Lisbon, Tourism and Gentrification…

.. or why is it time to move to the country?

One of the questions my friends keep asking me is why I don’t just stay in Lisbon. A good question, and here is an attempt to answer it…..

Without a doubt Lisbon is a great city. If you live here, you can be on the beach in a few minutes, the nightlife is top and great food and cheap drinks are available at every corner. Actually a great city to live, one should think. For me personally, however, there are some very decisive factors that slowly convinced me against living in Lisbon: Firstly, my current life goals. And on the other hand, the impending and very much foreseeable consequences of the increasing gentrification here in Lisbon.

Unfortunately, not a day goes by without another report in the newspaper or the news about the effects of gentrification. That’s a pity, of course, because tourism and investment can, if done right, be really good for a city or region. Of course it’s hard to keep a sustainable and slow-advancing middle ground, especially in a country like Portugal, which needs tourists’ income urgently. On the other hand the mass tourism and the gentrification (I connect the two here, even if they are, of course, somewhat different things) destroy exactly what makes the city so attractive. And it’s happening super fast…  Even in the two years I’ve been here I realise every day how hard it is for the folk here. There are certainly more competent sources that give the full account of the consequences, but I notice how strange (i.e. annoying) it is to live in a house in which there are 14 apartments… but only 2 have people really living in them all year round. And more and more restaurants in the area are replacing traditional cuisine with pre-cooked (and Spanish!?) paella…. and the list could continue for a bit.
Gentrification is something I didn’t like about London, and one of the reasons I decided that London has had its day and it was time to leave. However, the gentrification (and also the hype around the city) there seemed to be progressing at a snail’s pace – at least when compared to the pace here in Lisbon!

On the other hand, of course, my personal priorities also have a decisive influence. As an openly gay man, I quite simply assumed, without further questioning, that life in the countryside is rather complicated. And therefore, life in the big city, with all bars, discos and clubs was actually the only viable alternative. Meanwhile I take a more nuanced view: Of course there are a lot of possibilities to meet other gays in the city (and not only gays, of course). On the other hand, however, I also see that, unfortunately, and especially in cities, many people are totally lonely (not only gays of course). And that’s why I think it would be interesting to try “country life”. We’ll see if it works. But I could at least imagine that in the countryside there are fewer “opportunities” to go out and get to know each other, but that contacts become deeper as a result. We will see how and whether this thesis works.

In short, there are these two big reasons to try it now completely outside my “comfort zone”: out of the city, and off to the countryside….. how will it continue? Don’t forget to check back for more updates – soon!

5 ways to have a #GayAutumn in #GayLisbon

It is the sad fact of summer that soon it will come to an end… but that doesn’t mean your autumn has to be boring! On the contrary, there are plenty of great options to make this the most fun autumn ever in #GayLisbon

1. Get cultured…
The iconic gay and a bit else film festival QueerLisboa returns from 15-23 September, jam-packed with great films to watch.

2. Party, party, party…
Downside of August? No parties. So check out Conga, Spit N Polish and Maria Lisboa for the party schedule in autumn.

3. Get social…
Films, parties, concerts, dinners… Add some social events to your life with the Meetup.com LGBT Social Group.

4. Get active…
It is never to late to join BJWHF for some gay rugby and co… or why not join the HikingGays for some walks?

5. Get naked…
Why not show off your sexy tan-lines (or lack of them) at the Hanging Out Nude Portugal group for gay men and make some new friends.

Above all: have a great Autumn!

July Agenda for #GayLisbon

This month is festival time in #GayLisbon…hopefully you have recovered from Pride last month, because it is time to put your dancing shoes on before the August holidays! So here are all the parties for the month:

Conga Club:
Tensnake – Queen of the Desert
8 July
@TimeOut Market– check their Facebook or Instagram Page for details

Trumps
HOT Season
7-9 July
@Trumps – see their website for details

LesBoat
LesBoat Party
15 July
@on the river – see their facebook event for details

BJWHF
Pit Beach
13-14 July
see their website for details. Actually a sport festival,… with socials!

Maria Lisboa
TBC
Check their Facebook page for details

Spit ’n Polish:
TBC
@ Ministerium Club – check their Instagram page for more details

Meetup.com Group
International LGBT Network Lisbon

Sports in Lisbon
Check this post

Centro LGBT:
More details on their Facebook page (in Portuguese)

For an annual overview of events, see annual LGBTQ+ events in Lisbon (useful if you are planning a trip to Lisbon!). To make sure you receive next months list – and all the blog posts in a neat and easy to read format – sign up to my newsletter here (it’s free… and I won’t ever sell your address! Promised!).

For the regulars and a guide to bars, like Finalmente, Trumps, Construction and Co: check Patroc here, or the listing of the best gay bars/clubs in TimeOut Lisboa (in Portuguese).

Got an addition? Get in touch!

Lisbon Gay Beaches

With beach season in full swing, here are a few tips for days where you want to cool off by the sea side close to Lisbon…

Praia 19 / Beach 19 (Costa de Caparica)
Possibly the largest and definitely most famous gay beach of Lisbon. The fame of it helped by a Antonio Da Silva arty porn movie shot there. The easiest way to reach it is to head for Fonte da Telha, using the ferry from Cais do Sodre and then buses 127 or 145 (see here for timetables).  Then, on the beach, head a little north and you will arrive there. Alternatively, follow the directions here – though using the small train from Costa de Caparica is more expensive and times consuming.

Praia da NATO (Costa de Caparica)
If you don’t fancy going to the “big one”, head south from Fonte da Telha and head for Praia da NATO or sometimes called Praia da Adiça. It’s pretty much a continuation of Praia 19, but much less busy. There also isn’t any bar or café on the beach – so bring your own supplies.

Praia do Meco (Sesimbra)
A little further south, is the granddaddy of all nudist beaches in Portugal: Praia do Meco. It’s a little hippie, a little gentrified and touristy by now, but can be quite fun. To get there, catch the bus from Praça Espanha in Lisbon to Santana (207) and then get a local bus to Meco. Not easy, but remember you are visiting history.

Another beach to check out in the “far south” is Praia de Galapinhos between Sétubal and Sesimbra. Again another beach that has been votes best in Europe and lost much of its original clientele … but it is pretty!

If you don’t fancy a trip south of Lisbon, you have two options almost next to each other – but both hard to reach by public transport:

Praia da Ursa (Cabo da Roca)
Voted somewhere to be the prettiest beach in Europe has done more harm than good to this fairly isolated beach. But it is pretty and a few gay guys can still be found among the visitors checking out this beauty spot between Cascais and Sintra. Best reached by bike or car though…. (see google maps)

Praia da Vigia (Carvoeira)
A little further north than Ursa, this is another pretty beach – so far fairly untouched by tourists. But again, unfortunately the transport options are really limited. So the only realistic way to get there is by car (see map here).

Finally, if you don’t really care so much about a beach or fancy cliff climbing, there are the Cliffs of Sao Pedro near to Estoril (map here). The advantage is that it is really easy to reach from central Lisbon by train (Linha de Cascais from Cais do Sodré), but an area of outstanding beauty it is not. A few guys sunbathe nude on the cliffs, but most don’t really care about their tanlines.

Happy Summer!

Agenda for Pride month June in GayLisbon

It’s here! A month of pride! Bear Pride! Lisbon Pride! With the hottest party coming up right on Terreiro do Paço/Praça do Comércio as part of Lisbon Pride. Dance a full 12 hours on Europe’s most iconic square (Yes, it’s the one above!)… Party with the sexy residents of Lisbon until the sunrise over the Tagus… There is no pride in the world quite like it! Can you miss it?

So here are all the parties for the month:

Lisbon Bear Pride
Tr3s bar’s sexy, cuddly, hairy festival!
31 May – 5 June 2017 Lisbon Bear Pride

Lisbon Pride:
Pride March:
17 June: Pride March Lisbon – the march!

24 June: Arraial Lisboa Pride – Pride festival on the Terreiro do Paço/Praça do Comércio – 12 hours party on Europe’s most iconic square. Don’t miss it!

Conga Club:
Tensnake – Queen of the Desert
8 July
@TimeOut Market– check their Facebook or Instagram Page for details

Maria Lisboa
TBC
Check their Facebook page for details

Spit ’n Polish:
Silver
17 June
@ Ministerium Club – check their Instagram page for more details

MeetupGroups
International LGBT Network Lisbon
Cusek Bar LGBT Evenings

Sports in Lisbon
Check this post

Centro LGBT:
More details on their Facebook page (in Portuguese)

For an annual overview of events, see annual LGBTQ+ events in Lisbon (useful if you are planning a trip to Lisbon!). To make sure you receive next months list – and all the blog posts in a neat and easy to read format – sign up to my newsletter here (it’s free… and I won’t ever sell your address! Promised!).

For the regulars and a guide to bars, like Finalmente, Trumps, Construction and Co: check Patroc here, or the listing of the best gay bars/clubs in TimeOut Lisboa (in Portuguese).

Got an addition? Get in touch!

May Agenda … for #GayLisbon

It’s almost summer… all the heat, minus the family visiting from the North Pole – what’s not to like?!! So, with ❤️ from Lisbon: Here are the dates for your GayLisbon diary in May 2017.
The must-be seen at party of the month: Lesboa Party… because they are bringing over Brazilian superstar Inês Brazil… who is famous for…. well, just see her introduction video here.

Conga Club:
Fonda: Touchdown
6 May
– check their Facebook or Instagram Page for details

Maria Lisboa
Bootcamp
5 May
Check their Facebook page for details

Spit ’n Polish:
Silver
13 May
@ Ministerium Club – check their Instagram page for more details

Lesboa Party
Silver
27 May
@ Ministerium Club – check their Facebook page for more details

MeetupGroups
International LGBT Network Lisbon
Cusek Bar LGBT Evenings

Sports in Lisbon
Check this post

Centro LGBT:
More details on their Facebook page (in Portuguese)

For an annual overview of events, see annual LGBTQ+ events in Lisbon (useful if you are planning a trip to Lisbon!). To make sure you receive next months list – and all the blog posts in a neat and easy to read format – sign up to my newsletter here (it’s free… and I won’t ever sell your address! Promised!).

For the regulars and a guide to bars, like Finalmente, Trumps, Construction and Co: check Patroc here, or the listing of the best gay bars/clubs in TimeOut Lisboa (in Portuguese).

Got an addition? Get in touch!

February Agenda in GayLisbon

Getting ready to welcome spring?  Here are the parties in Lisbon in February 2017 as far as I could find them. The recommended party of the month: Lesboa Party – not just for girls.

Conga Club:
Sado Maso Disco
4 February
– check their Facebook or Instagram Page for details

Lesboa Party:
Decadence avec Elegance
25 February
– check their Facebook page for details.

Maria Lisboa
Maria Lisboa Airlines
3 February
Check their Facebook page for details

Spit ’n Polish:
White
4 February
@ Ministerium Club – check their Instagram page for more details

Centro LGBT:
More details on their Facebook page (in Portuguese)

LGBT Meetup:
Wednesday Social
01 February
– check the Lisbon LGBT Social Meetup group for more details.
Sunday Drinks (Valentine Special!)
19 February
– check the Lisbon LGBT Social Meetup group for more details.

For an annual overview of events, see annual LGBTQ+ events in Lisbon (useful if you are planning a trip to Lisbon!). To make sure you receive next months list – and all the blog posts in a neat and easy to read format – sign up to my newsletter here (it’s free… and I won’t ever sell your address! Promised!).

For the regulars, like Finalmente, Trumps, Construction and Co: check Lisbon Gay Circuit here.
And Comunidade Queer & Friends on meetup.com has an agenda of various other activities.
Got an addition? Get in touch!

January Agenda in GayLisbon

These are the cooler and/or irregular parties happening in Lisbon in January 2017 as far as I could find them. The most noteworthy: the return of Maria Lisboa – the legendary lesbian and friends club (see below).

For an annual overview of events, see annual LGBTQ+ events in Lisbon (useful if you are planning a trip to Lisbon!). To make sure you receive next months list – and all the blog posts in a neat and easy to read format – sign up to my newsletter here (it’s free… and I won’t ever sell your address! Promised!).

Conga Club:
Fonda!
Sorry… you missed it (on the 30 December) – check their Facebook or Instagram Page for details of the next party (likely early Feb).

Lesboa Party:
Decadence avec Elegance
25 February
– check their Facebook page for details.

Maria Lisboa
NYE Party – return of the iconic Lesbian and friends party legend.
Tonight: 31 December
Check their Facebook page for details

Spit ’n Polish:
– no current date announced – Check @ Ministerium Club

Centro LGBT:
More details on their Facebook page (in Portuguese)

LGBT Meetup:
Wednesday Social
04 January
– check the Lisbon LGBT Social Meetup group for more details.
Sunday Drinks (Valentine Special!)
22 January
– check the Lisbon LGBT Social Meetup group for more details.

For the regulars, like Finalmente, Trumps, Construction and Co: check Lisbon Gay Circuit here.
And Comunidade Queer & Friends on meetup.com has an agenda of various other activities.
Got an addition? Get in touch!

The 2017 Fitness Challenge

Are you ready to get fit in 2017? If so… then here is the 2017 Fitness Challenge for you! OK… it is a small challenge with a gentle start. The basic premise is to build up to running the Lisbon Half Marathon in March, although you obviously don’t have to run the actual race in Lisbon to be part of the challenge (although it is a pretty neat ‘excuse’ to visit Lisbon, in case you need an excuse!).

The challenge is a simple three days a week running – and twice fitness to take care of the rest. Two rest days: For me the rest days are Sunday and Monday. Running days are for short runs: Tuesdays, Thursdays – long(er) runs on Saturday. Of course, being flexible is a good idea when it comes to days – but sticking to three runs and two gym sessions is the key here.

My start day will be the 27 December (Tuesday)… just after the Christmas feasts, which will hopefully result in enough motivation!

The actual training plan with all runs/gym/restdays looks like this:

Week
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
Sunday
1 26/12/16 Restday 5 Gym 5 Gym 10 Restday
2 02/01/17 Restday 5 Gym 5 Gym 10 Restday
3 09/01/17 Restday 5 Gym 5 Gym 10 Restday
4 16/01/17 Restday 5 Gym 5 Gym 10 Restday
5 23/01/17 Restday 5 Gym 5 Gym 10 Restday
6 30/01/17 Restday 6 Gym 6 Gym 12 Restday
7 06/02/17 Restday 7 Gym 7 Gym 14 Restday
8 13/02/17 Restday 8 Gym 8 Gym 16 Restday
9 20/02/17 Restday 9 Gym 9 Gym 18 Restday
10 27/02/17 Restday 10 Gym 10 Gym 20 Restday
11 06/03/17 Restday 6 Gym 6 Gym 12 Restday
12 13/03/17 Restday 6 Gym 6 Gym 3 Lisbon Half

All the above runs are in kilometers – not at least because I’m a slow and gentle runner 😉 …

If you don’t want to be training alone, but fancy a virtual training buddy … please remember to add me on Runkeeper – if we get a few virtual training buddies together, we can create a virtual running group there. My Runkeeper profile can be found here. Don’t forget to connect by sending me a tweet and say hello here: @urbangay  or follow/DM on instagram. And if you are running the Lisbon half… let’s make sure to say hi!

So… what are Portuguese guys like?

“Now that you are in Lisbon… what are the guys like?” seems to be the popular first question I get asked a lot by friends… let’s see if I can cobble together some very unscientific, personal, tongue-in-cheek and totally non-generalisable answers based on my first few months here… Continue reading “So… what are Portuguese guys like?”