Lisbon in Amsterdam

Go Lisbon has told you where to find Lisbon in London, Paris, New York, and San Francisco. Now we let you know about the Portuguese presence in another major world city — Amsterdam. When you visit the Dutch capital’s most important museum, the Rijksmuseum, you not only see some of the best Old Masters but also get a history lesson on the role of the Dutch in world trade after the Age of Discovery. As written on one of the walls in the museum, and explained next to many of the pieces on display, the Dutch took over much of the Asian and American trade started by the Portuguese, leading to their capital becoming one of the richest cities in the world. Later, as a result of the Iberian persecution of Jews, many Sephardic (Portuguese and Spanish) Jews fled to Amsterdam, and that’s how the city’s most important synagogue was born. Today the Portuguese Synagogue has a beautifully restored interior and is open to visitors.
After that, if you’re still in the mood for something Portuguese-related, dine at Portugalia, a Portuguese restaurant in the center of the city. Those nostalgic for Lisbon and its music have had the chance to hear Fado on some special nights, while any time they show up there is always a wide range of Portuguese specialties available on the menu, from the “Seafood Festival” dish to the good-old cod in cream, “bacalhau com natas” which is always a favorite.

Portuguese Synagogue, Amsterdam

Portuguese Synagogue, Amsterdam

Portugalia, Portuguese restaurant in Amsterdam

The 7 Portuguese Wonders of the World Have Been Announced

7 Portuguese Wonders of the WorldAs Go Lisbon previously reported, the New 7 Wonders Foundation has been conducting a survey to select the seven Portuguese wonders around the world. The results were revealed yesterday, on Portugal Day. The candidates were structures in all corners of the globe mostly built during the Age of Discovery, and ranged from forts to monasteries. In total there were 27 nominees in 16 countries, and voted the 7 Wonders of Portuguese Origin in the World were the Diu Fortress in India, the Mazagão Fortress in Morocco, the Bom Jesus Basilica in Goa (India), the Santiago Old Town in Cape Verde, Saint Paul Church in Macao (China), St. Francis Convent in Ouro Preto (Brazil), and another convent of the same name in Salvador da Baía also in Brazil.
These winners were chosen by close to a quarter million people who voted online, by phone, or text message, and were announced in a ceremony in the city of Portimão. Last night it was also revealed that there will be another Portugal-related vote next year, for the 7 Natural Wonders of Portugal, which will happen at the same time as the international 7 Wonders of Nature also by the New 7 Wonders Foundation.

A Lisbon-Style Las Vegas

A place named Rossio, delicious custard tarts, baroque architecture, cobblestone pavements with black and white designs — but it’s not Lisbon. Gambling is the main attraction and there’s a monumental casino named The Venetian — but it’s not Las Vegas. That place is Macao, a Chinese territory not far from Hong Kong that was a Portuguese colony for almost five centuries until 1999. It was the first and last European colony in China but its present status as the world’s gambling capital (it has surpassed Las Vegas) has made people forget its ties to Portugal. Yet Portugal is everywhere, with reminders of Lisbon in every corner. Restaurants fuse Portuguese and Chinese cuisine, the European-style architecture has been preserved amid modern skyscrapers and flashy casinos, its main landmark casino is named “Lisboa,” there’s a sophisticated restaurant called “Rossio,” and everything from the old street lights to the pavements are just like those of Lisbon. Although it will be a decade at the end of this year since it became part of China, Macao remains the Portuguese capital of Asia, perhaps even more so than Goa in India.
On the video below you may see how the now-Chinese territory is still very much Portuguese-inspired despite its new role as an international gambling mecca. You’ll see that the Portuguese influences are still preserved in what remains from the past, but also provide the ingredients to make this a unique place in the present and the future.

(See also our other Lisbon in the World posts.)

Lisbon in London

Lisbon in London

London’s Piccadilly Street that leads to one of the city’s most famous squares (Piccadilly Circus) used to be called Portugal Street. Although it has changed its name, there is still another Portugal Street in Westminster today. There is no particular reason why that street was given that name, except maybe for the fact that Portugal and England signed the world’s oldest alliance between two countries (for more about it, see Wikipedia’s article: Anglo-Portuguese Alliance). Among many other historical events, that alliance led to the marriage of Portugal’s Catherine of Bragança to King Charles II, with her becoming the Queen of England and introducing her adopted country to the 5 o’clock tea.

Today London is home to a sizable Portuguese population, mostly originally from the island of Madeira (also known as the birthplace of that famous FIFA World Player of the Year playing in Manchester, Cristiano Ronaldo). Naturally, the cosmopolitan capital also offers a number of Portuguese restaurants, including the famous Nando’s fast food/spicy chicken restaurant. It was actually born in South Africa, started by a Portuguese immigrant named Fernando Duarte. There are now branches all over the world, but more famously in London where there are over 50 of them, and that’s as close as you’ll get to Lisbon’s Bonjardim – O Rei dos Frangos while in the English capital.

Although codfish and seafood is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Portugal’s cuisine, the country is also known for its grilled chicken with “piri-piri” sauce, made with a spicy chilli Portugal brought back from its colonies. The best place to try it in Lisbon is at that Bonjardim Restaurant, or you could get a sample of it hot off the grill at one of London’s “Nando’s.” It’s not the same thing, but close enough.

If you know anything about Portuguese food, you probably have also heard about Lisbon’s music. Listening to Fado at a restaurant is one of Lisbon’s top tourist experiences, but you can get that in London too. Head to O Fado, a Portuguese restaurant in Knightsbridge that got a 4-star review in Time Out London Eating & Drinking Guide 2009. It’s the oldest Portuguese restaurant in the city, where low lighting sets the stage for some Fado singing.

But arguably the best Portuguese restaurant in London is Portal. It’s an elegantly-designed space that also adds some French flavors in the cuisine, although the menu lists many of the Portuguese classics such as Leitão à Bairrada (suckling pig). Going just for a cocktail at the bar is also possible, where you can choose the very Portuguese “White Port Cocktail” or a “Ginginha Velvet.”
For traditional Portuguese pastries at any time of the day, head to Lisboa Patisserie. Portugal’s famous custard tarts are good there too, but to try the real thing you have to go to Antiga Confeitaria de Belem in Lisbon.

See also:
Lisbon in New York
Lisbon in Paris
Lisbon in San Francisco

Lisbon in San Francisco

Lisbon in San Francisco

They’re both built over a series of hills, are crossed by turn-of-the-century trams, have a big suspension bridge built by the same company as one of their icons, share a history of earthquakes, and offer a mild climate year-round. If there is such a thing as twin cities, they are Lisbon and San Francisco.

Another link to Lisbon in San Francisco is its most famous skyscraper, the Transamerica Pyramid. It was designed by the Portuguese-American architect William Pereira who also designed other projects around the world, and especially in Los Angeles (CBS Television City, Hollywood Motion Picture and Television Museum, Los Angeles Zoo, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and IBM headquarters).

There is no Portuguese community in San Francisco, but there is a significant Portuguese population outside the city and around California. In fact, it was a Portuguese explorer who discovered California. His name was João Rodrigues Cabrilho, although he is mostly known under the Spanish version of his name Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo since he was working for Portugal’s rival at the time. You’ll find the Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego, and there is also Cabrillo College in Aptos, the Cabrillo Bridge, and the Cabrillo Freeway traveling through San Diego’s famous Balboa Park.

Although a New World version of Lisbon somehow emerged in California as San Francisco, the only taste of the Portuguese capital found in that American city is at Grubstake Restaurant. It offers a menu called “The Portuguese Corner”, listing the most famous of all Portuguese soups, “Caldo Verde,” in addition to (you guessed it) a couple of codfish dishes.
If you’re interested in finding out more about the Portuguese in California, visit the website of California’s Portuguese Museum.

Also see:
Lisbon in Paris
Lisbon in New York