Everyday life in Lisbon, a relatively small city, is far more relaxed than in other capitals. The day starts around 7:30,
when commuters are on the move and children make their way to school. Trams, the subway and buses all are crowded. Some people
travel to town on the ferries that crisscross the Tagus. Many grab breakfast in a bar before work. Breakfast is usually tea
or coffee, with one of the cloyingly sweet pastries so loved by the Portuguese.
Lunch in Lisbon is taken seriously, and many people eat a full meal rather than a snack, although they eat it fast, often
standing at a bar counter. Workers also use the lunch hour to shop for food or browse in stores. At the end of the afternoon,
commuters head home but will often re-emerge later to meet friends for a drink or more tea and cakes. Midweek evenings are
often spent at home, although in summer the streets will be thronged for a few hours as people stroll and chat outside.
Weekends are a different matter; people head for the Upper Town to eat and drink before going to concerts, movies or the theater,
while young Portuguese enjoy the old district's waterfront clubs.
Saturday and Sunday are popular shopping days when crowds flock to huge malls on the outskirts of the city, which stay open
late. Sundays, too, are high points for soccer fans, with the big matches attracting large crowds. Lisbon is blessed by its
proximity to a beautiful coastline, and it's easy in summer to drive or catch a train to the coast for a day at the beach
and dinner in an excellent fish restaurant. In midsummer, an outing to the cool green countryside around Sintra, some 15 miles
away, is another week end option.