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Celebrations with Sardines & Saints

sunny 22 °C
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"Hard to call it a party without sardines" - Brandon Mull

Foodie moment

We trecked off to find a restaurant Lonely Planet had suggested for dinner, 'Faca & Garfo', this is can be a risk as they write the reviews such a long time before publishing you have no idea what state the restaurant will be in now (could be shut down, raised its prices due to Lonely Planet popularity, new owners). Luckily this time it was a lovely little restaurant with a really friendly waitress and reasonable prices. We were given the English menu and I couldn't find any of the recommended dishes on it. When i showed the Portuguese names to the waitress she pointed out that 'Alheira de mirandela' (chicken sausage) was 'traditional Portuguese sausage', and 'Bife a casa' ( Steak with Cream and Port wine sauce) was 'Steak knife and fork' on the English menu!! Sometimes the English menu can help... sometimes it hinders!! Anyway, needless to say, the dinner was delicious and she even managed to upsell us on desert much to Mark's joy, Creme brulée and Chocolate Mousse. Very satisfied :)


Cultural moment

The Portugese LOVE a festival, and everyone gets involved. They are either out on the streets partying, eating and drinking, or they set up a stall in front of their house and sell food and drink to anyone that passes. They stay out ALL night regardless of age, much more stamina than us wimpy Aussies who definitely didn't make it to sunrise!


Wow moment

We had heard a rumor that there was going to be a festival in Lisbon on the 12th of June so we skipped Coimbra and headed straight there. I don't think we really understood how big the Festa De Santo António (Feast of Saint Anthony) was until we walked around while they were setting up in the afternoon, and they were constructing beer stall after beer stall, setting up bbqs lining the street and there were kilometers of tinsel hanging in the streets. Later that evening, we met a girl from Darwin named Jelise and a couple of Kentucky boys (who we just called Kentucky!) and we hit the streets. They were heaving with people, the air full of Portuguese music and the smell of grilled sardines. The town of Lisbon is incredibly hilly and we climbed and climbed all night, roaming the streets, enjoying the amazing atmosphere! We met a group of Portuguese guys who we chatted to for hours learning all about them, the language and having a laugh. It was a great night!!

What we learnt today

The Festa De Santo António is also known as the festival of Sardines. The reason for this is that the story of St Anthony tells us that when he was a missionary in Italy he became depressed because the locals wouldn't listen to his sermons, so he went to the lake to talk to the fish. Suddenly row upon row of fish came to the surface to listen to him talk. The townspeople came to see this and were amazed as the fish bowed their heads and opened their mouth in reverence to Saint Anthony! In response to this miracle the festival is based heavily around the grilling and eating of the biggest sardines I've ever seen!!! Plus they hand out Sardine hats to wear in the festivities, but these are incredibly rare. Jelise and I tried our hardest to get our hands on one all night, even offering money to confused Portuguese children for theirs (One Euro for a child, Jelise?!)... we finally struck luck when meeting our lovely Portuguese friends who gave us theirs at the end of the night! Success!!


Posted by travellinglise 09:11 Archived in Portugal Tagged lisbon

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