All cities have their number of oddities and weirdness, so of course Lisbon is no exception. Here are just a few examples of strange things in the Portuguese capital:
The Garden of Limp Dicks
For decades, a small terrace on an Alfama street (between the Portas do Sol and Graça viewpoints, following the tram tracks up the hill) was a meeting place for old men. It was where they spent their days watching life go by or playing cards. This spot didn’t have a name, until young kids started referring to it as “the garden of limp dicks.” The name obviously caught on and, unbelievably, it’s been made official, with a street sign that even uses the more vulgar word for the male anatomy. The picture above shows it in all its splendor. It’s now rare to see old men standing below it.
Use your hands only!
If you want to take photos of Lisbon, be sure to hold your camera with your hands only! That’s because a (ridiculous) law prohibits the use of tripods to take pictures in the city’s public spaces, unless you get a permit. If caught taking a photo using a tripod without a permit, be prepared to pay a fine.
The Cemetery of Pleasures
There’s a neighborhood in Lisbon called Prazeres, which means “Pleasures” in English. The city’s largest cemetery was built there, so naturally it became known as “Cemitério dos Prazeres” or “Cemetery of Pleasures.” Its entrance gate faces the last stop of the famous tram 28, and if you’re not spooked by cemeteries, it’s worth a visit, for the views of 25 de Abril Bridge, and for its many beautiful tombs. One of them is Europe’s largest, shaped like a pyramid and looking more like a church when seen from a distance.
The Little Lettuces
If New York is called “The Big Apple,” Lisbon could be called “The Big Lettuce.” That’s because at one time there was a significant migration from rural areas to the big capital city, and those new residents brought their country habits with them. They were known to plant crops in their backyards, especially lettuce. Lisboans eventually became known as “alfacinhas,” which translates to “little lettuces,” and it’s now an endearing term used to refer to anyone born in the Portuguese capital.
The Doll Hospital
If your favorite doll suffers any damage when you’re in Lisbon (surely there have to be tourists out there who carry dolls with them whenever they travel — let’s not judge), take it to the doll hospital in Figueira Square. It’s been taking care of dolls since 1830, complete with emergency and operating rooms. It seems business is still going strong, but the dolls with no cure or abandoned, as well as their forgotten accessories, are now displayed like in a museum.