Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Journey Begins

Every journey begins with a few short steps, as the fella says. We have been talking about and even planning a walk on the Camino de Santiago, jokingly*, then more seriously, for some time. In El Escorial a few weeks ago we even procured the current guidebook for the Portuguese variant, now the 2nd most popular of all the official versions of The Way**. And on Tuesday, we made our way from the bus stop to the Lisbon Cathedral to obtain our Credenciales. (No Credencial, no Compostela; no time off for good behavior in Purgatory). (Also no Camino de Santiago patch for your back pack nor fridge magnet). It was a Moment for me. I was so moved I even forgot to count the change the guy gave me for dos credenciales (2 euros each) at the Cathedral gift shoppe. Outside, Vicki took pix of me, and we later celebrated with a fine Portuguese lunch at Paco Real. In another couple weeks, we will become peregrinos, pilgrims. Sort of.
Lisbon Cathedral, begun in 1147 and not much
changed since then; it has survived all the city's
horrendous earthquakes

Late, really late, Romanesque, barrel vaulting,
etc.; Gothic bits were added in later years, but
they were mostly destroyed in 1755: maybe
God doesn't like Gothic and this was a sign...

Pleased, proud, and in my most resolute pose...never mind
the impish twinkle

Another sign: walking past the ecclesiastical
offices, I notice a kalanchoe--one of my
favorite plants--has escaped its confines and
begun anew on the outside...thriving

*Vicki calls it the "Carmen Sandiego"
**Also the name of a good movie on the subject, which you can probably watch in less time than reading the Wikipedia articles

Another sign: much later in the day, we were out stalking art
deco buildings, and this real peregrino happens by, obviously
trying to navigate Lisbon on vellum notes; did you know that
there are scores of Camino de Santiago apps?

Monday, May 22, 2017

Lisbon Food

The food we have experienced is elemental, not complicated or fussy, but wonderful. Not a good place for dieting, however.
Alcoa...a patisserie...and I thought they made Reynolds Wrap

Plus pastels de nata and other decadence

Legendary cafe

Gimja is the great cherry liqueur of Portugal; you can get it at
stands like this, or non-mobile stands, or lots of other places;
served in chocolate cups

It was lunch time and we couldn't get in to our
first choice; after a bit of a walk, we arrived
at our 2nd choice, the Casa de Alentaje, which
turned out to be the Alentaje cultural center;
with a tavern, and a restaurant, all in a
beautiful Moorish style building

The place was crowded but we boldly walked
into the restaurant, were told the pork and cod
were all that was left, but we agreed that was fine,
and were seated; what followed was one of our
more wonderful meals 

My bread soup; really, a garlic/cilantro broth, with an egg
poached within, topped with bread

Vicki's veggie puree

Baked cod and potatoes swimming in a sea of garlic butter

Vicki's pork and potatoes

Vicki's clams, which devolved to me

The room we were in walled by tile paintings of Alentaje; here,
the dolmen...

In the library, a bull "fighting" scene

Old tile throughout the building

One of the dining rooms

Main floor

We can't believe this place is open to the public

Next stop, the Confeiteria Nacional, to watch pastels being
made; also to eat some

An immobile Ginjateria

Line to get into the Pastelieria Belem

Poor Piglet

Another day, another traditional lunch...Vicki's veal and chips
and rice; and my red sausage (under the eggs) and chips...

At a very plain but wonderful and welcoming place

Lisbon Scenes, 1

Our megalithic visits done for now, we drove west to Lisbon on May 19th, and with a variety of wrong turns and U-turns eventually found Camping Barcelona, the city's big 4 star campground in the northern heights overlooking the metropolis. We spent several days here in 2009, including Xmas (many posts, just search "Lisbon" in the search box). On the 20th we did nothing, and rested, and then on the 21st we took the bus, #714, into town, passing through Belem and the western neighborhoods and even a museum or two we will get to. Our goal for the day was to do the free (for tips) city center tour and then maybe have a nice lunch and visit something else.
The city center is one of many plazas and monuments and
buildings, most all of them dating only from 1755...the earthquake
that killed 90,000..and pedestrian pavement done with the white
and black paving stones, macro-mosaic; imagine walking on
this one if you have vestibular issues...

Even on the old city tour, we saw a number of art nouveaux

And art decaux

And even a famous art nuvo/gothic elevator
designed by one of Eiffel's students

The Portuguese didn't invent tiles, but they
certainly have perfected their use

The above turned out to be the world's oldest
bookstore still in business (according to

Portugal is not a 3rd world country and the tuk-tuks are merely
a tourist novelty; here's a tiled one

We have an uncanny habit of walking onto movie sets...this
one possibly set in the 30s

Anyway, our tour begins; note to self if I ever become a tour
guide: keep verbiage to minimum while customers are standing
in the hot sun on reflective pavement

Monument to Mark Zuckerberg

Former convent/brewery where we had dinner in 2009 (I never
forget convent/breweries)

Pretty street, down to the river

More tiles, more grillwork, balconies

Looking across Alfama to the castle

Jacarandas incredible here too

I thought the meeting of tram and trolley at the former royal
castle really tied things together, color-wise

Monument on the former parade ground; yes, that's an
elephant on the right in the monument; one of the former
kings collected them (this was before Ferraris)

More gorgeous buildings

Some under wraps

Beautiful art deco theatre in North Lisbon

And more monuments