Monday, July 19, 2010

Mike and Megan's Honeymoon: Day 5 - Olá Lisboa!

July 2nd

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Megan boarding the slow train to Lisbon (or Lisboa as the locals call it). It was interesting going through the rugged interior of Portugal.

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TAXI! Take us to our fine hotel!

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We're pretty excited because the hotel is right next to St. George's Castle. The taxi driver pulls up the the castle gate and says, "I'm sorry. I don't think I can go any farther. Your hotel is though the castle gate. Take a right and then a left after a couple streets." WHAT! We're in the castle. The only downside was having to pull a 200 lbs. (90.7 kg) suitcase uphill several blocks. Where's a mule when you need one?

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Ahhhh... Getting the honeymoon treatment at Solar do Castelo in the Alfama neighborhood. It was a wonderful place to stay with great amenities, location, staff, food, and so much more. Plus, it use to be the kitchen of St. George's Castle. How can we complain?

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Portugal is full of these hole in the wall sandwich shops. Two sandwiches, a pastry, some kind of fancy coffee, and a beer for 3 Euro ($3.87 US). Guess where I am going to retire?

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Sé de Lisboa was built in 1147. Think about that for a bit...

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God lives here...

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Portugal is the mythical land your grandfather told you about (sort of). You know when he told you the stories about having to walk to school every day in a foot of snow uphill both ways? Well, Portugal is uphill in every direction without snow. Just beautiful sun that will melt your flesh...

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Praça do Comércio is the centerpiece to a rebuilt Lisbon after the earthquake of 1755

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King José I by Machado de Castro. He was in charge when the 1755 9.0 magnitude earthquake knocked down most of Portugal, caught on fire, and finally hit by a 20ft. tsunami. They thought they were being punished by God and it's difficult to argue against that. He put Marquis of Pombal into a near dictatorial role of rebuilding the city, mostly the Baixa district.

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The arch leading to the Baixa shopping district, which is auto traffic east-west and pedestrian north-south.

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Us

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Getting our transit passes and finding the coolest escalator in the world. Albufeira had one outside helping people climb a huge hill. This one went flat in the middle and then continued up. It was like lazy surfing.

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TILE! TILE TILE! That's what you need to know about Portugal. They tile everything and you should learn about it when you are there. The Museu Nacional do Azulejo (National Tile Museum) is well worth the stop and should be done first.

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These are all from churches and houses and whatever else they built

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The museum is in an old convent called Convento da Madre Deus and here's another section they are planning to cover in more tile.

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a huge church interior they saved and rebuilt

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Everything that isn't tile is gold from Brazil. Something else you will notice...

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Looking south from Rossio Square.

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The electric tram. "Watch your wallets tourists!" is what we were told a million times. I like the ad on front saying "Be stupid." I don't know what the product was, but it's good advice.

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A beautiful little park in Alfama overlooking the Tegus River.

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The pointy tile building on Rua de Alfandega

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A Baiuca at Rua de São Miguel 20 is a Fado restaurant. Fado is a kind of fisherman folk music of Portugal. This tiny place was where I had one of the top 5 moments of my life.

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The band warming up while we get our order

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The Portuguese Mick Jagger.

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The food was delicious.

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This is Michael from Newark playing his first night in Portugal. We are his biggest fans.

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This lady was awesome. She sang, she danced, she cooked, she served, she had a tank top of a girl with a rabbit head, and did it all excellently in heels.

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Singers would come in off the street. The cooks would dance. It was great. Everything in Lisbon was great and it's only day one!

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