Wednesday, June 17, 2015


The cold biting Atlantic chill which cut through to the bone when we arrived abated day by day, except at the dizzy heights of Sintra (more anon) to where I went twice, and the dizzier cliffs of Carbo da Roca (likewise), once. By the end of the first week even the locals were wilting a little.

And by the end of the week, I'd taken to seeking refuge in the late afternoons in the shade of an almost cantilevered garden - the lovely two levelled belvedere Garden de San Pedro Alcantara - with two fountains and of course a man on a horse (lots of them in lovely Lisbon). There was always a breeze from the river while the castle, plonked stubbornly in the belting sun opposite, baked.

                              (the exposed lower level with the castle opposite and the river in the distance)

 (retreating to the shade of the upper level with fountain, man on horse, cafe, busker, and idling everyones)

This retreat from the heat is a quick fanicular climb from The Avenue of Liberty (the end which meets Rossio) and the hotel - the white building left of the obelisk, second top floor (below the roof terrace) second doors from the left. Wave!!

A funicular!

There's one at the top and one at the bottom and they pass midway, often with cheers from car to car, windows down, excitement all round.

There's several in Lisbon, and here's why:

It's steep. And steeper than it looks, believe me. Notice the leg in the top right hand corner? Leg by day, sex shop by night.

It was here one afternoon, in the lengthening shadows, with a man lifting his dog for a drink from the bubbler  ...

... that there came, of all things, a small naval band in their heavy blue woollens. And they smiled, and warmed up, and one handed out leaflets: Navy Day was coming up.


David said...

Lisbon was one of our least successful jaunts - not least because, having stayed in a horrid brown hotel which wasn't cheap for the first few days, when we returned from Sintra - where we DID have a good time - we opted for a cheap hotel on the harbour. Turned out to be a brothel with the bell going all night long. And I had food poisoning from eels, and then J misread a nought on a king prawn dish in an otherwise cheap seafood place and cleaned us out of the money we had left (still pre hole-in-the-wall time) so we only just afforded a 4am taxi to the airport. Maybe should go back because I know Debbie loves it.

wanderer said...

And Debbie was a strong influence on our going too. It will be a one-visit city for us most likely, although we have close friends here who have been the last two years. K's knee bunged after Sintra, where we could well have spent more time, so that was limiting. Eating eels! How could you! I must say we didn't find the food especially memorable (Belem tarts excepted) despite two worthwhile visits to Gambrinus.

All that said, we don't regret a minute of it, and I leant heaps. K actually went to a museum twice, and you can count them on one hand: the amazing Electricity Museum, also at Belem (handy that).

David said...

So long as he also ventured into the cloisters at Belem, I forgive him.

Actually I think jellied eels are the most disgusting things in terms of texture, taste, everything. But these weren't bad (and it was a very nice restaurant in Sintra).

My feelings about Portugal increased a hundredfold last year when we spent a long weekend at the Setubal Festival - a lovable place, lovable people, and beautiful landscape along the coast.

wanderer said...

Yes yes to loveable. A focal point, like a festival, makes such a difference doesn't it. Did you write on that and I miss it?

Kim would need no forgiveness on the Museum, and I have to agree. It was fantastic, like, say, restoring the Battersea power station from coal in to electricity out in complete detail and capturing the essence of the times in the sweat and labour to the magnificence of the turbines and generators, on which we prosper(ed).

And yes we did go to the cloisters, he hobbling along.