Henry Poon's Blog

New Year’s Eve in Lisbon

The following blog post was written with the assistance of ChatGPT

As the final day of 2022 came to a close, we took a trip to Portugal. We found ourselves in the heart of Lisbon, looking to experience the local New Year’s Eve festivities. The city was alive with excitement and anticipation, as locals and visitors alike gathered to ring in the new year.

We started our evening at Rossio Square, where large crowds had already begun to gather. We meandered through the city streets, eating Pastéis de Natas, a sweet, flaky pastry is filled with a creamy, egg-based custard that is lightly dusted with cinnamon and powered sugar. I can still feel that crunch in my head when I think about it. The best one we had was from here

We also got to try Pastel de Bacalhau, a dish that combines the salty flavor of bacalhau with a crispy, flaky pastry crust. It is typically made with shredded salted cod, onions, and potatoes, and is often served as a snack or appetizer.

Along the walk, we encountered a café with a sign that probably would have gotten a lot of angry complaints where I live. Or maybe I’m just “woke”

The shop itself actually sells coffee beans and tea leaves in additional to other local souvenirs. Nothing wrong with that – it’s just the sign.

Lisbon was quite alive with twinkling lights and festive decorations. The streets and squares are lit up with colorful displays. In addition to the lights and fireworks, Lisbon during New Year’s Eve is also a time for celebration, with parties and events taking place all across the city.

To add onto the New Year’s festivities, the city set up stands where people could just buy a beer and drink it as they walked around. If people in North America were more responsible with their alcohol, this could work too

For dinner, we ate at a place serving paellas, both in the Portuguese and Spanish style (with port wine of course). Paella has a rich and savory flavor that is characterized by the seafood, meats, and vegetables that bring depth and richness to the dish. The perfectly cooked rice, which should be tender yet not mushy, adds a creamy texture to the dish.

As we waited, a gentleman working there chatted with us to help us pass the time as we waited. One thing we immediately noticed is that a lot of the restaurants in the area were purely there to serve tourists. The restaurant itself was run by Nepali immigrants (they couldn’t even tell us how to say “happy new year” in Portuguese). Still, the food was pretty good – there was even another couple who came back the next day.

Eventually we reached the Praça do Comércio. The crowds were so large it became impossible to actually get into the plaza. Not wanting to fight the crowd, we turned back. It was ripe for pickpockets to do their work. Instead we walked around the town looking for a good angle to see the New Year’s fireworks

The streets were filled with the sounds of music, and laughter, as revelers counted down to the new year. At midnight, the sky exploded with a dazzling display of lights and color, as the city celebrated the arrival of the new year. The sky lit up and and the air was filled with cheers and applause.

More photos of Portugal

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