Here’s something you don’t often see in Lisboa: the Praça do Comércio with an empty street in front of it. This is normally a booming avenue and a crowded plaza. We went for a walk along the Rio Tejo on Christmas Eve, and the city felt nearly deserted in terms of traffic. There was a merry Brazilian band playing on the riverbank, however, and at least one reveler dancing in proper Brazilian fashion — which, as my brother-in-law put it, means “leading with your bum.”
I was mightily confused when my wife referred to this plaza as Terreiro do Paço. Since this is the biggest plaza in the city, well marked on all the maps, I was pretty sure I had the name right. But she was equally sure, and she’s the native. She said the “official” name is Praça do Comércio, but Lisboetas call it Terreiro do Paço.
And just to drive the point home, in the Metro station across the avenue I found one sign pointing to the Praça do Comércio exit — and 50 meters away another sign pointing to the Terreiro do Paço exit!
Really, Lisboa — are you trying to confuse the foreigners?