In 2018 I knew that 2019 was going to be the last year I led overseas art workshops for the foreseeable future. As much as I loved gathering, teaching and traveling it was the most deep knowing that it was time and I had complete peace about my decision. Then 2020 changed all of our worlds and I was not only grateful that I didn’t have scheduled trips to cancel but it also was a reminder how much I had taken the gift and privilege of traveling for granted.
During lockdown and after, I was able to reflect on my past trips, the women that I have met along the way, what really made each place special, little things I had learned about different cultures, and of course the places I hoped to visit again.
Even though I plan to continue to travel as long as I am able, I also feel so good about my decision to not lead and teach overseas workshops. I know my purpose and my focus and this is not a part of it anymore. When you truly know your purpose you are able to see the beauty that others are doing and not feel like it has to be for you or that you have to continue it even when you know your time has passed.
So, even though I will not be leading overseas workshops this wasn’t going to stop me from gathering some of my favorite artists and starting a brand new series. Welcome to An Artist In series. Each month an artist that is intimate in different parts of the world will share their insider tips for where to eat, stay, see the best art, sketch the best views, rest at their favorite cafes and more. You will be able to go out and adventure here in the US and abroad and feel like your best friend shared the best kept secrets about an area and you can explore with confidence.
The sixth in the series is An Artist in Lisbon with Alexandra Castro Ferreira. Alexandra has the most beautiful gift of storytelling through journal-making. Each work of art is full of textures, layers, vintage elements, stitching and more. You can read previous episodes, An Artist in Florence HERE , An Artist in Tuscany HERE , An Artist in Marrakech HERE , An Artist in Lombardy HERE and An Artist in Oaxaca HERE.
I was born 52 years ago in the largest maternity of Lisbon called maternidade Alfredo da Costa. The people born in Lisbon are called the alfaçinhas or ‘little lettuce’ (a diminutive of this vegetable), and the first time it was written was in the 19th century, by Almeida Garrett, in the book ‘Viagens na Minha Terra’.
There’s so much to see and usually little time. You will be in awe by Lisbon’s light, the striking views, the amazing seafood and most of all by the Portuguese.
We are welcoming, giving, curious, and open minded. We usually start the day with an expresso called “italiana” please ask in a coffee “quero uma italiana por favor” or “quero um café abatanado” (big coffee) and please if you enjoy coffee don’t miss “quero um galão” (hot coffee with milk in an hot glass cup with plenty of sugar). Thank you is OBRIGADO
Your travel guide will invite you to take the 28 famous tramway which I still enjoy when not taking my car.
You will visit historical places like the Jerónimo monastery which is 5mn from my home, museums and hear our traditional music called the fado. Check https://www.anamoura.pt one of my favorites fado singers.
If you are creative you will love http://lxfactory.com. This is one of my favorite spots in Lisbon with amazing concept stores, art galleries, a unique bookstore, and restaurants. Every Sunday there’s also a flea market, good memories as I used to sell there.
Landeau chocolate best cake ever. It belongs to a friend and the decoration is exquisite.
Unusual Bookstore Ler Devagar
Handmade organic beauty shop https://benamor1925.com/pt-pt/
Another spot not to be missed every Tuesday and Saturday is Lisbon’s most famous flea market called FEIRA DA LADRA. You’ll find vintage objects, Portuguese handicrafts and second-hand clothes. Please bargain as they like to overprice for tourists.
I usually eat at this restaurant who has the particularity that everything cooked is with mushrooms https://www.santaclaradoscogumelos.com
Downtown historical Lisbon
I have lunch (not dinner overpriced) in this amazing old renovated palace.
I then always visit this old store that is filled with products that remind me of my youth.
I then have a pause in our famous coffee shop.
By now you will have already eaten several pasteis de nata with an expresso. Also try água das pedras unusual sparkling water for a good digestion.
If you are a fan of dolls or need a doll to be repaired go to this old tiny shop called http://hospitaldebonecas.com
If you are wanting a restaurant with a spectacular view to Lisbon eat in Ponto. I like to go before sunset and you will need a reservation.
Take the ferry from Lisbons’ Cais do Sodré (every 10 minutes, weekend every 20 min.) to the other side of the river Tagus: Cacilhas, a 10 min trip. The trip in itself is worth it. As you get off the ferry, it takes about 15 minutes to walk along the river to Restaurant ‘Ponto Final’, after passing lots of ruinous warehouses.
Another of my favorites spots is
https://chapito.org/areas-de-actuacao/economia-social/chapito-a-mesa/ the restaurant Chapitó has an amazing view over Lisbon and it’s a school who help young who have challenging times.
Here is also another spot with an amazing view https://www.amargem.com/.
A little of touristssightseeing and totally worth it is Campo de ourique neighborhood. If you are fan of hats ,like I am, this shop is a must. The owner is passionate and totally dedicated.
If you are fan of fabrics after leaving the hat shop turn left and you’ll find several fabric shops. 5mn walk
After buying all your goodies stop at this little shop to have a delicious chocolate cake, again 5mn walk from the fabrics and the hats.
I know that your trip to Lisbon will be special and you’ll return home with a longing and will probably want to come back. It happens to all my foreign friends.
Feel free to ask me more informations through my Instagram or my site I will gladly be of service.
Quotes from Fernando Pessoa one of our greatest poet.
“Life is what we make of it. Travel is the traveler. What we see isn’t what we see but what we are.”
― Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet
The value of things is not the time they last, but the intensity with which they occur. That is why there are unforgettable moments and unique people!
― Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet
I am a mixed media artist. I was born in Lisbon, Portugal. My mom is french and my father is Portuguese so I am grateful to embrace two cultures and truly I am a citizen of the world as I have been traveling for more than 30 years now. I answered my calling in Los Angeles, back in 2006 at Barnes and Nobles when buying the book of Bev Brazelton “altered books workshop”. It literally changed my life. I found a community, a sense of deep connection to the world and to myself. My altered books, journals, recycled objects and talisman jewelry tell my story, where I came from where I am where i am going and show you the way to tell your story if you are willing to.
I am blessed to have found the love of my life, my husband Luis who happened to live in the childhood home one street behind mine…we were bound to live, love and grow together.
Welcome to my world.
You can connect with Alex HERE.