Santo Antonio is the Patron Saint of Portugal, and to celebrate it seems that we decorate the streets, we have mass weddings, give gifts of basil pot plants with a little poem, barbecue lots of sardines and have the craziest street party ever seen.
We took a walk to the district of Alfama, which seems to be a maze of tiny streets full of tiny cafes, and lots of hills and stairs. In the lead up to the celebrations all these little streets had been decorated with colourful tinsel and bunting.
After finally finding the tram stop so we could take the ‘famous Tram 28’, we stood and patiently waited, commenting on the amount of police today… We then noticed that the police were holding the traffic for some old cars, which when they drove past, we realised contained 11 different brides who were waving at everyone in the street.
Not thinking much more of it, we continued to wait, until a man working with transport came and told us the tram won’t be going anywhere today as all the roads up to the cathedral, where the wedding cars had just driven, were closed. We should have noticed the orange cones really! So we followed the lines and got to the cathedral where we could see the 11 brides on their way in.
People were all waiting outside the church with cameras, a bit like at Kate and Will’s, and we could hear the ceremony and music on loud speakers. We sat on a bench for ages as it was very relaxing but then decided to go for lunch so we could get a Menu Completo for 8,50EUR. Drinking our coffees we heard a band coming back down the street and all the newlyweds were walking behind them. Amazing that our tram mistake meant we got to see this!
The main street near our apartment was all closed off for a parade which started at about 10pm. We got a glass of sangria and stood at the front to watch. Lots of music and dancing from around the world.
We bought some more sangria and walked to Alfama again, to see the street parties. Everywhere was really busy and the more we walked, the more parties we saw. Every street was filled with stalls grilling sardines, which people were eating on a bit of bread, and selling beer and sangria or caipirinhas and mojitos and there was music on every corner with people dancing, drinking and having an amazing time!
If you’re ever planning a trip to Lisbon, make sure you go for Santo Antonio on June 12th!!! #BestPartyEver