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Susanne Krejsa MacManus' five finger excercise

8/2021: “Bliss” in Lisbon

Now, you’re sure to laugh at me, but even when just packing my suitcase in Vienna, I feel homesick. I bravely overcome it, and I like to travel – a lot. To Lisbon, for example. There’s always something new to discover. At least on the map … actually finding one’s way there is another question. It took us three attempts to finally locate Rua Marechal Saldanha 1 in the Santa Catarina district, actually very close to our Airbnb apartment and easy to reach with the famous no. 28 yellow tram.

One ought to just be able to read maps ;-)

Logodesign: Cristiana Couceiro

Who knows, I thought, maybe I’ll find some fodder for my various writing projects in the Health and Pharmacy Museum there.

Yet, in front of the impressive 18th-century villa with its wrought-iron portals, perron steps and inviting parasols on a spacious terrace with a beautiful view of the Tagus River, the good intentions quickly falter: why not first have something to drink (and eat) in the ‘Pharmacia Felicidade’ restaurant before getting down to the intellectual work?

A glance at the drinks menu brings the first surprise: Antidote or LSD? Antivirus or Anticoagulant? The latter, for example, comes in a dose of 105 millilitres and contains Żubrówka vodka and ginger beer as active substances and then coriander, celery and sliced ginger to boot.

"Our laboratory's medicines are subject to prescription. In case of doubt, consult your waiter/waitress or bartender."

Wallpaper design: Cristiana Couceiro

Lost in a daydream, you look around; suddenly, something catches your gaze:

The backrest of the seat opposite is very similar to the headboard of old hospital beds; it even has those (much too) small wheels on the bottom.

The white wine cooler looks like a first aid kit from yesteryear; the cutlery is brought in a metal bowl that can be nothing other than a medical kidney dish.


Foto: Susana Felicidade

Yes, says Susana Felicidade about her restaurant, the furniture and furnishings come from old pharmacies, laboratories, hospital wards and examination rooms. For her restaurant concept, she developed the story of the fictional family of pharmacists the Silvas, starting with Alfredo Silva, who built the palatial building and opened his pharmacy in around 1910, continuing with his son, who added a large laboratory to the pharmacy in the 1950s/1960s, and ending with the grandson, who had to close the business in the 1990s. This fantasy story explains the colourful mix of furniture and paraphernalia from a period spanning more than 80 years.

The combination of objects and the way they have been given new uses is very humorous, and a real feast for the eyes for all those who enjoy the topics of pharmaceutics and medicine.

As owners of the establishment, those in charge at the Portuguese National Association of Pharmacies clearly also had a sense of humour to give the go-ahead for such an unusual idea.

It was worth it: the food is delicious and the guests are happy.

Oh, after all that, I’ve now completely forgotten to tell you about our exciting visit to the Health and Pharmacy Museum.

My previous ‘five finger exercises’ and newsletters can be read here. I’d be delighted if they were shared!

I post my five finger exercises every so often, whenever I have something to relate.
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