I don’t know what about you people, but there are some things I never do in my own country, and I always do abroad. Visiting an old church for example. Recently I had to visit a church due to sad circumstances. A beautiful church in a small Dutch village. I realized that I have visited many old churches in Italy, Spain, or any other Mediterranean country, but never take a look at one in my home town, while there are many impressive ones nearby. Another thing I never do in my home town is visit (flea) markets. Yet when I travel, I always visit the market! And in Lisboa there is a nice one, called Feira da Ladra.
Feira da Ladra means “Thieves Market”, as “ladra” is a female thief. The Feira da Ladra is a flea market you will find in the district Alfama, near the imposing churches Paróquia de São Vicente de Fora, and National Pantheon. Do not worry, this is not an illegal market as it used to be. Today, it is a nice flea market, visited by both tourist and locals, and many colourful people.
On a Tuesday, or Saturday, between 6am and 5pm, go to the National Pantheon in Alfama, either by bus or tram. Around this impressive church there are many stands, selling everything. From (second hand) clothes to old garbage, or electronics, it’s all there at Feira da Ladra.
The products sold at this market are not suitable for everybody. As a spoiled guy, I am not interested in second hand clothing, or cheap sunglasses. But there are always nice little surprises. Like this wonderful camera stall in the picture below! I did not buy the brilliant camera on the photo, but it surely motivated me to visit some flea markets in my own country!
For me, visiting the market is not about the merchandise. It is about the people! Many different people visit this market. People who do not have much to spend buying clothes, people who just like markets, and also tourists, looking for a nice souvenir to take home.
There is so much to see! A tourist and a salesman negotiating the price of a shawl, a rendez-vous of two close friends, the local drunkard singing a false note, and bargain hunter looking for a good price. There is plenty to love about the market!
Because Lisboa, just like Roma, is built on seven hills (A Cidade das Sete Colinas), the roads and squares go up and down. This is noticeable in Alfama too! Many restaurants have wobbly, leaning tables, because the sloping terrace. And at the Feira da Ladra, sometimes a stall would fall over, so a little rug will need to do as a counter.
And at the end of the day, like at any other market, you might get a discount, if the exhibitor wants to get rid his/hers merchandise before heading home.
If you are in Lisboa on a Tuesday or Saturday, visiting the Feira da Ladra is a fun way to pass an hour!
Next week I will take you just outside Lisbon, for the final post on this series. I hope you enjoyed this weeks blog, and thank you for your time!