What a difference a day makes! The weather today, was perfect. Not too hot, not cold at all. To think I was shivering yesterday wearing 3 layers!
Today I went to the Alfama district of Lisbon. To be honest, yesterday I was feeling a little lacklustre about Lisbon. I liked it, but it just wasn’t really what I expected. That’s because I hadn’t been to Alfama yet… this is the Lisbon I imagined. Cobbled streets, little alley’s, weird little passageways, and real Portuguese going about their business, which on an Easter Sunday appears to be sitting and chatting. The people here are noticeably friendlier and more helpful than anywhere I’ve been so far (and as you know, I’ve been incredibly lucky with the kindness of strangers already!) Plus, almost everyone I’ve spoken to knows at least a little English, which I hate to say, is such a relief! I’m really trying to get at least a few key words down in each language, but traveling between countries so quickly gets confusing.
Many of the buildings here are tiled. The tiles reflect the light and keep it cooler, plus they’re really quite beautiful.
This is Igreja Sao Vicente de Fora. I went in and it was pretty, but I’ve been in so many churches lately that it’s going to take a lot to knock my socks off at this point. Italy will be the sock-knocker-offer, this I know!
Everyone hangs their laundry out the windows.
Sardines. A Portuguese specialty. I had to have some. I went into 3 different places tyring to get some, but it was around 4:00, and in between lunch and dinner and they wouldn’t make me any. FINALLY, I found a place, oh joy! I was seated in between 2 couples, which always makes you feel so good as a solo gal… but one of the couples spoke English (she was American, he was German) and it felt so great to have a real conversation in English again! I’ve had a lot of broken English, mangled Portu-Spanglish-ench conversations in the past few weeks, but not a lot of easy talk, so it was a nice break. So they asked if I had seen the castle yet, and to be perfectly honest, I’m in Lisbon totally blind. I thought I had a guide for it in my iphone, but don’t, so I’m just wandering around with no direction. At their suggestion, I decided to find the castle. See below for pics!
So the sardines. I ordered them grilled, and they were grilled whole. And by whole I mean not cleaned. It’s head was there, it’s tail was there, it’s internal organs were there. No big deal though, I just pushed the yucky bits aside. So simply prepared, no fuss, no muss. I must have been hungry because I ate like, 5 or 6 sardines! They’re bigger than the canned ones, not huge or anything, but that’s still a lot of fish. Yum yum.
The Alfama district is the only one that wasn’t destroyed by the earthquake of 1755, so it has some very old buildings. Many are in pretty bad disrepair, but considering the fact that Portugal got a huge bailout from the European Union earlier in the month, it’s not really surprising.
I found this while walking down an alley. I’m not sure if it’s an obituary or an art piece.
I just love these streets.
Castelo de Sao Jorge. This castle was built in the 11th century during the Moorish period. It’s now a National Monument and has the best views of Lisbon since it’s on top of the hill. I walked up that hill, I’ll have you know.
The view. There are a lot of green spaces in Lisbon. They call their park area’s green lungs. That is a bit strange considering no one seems to recycle here. Same for Spain and France! Why? I am starting to feel a bit less weird about putting a plastic bottle or can in the GARBAGE, but what choice to do I have? There simply are next to no places to recycle it!
There was also an archaeology museum of some of the things they’ve uncovered on the site. There were mainly vessels, bowls, coins, pipes and tiles.
The resident castle cat.
A church whose name I’ve forgotten!