Pedro has been telling me about the madness and wonder that is Saint Anthony's night for years, but we haven't been able to experience it together until now (well June 12th, to be exact). I think I expected something along the lines of a block party with a lot more sardines, and something about basil plants? Little did I know that Lisbon's heart would be transformed into a torrent of food, drink, parades and wonderfully tacky music that would last for days, with people squeezing into every available space to eat, drink, and dance. I'm still not entirely sure what the basil plants have to do with it all, but there were countless stands of neatly potted bushes for sale, and people wearing curly green wigs that were meant to resemble the basil. Sardine hats, sponsored by the local beer company Sagres, were being sported too (as you can see above).
It was decided between Pedro and friends that heading to the Graça neighbourhood for food would be the best strategic move, as the likelihood of finding a space to sit while eating was greater. P and I claimed a slice of sidewalk while Pedro and Pedro battled the crowd for beer, grilled sardines, and pork. We made a fine table out of a backpack, and got down to business:
Between the grilled sardines, the morcela, and the accordion-filled Pimba music blasting through the streets, I felt a lightness bubbling up inside me that I hadn't known in quite some time...
...and it was only the beginning of the night!