A feeling of dÉjà vu washed over me when we landed in Lisbon and set out on foot to explore the city for the first time. As the days passed, I finally figured out what it was. Lisbon totally reminded me of San Francisco. We live in Dublin now and were visiting Portugal on a city break from Ireland. However, San Francisco was home for two periods of our lives spanning about 8 years so we know the city well and miss it on occasion. Here are six reasons why Lisbon made me nostalgic for San Francisco.
6. The Street Art
I noticed street art nearly everywhere we went in Lisbon (top) particularly along the tram tracks. Some was richly colored, other pieces were almost fading away. San Francisco (bottom) has a vibrant street art scene particularly in the Mission neighborhood where Clarion Row spans an entire city block and is chock-a-block with edgy creations.
5. The Hills
My quads were definitely burning as we ascended from the Baixa neighborhood of Lisbon toward Castelo Sao Jorge (top). It was a feeling all too familiar from our days in San Francisco where we’d huff and puff from the Marina up to Pacific Heights (bottom).
4. The Wine
In Lisbon (top), we took the opportunity to sample wines from across a wide range of Portuguese growing regions at ViniPortugal. In San Francisco, wine tasting opportunities abound from local evening events at places like The Jug Shop to weekend excursions to Napa or Sonoma.
3. The Trams
We boarded the 28E tram in Lisbon and rattled our way around a circuit of the city (top). Where had I felt this sensation before? Oh yes...in San Francisco. The F-Market line (bottom) provides a new home for street cars from around the world incorporating them in the MUNI public transit network. The iconic cable car is also a San Francisco treat.
2. The Bay
Lisbon overlooks a picturesque bay (top). San Francisco is the ‘City by the Bay’ and is magnificent when viewed just beyond the Palace of Fine Arts (bottom).
1. The Golden Gate Bridge
Lisbon has its very own Golden Gate Bridge (Ponte 25 de Abril) which is the spitting image of the original in San Francisco. Ironically, Ponte 25 de Abril was built by the American Bridge Company which constructed the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge, but not the Golden Gate.
Now it’s completely clear to me why Lisbon seemed so familiar despite it being our first visit. San Francisco is our favorite city in the U.S. and we couldn’t help but adopt Lisbon as one of our European favorites by the end of this trip.