Show me an arrow pointing somewhere mysterious and I’m going to follow it. I’m a curious girl. Despite what they say happened to the cat.
Lisbon is a lovely walking city, with charming cobblestone sidewalks (watch your step!) and enough hills to give you a little workout. It was our second night in Portugal and we were hungry. We set out on the Avenida da Liberdade to find a place to eat. Although the avenue was crawling with high-end retail, there were far fewer places to eat and of course, it’s always a crap shoot when you’re in a strange city. Still, the weather was clear and we were up for a little exercise.
The practice of posting menus outside so potential diners can see what’s on offer (and prices) is common in Lisbon, too, and kept us moving along, until we saw a huge sign indicating the way to Gina’s Restaurante.
We figured that a sign like that could only lead to something interesting, so I led us in the indicated direction.
Where we found another another sign. Hmm. Would curiosity kill the cat?
They were urban trail markers, so we just followed. These are only a few of the signposts along the way.
And then, well…and then:
And then, it led us to this huge yellow … parking lot. It was creepily deserted. Not a car. Not a piece of litter. Not a human being. Nothing but a gigantic yellow lot (this is only part of it) bordered by hundreds of feet of eerie street art. A whole lot of street art.
The paintings went on and on. I had the feeling that I could step right past the curtains into a strange world, if I wanted; the art had that mysterious sense to it.
What was this place? And why was that parking lot painted bright yellow? And why were was it deserted?
More signs appeared.
Until, finally, we found Gina’s Restaurante.
It was anticlimactic, although the strangest experience I had in Portugal.
Like most Europeans, the Portuguese eat late. It wasn’t much after 7pm so the place was empty, save for staff. The posted menu was disappointing. I was fascinated by this place, though, and wondered what it was all about: the signs, the yellow parking lot, the massive street art. There’s a story there, I’m sure. I’d love to know it, but I probably never will.
But I could see that my friend was pretty creeped out by the site, so we left.
I looked it up later and found it had food typical to Portugal and good diner reviews, after all, although almost everyone commented on what a good value it was. Which to me is almost always a bad sign. And there were some really horrible reviews. A few reviewers commented on the weird location but no one really got into how very weird it was. There’s a story there, I’m sure. I just don’t know what it is. And probably never will.
If you know it? Let me know. Thank you! Oh, and the cat?
I saw him on site. Still alive. And very nonchalant.
Now, tell us, have you ever followed signs to someplace strange?