Sunday, November 29, 2015

Cats, Dogs and Roosters

Yesterday we had a decision to make. We could take the train to Sintra, a town northwest of Lisbon where the nobility used to go to escape the rabble of the city, or we could spend our final day wandering a few more neighborhoods.

This wasn't a decision to be taken lightly. Sintra (which my spell-check wants to change to "Sinatra") is a UNESCO world heritage site and it's pretty much the one day-trip every Lisbon visitor is expected to do. Apparently there are forests and a colorful palace, among other things.

But Dave wasn't convinced, and since I am always fine just walking around and exploring, we did that instead. We walked through the neighborhoods of Mouraria (named after the moors, who lived among its steep, narrow streets in the middle ages) and Graça.

I was seriously considering doing an entire blog post about laundry in Lisbon. You see such an incredible assortment of clean clothing, towels and bedclothes hanging out to dry!

In Graça we sat at a cafe with an incredible view overlooking the city and had grilled cheese sandwiches. We watched a very energetic golden retriever annoy his owner by playing with a huge plastic bottle.

Then we kept walking back down into Alfama and eastward. We wound up getting kind of lost, which is always fun. We stumbled into Lisbon's famous outdoor flea market, which was packed with vendors selling vinyl records and toys and used pottery and clothing and all kinds of junque, but we didn't stay because Dave is not a fan of flea markets. (One point on which he and I differ -- I could have spent hours there! But it's just as well I didn't, so I don't have treasures to haul back to London.)

We eventually found our way back to our hotel, past more laundry and the occasional sleeping cat.

A huge Holland America cruise ship has been moored in the river below our hotel for the last few days. From the wine bar, with its infinity pool, we watched as it set sail yesterday evening. Then we went to dinner at a little tapas place, coincidentally near the flea market where we were earlier in the day. We hired a tuk-tuk, a sort of auto rickshaw, to take us there -- it was a Portuguese version of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. Our tuk-tuk driver, Lisa, was a master of the back streets and took us past Lisbon's grand, illuminated São Vicente de Fora church and the domed Panteão.

Today, back to the airport and home!


  1. Such spectacular photos -- I LOVE the one of the woman at the window with her laundry hanging there so colorfully -- it appears that the color has been drained from HER face, though!

  2. I love the picture of the sleepy old woman at her window with her bedspread airing. Well captured sir! If a word balloon was emerging from her mouth I think she might have been saying something rather rude to you but with these kind of shots you have to be brave.

  3. loving your photos, and like everyone else, the one of the woman in the window with her coverlet.

  4. You took that picture of the giant rooster for me, right? Thanks! Haha.
    Well, I'm about to go hang my own clothes outside. I'll pretend I'm in Lisbon and then later, I'd love a glass of wine with the cruise ship in the background. Please keep that annoying dog and his water bottle away from me.
    These are fabulous pictures. I'm glad you're having a good time.

  5. Tough decision you had to make but, I too enjoy wandering around a city and exploring so I would have been fine with that choice. You did get some great photos. Sounds like you've had a great weekend escape.

  6. Looks like such a beautiful place. Loved the photos - thanks for taking us along through pictures. Mr. Toad's wild ride - heh!

  7. oh my what great pictures...when you travel it is so great because I get to see the sights.
    I love flea markets too and it would have been a struggle not to cry and beg to visit the booths!

  8. Great wandering around Lisbon with you - I think the old dear with the blankets hanging below her window was thinking - he could have waited until I put my teeth in.

    Ms Soup

  9. I would have loved that ride too. Wonderful trip and safe journey back to London!

  10. Love the woman at the window. It really gives the everyday life flavor of the place.