Say what? (59)
Since Amy’s visit to Oeiras to view their nativity, we have been quizzing Portuguese people on how to pronounce Oeiras, and thinking about whether the town would be a fit for us. Yesterday we took a day trip to try it on for size.
From our doorstep it took just over an hour to walk to the Avenida Metro stop (swinging in to visit with our pharmacist on the way); ride to Cais do Sodre station; hop the suburban train; and disembark in Oeiras, which bills itself as 20 minutes from Lisbon. While 20 minutes is the length of the train ride, most people will need to travel some on both ends of that train to actually get where they’re going. Popping in to Lisbon for church or board games? Best to figure at least 45 minutes total travel time each way.
Oeiras is adorable. The first thing we stumbled across is the Jardim Municipal de Oeiras. Partly closed for renovation, the open section was fabulous. Huge trees, pedestrian walkways, and flowers.
On the other side of the street was the Jardim das Flores, which was also closed, for renovations to the Palácio do Marquês de Pombal. Busy place! Turns out the Jardins do Palácio Marquês de Pombal, just around the corner, was open, but we didn’t realize it. Pooh.
From there it was just a skip to the Centro Histórico where we found a sidewalk sign advertising Salti - true Italian pizzeria. Hard to think about living in a town without pizza so we gave it a go. It was absolutely charming inside, and had the cutest little patio temptingly awaiting warmer days. We sat by the wood-fired oven!
Sated, we meandered the historic section. We loved the height of the buildings - not so tall - and enjoyed the different tile patterns along the way. We soaked up the sun in a square, and then hiked to a Pingo Doce grocery store to see the area around it.
Along the way to Pingo Doce we ran into the ocean. Well, ok, we didn’t run into the ocean, but we saw it! The combination of the ocean and the historic area is one of the amazing features that attracted us to Oeiras. Sadly, in our case, it seems that the walk from one to the other means levitating over a four-lane highway smack up against the beach. Our levitation abilities having decreased with age, we decided to hike it to the nearest crossing.
Why are highways so loud? And sidewalks along them full of litter and fear of being run down? At some point one of us shouted as the 18-wheeler went by, you do realize that the beach will be just as noisy? We pivoted to finding the Pingo Doce, located as expected amongst the soul-less apartment buildings that could be anywhere. When the PD turned out to be missing some of the items we rely on, we had a break and talked about how Oeiras was working out for us.
Yes, we love the historic area. We love the parks. We love the smaller scale of housing. However. At no time in our wanderings around the historic center did we come across something Amy had not seen on her previous visit. The area of town we like is just a few blocks. Which means less walking and exploring and stumbling on new things. And those are turning out to be vital characteristics for us in a place to live.
We loved the sheer number of parks/green spaces - it reminded us of Braga. We prefer Braga’s style of more carefully planted and maintained gardens in those spaces.
We loved the canal, with its water fowl and fish and little birds. We have not seen an area of water that attracts as much wildlife in either Braga or Lisbon.
We liked the historic area - not as wonderfully old as Braga, but it is beautiful.
In the end, we found Oeiras - or at least the area we would prefer to frequent - too small. It seemed so much smaller than Braga, which felt like a good size to us.
We had good conversations about what we really want in a place to live, which definitely made it worth the
20 60 minute trip.
That’s all for now.
Love from Lisbon,
Scott & Amy
I fell in love with the historic center of Oeiras. It is sooo charming! But most of the broader Oeiras "concelho" - sadly, not so much.
I know a lot of people love Parede. We would seriously look into living there if it weren't too far from the teen's school & volleyball practices. You guys might check it out on your next adventure!
Hi Amy and Scott-
I love hearing about these side trips! A lovely (vicarious) excursion for me from my sofa on a cold January night. The sunshine is nice.... something I vaguely remember!