Natal em Lisboa (Christmas in Lisbon)

Screen Shot 2017-12-15 at 3.33.08 PMIn case you didn’t see it, Kevin & Carolyn’s episode on House Hunters International is now posted on YouTube here.


IMG_0364Before the holidays, we were curious as to how Portugal decorated for Christmas. We’re used to the all-consuming Christmas-is-everywhere in the US, but we’ve also seen some incredible displays, markets, and fairy tale villages from pictures all around Europe. We’re anxious to go see some of those next year.

Since the Portuguese are mostly a Catholic people, we assumed there would be plenty of decorations. Since Carolyn is stuck back in the US until January due to minor visa paperwork issues, I was given the task to go about town and take pictures of the decor. I first went out in the daytime, and saw mostly this:

I was a bit underwhelmed. If you look at the middle picture, you’ll see a bunch of white cones. At first I assumed they were either insect traps or some protective covering for the tree buds.

But then I was given the additional task of going back at night. And I’m glad I did. First of all, during the evening the white cones turn into a beautiful boulevard-lined display of lights:

So it’s obvious Christmas decorations here definitely are best viewed at night. There were lots of twinkly lights and displays all about town. Some of the merchants had lights or small displays, even as small (albeit humorous) as this one:


I did notice that homes generally don’t put up lights like they do in the US. I’m sure part of this, at least in Lisbon, is that most of the housing consists of multi-family dwellings. But even in Sesimbra, where there are more houses, there is little in the way of Christmas decor.

And so without further ado, here’s a collection of shots I took in Lisbon, presented in slide show format. It’s not long, a total of a couple of dozen pictures:

Many of the pictures above were taken in a mall, which was decorated from head to toe. I even discovered the mall has a skating rink, albeit sort of a miniature one (yeah, that’s the extent of it):


In what will seem at first like a very confusing segue, lot of people don’t realize that prostitution is legal in Portugal. I had to ponder that after stumbling across the below sign, knowing that “sem conta” means “without bill.” And so, I translated “bichos” the best I could, which meant that this looks like a place where the ladies maybe offer some Christmas cheer for free? I dunno:


Oh stop it. You knew I couldn’t go one blog without being irreverent. That said, “bichos” actually translates to “bugs,” and “sem” means “without,” so Apparently this is a place where bugs are allowed without bills. Yeah, I’m sure that’s it.

Anyway, there you have it. Christmas in Portugal. I’ll be all by my lonesome this Christmas, but as long as I’m in as beautiful a place like this, I’ll be fine. But I do miss minha querida (my sweetheart)! I can’t wait until she gets back. I’m only half the man I am than when I’m with her. Somehow that doesn’t translate to the same kind of weight loss though.

Merry Christmas and Feliz Natal to all!



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