Eurovision (The Gay European Superbowl Halftime Show) is in Lisbon. And We Are Going!

By @ 04/09/18 in Event, Gay travel, Jean-Pierre Soutric, Lisbon, Travel

Lisbon in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineWhen I was little, the Eurovision Song Contest was THE show of the year, seen on TV by all Europeans across the old continent but not across the Berlin Wall as for all men my age that was the official limit of our world i.e., the Free World. (This year’s Eurovision Song Contest takes place May 8-12 in Lisbon; photo above by Pedro Simões)

Story by Paris-based ManAboutWorld Global Correspondent Jean-Pierre Soutric (below)

Jean-Pierre Soutric, ManAboutWorld Global Correspondent representing FranceThat said, for all us “boys and their moms,”  that show was not to be missed. It was a night of elegance and great music. All songs (that was the rule then) had to be interpreted in the artists’ home country’s respective languages. (Today artists choose whatever language suits them.)

I absolutely adored listening to the Italians, Germans, Dutch, Brits of course, the Spanish, not to forget the most exotic songs in Finnish, etc. My mom would share her admiration for the beautiful gowns worn on the occasion, severely condemning any “laisser-aller” if anyone had not dressed-up.

A brief (personal) gay history of Eurovision Song Contest

One day the Wall came down and more countries would be invited. All of a sudden, we would start to get acquainted to Hungarian, Russian and Hebrew, too. The show grew as did Europe as a political entity. All men my age are unconditional Europhiles. The show was the materialization of our dreams. Not only would it encourage young artists to express and showcase their culture, it would also become the stage for further tolerance. Abba won in 1974. In 1998 transgender Dana International won the coveted award for Israel. In 2014, the bearded Conchita Wurst in his couture gown won it for Austria.

Conchita Wurst as seen in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

The other lady in Gold

The show takes place in the winning country of the previous year and this year it’s in beautiful Lisbon. The White City by the Tagus River is one of the most pleasant capitals of Europe thanks to its wonderful climate and charming people. Historic and set on several hills like Rome, it has changed a lot lately but for the best as old districts have all been carefully restored. Foodies will love to visit and so will night owls.

My top hotel recommendations
  • Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon set amidst the elegant Edward VII’s gardens
  • Bairro Alto in the heart of the chic and animated Chiado (the hotel is currently under renovation)
  • Memmo Alfama high above the old city for the most spectacular views over the river and city
  • Carmo Lisboa also in Chiado and close to the ruins of historic Carmel
Bites and more
  • Mercado da Ribeira, the old covered market now a place to experience all kind of foods in a very casual atmosphere. Opens for coffee and pasteis de nata quite late
  • Sea-Me, a must-go if your idea of sea-food is stuck in boring souvenirs (be sure to book ahead)
  • A Cervicheria in Principe Reias, cool and very popular restaurant (ask for a seat at the bar); be patient and enjoy a glass of Portuguese white wine outside (you will love the way Portuguese dress in fine weather)
Gay life

Gay bars, restaurants etc are all close to A Cevicheria à Principe Real and Bairro Alto. No need to cab or drive. I personally like Finalmente as the club has been around as much as I have(!); check-out Posh Lisbon; and TR3S Lisboa, “where the bears are” I will do for you in May when I visit on the occasion of the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest. Come back here and/or check our Facebook page during Eurovision Song Contest 2018 (May 8-12).

Airline Tips
  • U.S. travelers can take TAP, Portugal’s national airline, to any of their 65+ destinations throughout Europe and Africa and get up to five days in Lisbon to enjoy the festival on the way for no additional airfare. Check their website for more details.
  • Also, download TAP Portugal Stopover app for hotel discounts, complimentary wine at restaurants, and free experiences like walking tours, gallery and museum admission, and other discounts.

 

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