Jun 19, 2019

Touring Lisbon

Tuesday morning started off with a power failure. Colin plugged in the kettle and blew all the breakers. We found the electrical panel but it was totally different from what we were familiar with and Colin did not want to play with it. We no longer had internet which was a problem as I needed to contact our host. My overseas international roaming package was over the day we left Marrakech and I figured that it was not worth renewing for eight days.  I had pre researched that I could text for only .75cents CAD and I did. However the host called back and that cost me $3.50CAD per minute. Oh well, it was a bit of an emergency and likely I was under $12.00CAD which was still cheaper than paying $60.00CAD for only eight days use as a just in case situation. As we were going from country to country, it was easier to get the one roaming package rather than set up a new SIM card in each place.  Plus I seldom use the phone for data or texting.

The host arrived within 40 minutes. Meanwhile Colin had gone out to pick us up some coffee and found everything closed until 10am. They go to bed late and start the day late (Starbucks included). The host came, sorted out that the problem was a bad kettle which he was going to replace and got all the power turned back on.  That gave us about twenty minutes to get to our free walking tour. There are dozens of them here and we had narrowed it down to one this day and one the next which we ended up canceling as most of it was covered in this first tour.

Colin chatting photography with one of the tour operators.  I was sitting and gathering my strength for the 3 hour tour.

Lovely painted mural as an homage to Fado. It was fun listening to how it started and what to look for to make sure that it is an event true to the culture.

We walked up and then down and then up again. I did keep up for the most part.

Antonio Ribeiro born in 1520 and died in 1591. He was  also known as Chiado for having lived many years in the Chiado district, on the street still called Chiado. He was a satirical poet of the sixteenth century and today they are calling him the world’s first rapper. He would spend hours rapping about the royal family and how they knew nothing and were doing everything wrong. The King found it amusing and had him entertain at some functions by rapping against the guests. This was the second statue we had seen blindfolded today; our guide had no idea why.

Here sits the poet Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935)  who had over 35 multiple personalties that he would converse with, asking a question and then moving to the next chair to answer as one of his other personalities. By varying his voice he was able to more easily explore different viewpoints and truths. I think that today he would likely be diagnosed with a personality disorder.

This bookstore, Bertrand Chiado, is the oldest bookstore in the world and was recognized in 2011 by the Guiness Book as the oldest operating bookstore in the world. It opened in 1732 and still operated the day of the devastating earthquake in 1755 and the horrific fire in 1988.

The Camano Convent was destroyed on November 1, 1755 by an earthquake said to be between 8.5 to 9.1 on todays Richter scale. It was All Saints Day and the church was lit with candles which caused a devastating fire after the earthquake. Many fled to the river to get away from the fires, only to find that the water had receded. It came back as a massive tsunami. With three catastrophic events in one day, most of Lisbon and the surrounding area was destroyed.

Next to the convent is a military museum which still has a changing of the guard. The revolution of October 5, 1910, overthrew the Portuguese monarchy and instituted the First Portuguese Republic. The political institutions of the First Republic lasted until 1926, when it was replaced by a military dictatorship. That dictatorship was only recently overthrown on April 25, 1974 by the Carnation Revolution.  There is much fascinating history to this country, including how it remained neutral during WWII and sold goods to countries on both sides of the war.

The tour continued. I think I was the only one taking notes. Another wee tidbit from the war is that Lisbon became a haven for spies to gather.  It was here that Ian Fleming came up with his story ideas and created James Bond, 007.

The Rossio Train station with some unique architecture.

The Lisbon massacre, alternatively known as the Lisbon pogrom or the 1506 Easter Slaughter was an incident in April, 1506, in Lisbon, Portugal in which a crowd of Catholics, as well as foreign sailors who were anchored in the Tagus, persecuted, tortured, killed, and burnt at the stake hundreds of people who were accused of being Jews.  Supposedly this all began during a sermon by a priest in this church.

The church was deemed to be cursed and was almost burned to the ground in August 13 1959.  Basic repairs were made in order that mass can still be said but the pillars and the interior are not in good shape.

The corridor to the commerce district on the river.

Another corridor to the Elevador de Santa Justa which I discussed in the last post.

Our tour guide brought us to what she thinks is the best place to enjoy the famous Portuguese custard tarts called pastel de nata.  She very generously treated each of us to one of these most delicious sweets.

The tour just kept going and going. Here we are in an area on the way to the Alfama district and this street is famous for its various dried cod preparations. I was most surprised to learn that codfish is not caught in local waters but in Northern Europe.  Years and years ago the sailors were mostly paid in codfish which of course was salted and dried.  They would bring it back to Portugal and soon the country was overrun with salted cod which eventually became a favorite of the people here and still is to this day.

The tour continued to Alfama which was not destroyed during the earthquake.  It was where the fishermen lived as well at the prostitutes and the lower class. There is a good deal of thought as to why they survived and not the Catholics and in the end the church admitted that there might be a greater force than God! Way too much for me to communicate the details to you. The photo here is to portray how narrow and twisted the streets are in this area.  By now the tour was at four hours and still going strong.  We were done. I put a nice tip into her hand and said that we had to leave.  The rest were on their way to some tasting of a cherry liqueur. FYI, there is a month long fiesta of sorts in June and hence the decorations.  I could add a lot more but this post is long enough.

We came across a very small Italian restaurant where we shared a wonderful bottle of wine and possibly the best pasta meals we have ever had.  This lunch was one of the highlights of our trip.

Next we wanted to take a tour on the famous Tram 28, there was a one hour wait in line.  We later found out that an accident had caused the delay.

By the time we boarded I was pretty tired.  We just keep going and going. The day had also gotten much warmer and I was overheated. Fortunately I was able to peel off a few layers and roll up my sleeves.

This tram system has been going since 1873 ( pulled by horses ) and in 1901, it was electrified.

Because of traffic, it was almost an hour trip one way to the far end. Do I look like I am fading? As you can see the temperature had dropped again.

At the end of the tram line we all had to get off and line up all over again to get back on in order to get back to where we had started. The wind picked up and it started to drizzle.  Eventually we got onto a tram which was hot as blazes inside as compared to outside.  I think  that I was done at this point. Eventually the lady in the blue shirt got up and offered me her seat!  Do I look that old?

As it turned out, the rain had started again as we were bounced along the tracks. Suddenly we both recognized where we were and rang to get off.  We were only a few blocks from home.  However the sidewalks were treacherous due to the rain and we walked ever so slowly so as to not fall.  It was great to get back inside and to relax with a glass of wine.  We did not go out for dinner but ate leftovers.  That was a long day.  We were gone just over nine hours and spent most of that time walking.

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8 responses so far

8 Responses to “Touring Lisbon”

  1. George Yates says:

    Wow what a busy day , but you did get to see a lot of nice scenery. Now to relax and enjoy your wine.

  2. Kelly says:

    I was tired just reading this Contessa.
    Interesting historical info.

  3. Maxx Trails says:

    Very busy day, but it was interesting reading about it.

  4. Kathryn Tycho says:

    A very full day. I think the nice lady just recognized that you were exhausted.

  5. Peter Kouwenhoven says:

    Wow! What an amazing post of a very busy day. Your detailed narrative and pictures are awesome, and your energy impressive. Enjoy you well deserved vinho!

    Cheers, Peter.

  6. Shelagh says:

    My parents were in Lisbon during the Carnation Revolution, they were in a store shopping when suddenly they were ordered to return to their hotels. Out in the streets there were soldiers and tanks, they were scared at first but saw carnations in the barrels of the guns. Then they relaxed a bit.

  7. Dolores says:

    Very beautiful and informative. U look exhausted…

  8. Wow, I admire your endurance and energy to do all that touring. I bet many tourists take their whole vacation to see the sights you are cramming into a day. Wonderful pictures again and so colourful. Looks like a vibrant city and your accommodations are again a good pick.

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