A Travellerspoint blog

Portugal

LISBON, PORTUGAL

Home port for explorers

sunny 69 °F

Lisbon is beautiful, and we are docked on the Tagus River in its center. (The first photo below is taken from the ship.) We saw the city driving through broad boulevards lined with jacaranda trees abloom in purple, then on a tram winding through narrow alleys bounded by houses covered with tiles. Fountains dot the corners; churches are everywhere. There are signs of Roman and Moorish influence, many statues to the explorers they honor (like Vasco de Gama), and few structures from pre-1755 when an earthquake devastated the city and killed a quarter of its occupants.

On our tram ride we were served glasses of port (at 10 am!) and sweets called Pastels de nata de Belem. Belem means “Bethlehem;” like most food, buildings, and institutions here, the name of the pastry has a religious tone. E.g., the legislature of St. Benedict, theater of Sao Carlos, sword of St. James. The lamp posts are mounted with the city’s emblem of St. Anthony; the train station is that of St. Apollonia. Hagiography is alive and well here.

St. Jeronimos Monastery is huge and now morphed into two museums; its Church is huge and dark with a nice ceiling of palm tree design and a highly carved south portal. Confessionals line one wall facing this door, the door the sailors used – it was assumed they had sins to confess before worshipping!

We returned to the ship to find a balloon bouquet on our bed celebrating our wedding anniversary. Margaret Adams, if you look closely at the wall, you will see the drawing you made for us posted there!!

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Posted by HopeEakins 09:33 Archived in Portugal Comments (1)

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