France to Denmark April-May 2016

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4/30/2016
LISBON

I think we could have spent several days here. It is a rich and beautiful city with culture, history, and a modern vibe as well. So, where to begin our day′s story. For want of a better plan, I′ll describe where the driver and guide took us today.

The first stop (you guessed it — it′s a Catholic country) was the original cathedral of the city. The walls must have been feet thick and the interior was as cheery as a tomb. But this isn′t surprising since churches in Europe typically house crypts for nobility, heroes, and clergy.

We then went to the main fortress on the highest hill in the city (yes, another one), a truly impressive edifice which consisted of three Lisbon - Main Fortresswalls enclosing a town and the palace. Each layer of wall was bristling with cannon and seemed to be thicker than the next. The last ring even had a moat (now full of grass and flowers) and the entryway was designed in a zigzag pattern (like the Imperial Palace in Japan). Massive in every way.

I asked the guide if the fortress had ever been taken. It was once when a traitor opened the gates to the enemy and an enemy soldier sacrificed himself by jamming his body in the gate as the defenders tried to close the gates again. I assume he was not around to celebrate the victory.

We then toured the Lisbon by car. The city was significantly destroyed in an earthquake in the 1700′s and had to be rebuilt. Except that the newer buildings look newer, the renovations in the old city core were apparently kept quite historic. This city makes San Francisco or Seattle look flat. The streets are narrow and the pavement is often cobblestones. The sidewalks are also cobblestone but laid out in patterns of red, black, and white. In the center of the streets there are trolley tracks because trolleys are still in active use, as are funiculars. Finally, Lisbon has a bridge over the Tagu River that looks very much like the Golden Gate. Walls of the houses are clad in glazed tiles.

Lisbon is built on seven hills (a lot of these cities we′ve visited appear to be multi–hilled). In Lisbon, each hill is its own neighborhood — one is the older city, the next hill the fashionable residential area, the next shopping, the next commercial, etc. The non–slideshow slideshow of sights might help convey our experience.Street Art in Lisbon

Art is ubiquitous — on every surface and of every variety. This particular piece is to remind everyone: Chewbaka says recycle!


A functioning aqueduct.Funtioning Aqueduct

Churches seem to be on every corner.Churches on every Corner

This church is at the end of a large square. It was built to celebrate Portugal′s history of discovery. It is considered a neighborhood parish church, not a cathedral.


First class wall art is everywhere, and beautiful gardens are common.

Art in Lisbon Art in Lisbon Art in Lisbon Art in Lisbon Art in Lisbon
Art in Lisbon Art in Lisbon Art in Lisbon Art in Lisbon Art in Lisbon

Stores galore. Even single-purpose stores that used to be in the U.S. cities (but aren′t now) are holding on here. We passed a store that only sold buttons. Handicrafts of all sorts, cork, wood carving, copperware, etc. are on display everywhere.

Early Portuguese ExplorersThis picture commemorating all of the early Portuguese explorers was taken today.






This photo was taken about 50 years ago.50 years ago

A lot more crowded today.

In summary, I am leaving this port with the feeling that there is so much more to see that I wish we had more time here. Then I remember that the winding, narrow, streets are set at an average 45 degrees, walking areas are paved with irregular cobbles, it′s chockablock with tourists (like us), and all in all perhaps (especially since we′re now in open ocean) we should call it a day!

That said, Lisbon was a great port.




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