life in Bairro Alto at the ‘taverner's table’, at which Michelin starred chefs have sat to eat. Or sharing a table in one of the city's most elegant restaurants, Olivier Avenida, with journalist Rita Serrabulho and chef and entrepreneur Olivier da Costa, who says that luxury hotels in Lisbon provide the same quality as those in other European capitals, but at lower prices.
Listening to the locals is how you get the best view.
Best to keep quiet when Vasco do Rey Moreira is at the helm of the boat on which we travelled along the river from the Expo to Belem, however. And to wait in silence for nightfall to watch the lights come on at the recently opened MAAT - Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology. All while the aircraft bringing 35,000 tourists into Lisbon every day fly over your head.
Many of these planes pass over Praça do Comércio, the square that looks like a theatre, something it shares with St Mark's square in Venice. Where your gaze takes in the stage, the Tagus, the balconies, the porticoed buildings opening up into a succession of terraces and converge in the archway of Rúa Augusta. A monumental gateway to a city that, as The New York Times put it, has managed to reinvent itself without losing its identity. “This is not the new Silicon Valley,” says the poster in the middle of the building sites littering the city. “This is Lisbon.”
“It’s people who make cities”
With traditional notes and contemporary chords, singer Raquel Tavares and composer and musician Rodrigo Leão write the score and add the vocals to Lisbon.
Read the interview >