Sunday, October 21, 2018

Lisbon, Portugal, October 21, 2018

My room in Train Hostel is pretty cool.  There's a big curtain on each bunk so it makes a private little space.  I had to sleep on top last night but now have a bottom bunk.  I managed the stairs quite easily but still prefer the bottom.  There are only 4 of us in the room: me, a guy from Hungary and two unknowns who came in and went to bed at 6 this morning.  So, besides the Hungarian's quiet snoring, I had a great sleep.  At 2 a.m., I followed the TSN log of the Rider game for a while - it must have been a nice game to watch.  

I booked a walking tour of the Alfama District which is the oldest part of town, founded in 1143, making it older than Rome.  I'm not really sure how they distinguish "the oldest part of town'  because it's all really old compared to Canadian standards.  The streets are narrow and the steel poles prevent cars from parking on the sidewalks.  Walking this morning, the streets were deserted-

Unfortunately there is a lot of garbage everywhere, trash cans are overflowing and there's also lots of tagging.  It's too bad because it makes the place look ugly and rundown.

I had a couple kilometers to walk to meet my guide and was pretty sure I knew where I was going.  Along the way, I passed a great looking arch with a statue through it.  I've booked another tour for tomorrow so was hoping that one of the days I would see this up close-

When I arrived at my starting point, I was told I was at the wrong place and still had almost a kilometer to go and only a few minutes to get there so I ran.  Guess to where?

The Rua Augusto Arch on the Praça do Comércio was built to commemorate the city's reconstruction after the earthquake of 1755.  The columns are up to 11 meters high and historical figures adorn the sides.  

The nearby statue is of King José I, also made in 1755 and he's crushing snakes along his path-

The elephants on either side are allegorical sculptures of Triumph and Fame which symbolize the submitting of the continents to the Portuguese- 

Lisbon is a city of hills, supposedly 7, just like Rome and Istanbul.  I think there's quite a few more than 7.  There's also a beer brand named 8 Hills but I haven't tried it yet-

We did a lot of climbing which I'm finding easy.  I think I was in pretty good shape from my time at the gym and then my 10 days biking just reinforced that.  I almost hate to admit it but I'm really enjoying walking, and I'm walking a lot everyday.

Alfama is a Moorish quarter, home to fado which means destiny-

June 12 is the  Festival of Saint Anthony, the patron saint of Lisbon.  Now they just keep the decorations up all year, kind of like some people at home with their Christmas lights.  Apparently on the 12th, the streets are packed with people eating and drinking.  Poor couples can apply to be married in the Cathedral for free and for the 14 couples who were chosen this year, it was like a royal wedding with so many people milling around and attending-

The oldest home, from the 14th century, has gothic style windows and doors.  The second floor hangs over the first because people were only taxed on how much land the building touched.  A hang over like this allowed more square footage without paying more tax-

Some say this is the oldest house even though it doesn't have the gothic style doors but it does have an overhang-

There is some nice graffiti around.  Here, a citizen of Lisboa appears to be fed up with the tourists and their selfies-

Just on a door down a narrow street-

And this seems to say that consuming leads to exploding-

Moorish styled tiles are common wall coverings and showed up in the 15th century.  The king had seen them in Rome and brought the style back to Lisbon-

The Three Miracles of Saint Anthonio are depicted in tile on this pastry shop-

Views from up top are nice but not as nice as in Porto-

The church and monastery from the 17th century are called Saint Vincent Outside the Walls, because when they were built, it was in the middle of nowhere.  Today it is in the middle of Lisbon and contains the tombs of the Braganza monarchs-

The St. George Castle was built in 1385 in Moorish style.  It was a military fort, not fancy living quarters like Versailles.  It's called Saint George, which seems a bit odd for a Portuguese city because in 1385, the English and Portuguese had a political alliance.  It was packed with people waiting in line to go in-

Along the way was a Swiss man playing a hand pan.  What gorgeous music-

Amalia was a very famous Fado singer and she's commemorated in a tile mosaic in the Alfama.  Maybe this link will work: -

Lisbon's patron saint is Saõ Vincent holding a boat with two Ravens, the symbols of the city-

The Lisbon Cathedral, also called the Sé, was first constructed in 1147.  The round arched entrance is romantique style and the window is gothic-

Inside, Jesus and the 12 apostles are in the beautiful gothic stained glass window-

The altar is nice and bright-

Next door is the Church of Saint Anthony where outside there's a statue of him holding a book.  Legend has it that if you stand in front of the statue and throw a coin up and it hits the book, you will meet a man or woman, depending on what you're looking for-

For lunch I went by ferry to the town of Cacilhas which is on the over side of the river Tagus which is 20 km at its widest part. I had to pass through Commerce Square to get to the boat-

The 25th of April Bridge, when built, was the fifth largest in the world and the longest outside of the U.S.  The only day it is possible to walk across it is when it's the Lisbon Marathon in the spring-

I asked the woman working at the ferry ticket booth for suggestions for restaurants in Cacilhas which is a bustling little town-

I couldn't have asked for a better meal:  grilled squid with a few shrimp, fries and salad.  The only salad dressing they offer is olive oil and red wine vinegar.  They also sell wine by the 375 ml bottle, that's a glass to them-

Coming home, views of Lisbon-

What a beautiful building-

I caught Tram 28 for a ride around town.  I passed lots of the streets I drove on yesterday, trying to get out of the maze of cars and people.  I had a front spot because there was standing room only.  The driver knew a lot of people along the way who waved and hollered at him.  Many people also took pictures as we went by-

Changing gears-

I had a great 8 hour day!  I'm looking forward to seeing more of the 'new Lisboa" and Belem tomorrow!

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