Far from big squares and avenues, we will get immersed into winding, steep, narrow alleys in order to discover the soul and heart of ancient Lisbon, its Muslim past and the origins of fado.
Our starting point is Commerce Square, from which we will walk to Lisbon’s ancient wall, trying to discover where its gates used to be. Along the way there will be plenty of surprises, like the House of the Beaks/Spikes, a Renaissance wonder that nowadays serves as the headquarters of the José Saramago Foundation. Once we cross the perimeter of the ancient walls, whose route is still visible, we will get to old Alfama, an Arabic name that reminds us the importance of the water tanks and fountains that we will find along the way.
As we walk down the medieval streets we will go back in time and see the most genuine Lisbon, where impressive monuments like the Cathedral blend with a present day that seems to be frozen in the past. There, we will be saluted by the eldest female residents, who will give us ginjinha, a typical homemade and home-bottled liquor.
During our ascent up to the Castle of Saint George, which crowns Alfama, we will see the remnants of the Muslim period. These remnants clearly show up in the neighbourhood of Mouraria, birthplace of fado, where you will astonishingly realise that the buildings open up to splendid overlooks like Santa Luzia’s. From these overlooks we will contemplate all the city and the Tagus Estuary and regain energy before we finish out tour at the most picturesque and colourful area of Lisbon.