Some people have commented on the photo at the top of my blog and have said how lovely it is. It is one of the default header pictures on offer with the WordPress theme that I use, which is Twenty Eleven. However, I chose that picture for a reason – as soon as I saw it I knew that it must be a photo of a street in Lisbon. Lisbon is a hilly city, some of its streets are quite narrow and its trams are usually red or yellow, as evidenced by the photos I have included in this post. The big one above shows the trams near Rossio, one of the main squares in Lisbon. Since Portuguese is one of the romance languages we are covering in this blog, it seemed appropriate to use that WordPress pic and I have no desire to change it. There were sentimental reasons too: Lisbon is one of my favourite cities, travelling around it and exploring it is easy, and the header photo captures much of its charm and personality.
However, some people say it can’t be Lisbon because of the name of the hotel in the background, Suico Atlantico. It must be somewhere in Switzerland, they say, or Sweden. (Suíça is the Portuguese word for Switzerland, and the adjectives for Swiss are suíço if it is describing a masculine noun and suíça if it is a feminine one. On the other hand, Suécia is the Portuguese for Sweden, while sueco and sueca mean Swedish.) So you can see why people get them mixed up linguistically even if they can point to Switzerland or Sweden on a map. (To help you remember, ABBA are sueca) The thing is, there are lots of hotels in Lisbon named after other places, such as Hotel Londres, Hotel Paris, etc etc. I quite like the concept because when you stay in them you can pretend you are in Lisbon and London or Paris at the same time.
For those who like the picture and might want to see the Hotel Suico Atlantico one day (it’s at Rua da Gloria 3-19), Here are the reviews on Trip Advisor, and the official site is here (the spelling of the hotel seems to have changed to Suisso).
If you are going to be travelling on a tram in Lisbon (or Porto, which has its trams too), here is some vocabulary you might need: a tram is um elétrico, a ticket is a um bilhete, if you want to ask for a return ticket you say “Queria um bilhete de ida e volta, se faz favor” (ida is a departure and volta is a return). Unless money is no object, another useful expression is quanto custa? or quanto é? – how much does it cost?
Talking of returns, happy ones hopefully, here is a song by Jorge Ferreira called Eu Voltarei (I will return) … there is some nifty guitarwork in it, and it will help you remember the verb ending for the first person in the future tense (which we haven’t covered yet). The -rei sound is pronounced like rye as in rye bread. I couldn’t find any video of Jorge actually performing the song, or one with the lyrics outlined, so you will have to make do with his static mugshot. And it’s quite a mug in the shot!