Sunday, May 3, 2009

Vasco de Gama

Today we ventured out of our neighborhood, down several steep flights of stairs to the Baixa & Avenida districts. These areas are much more conventionally European looking, compared to the pseudo medieval Alfama. We meandered around grand squares featuring fountains and tall statues of men on horseback serving as impressive perches for flocks of pigeons.
The squares were lined by cafes and shops, however, as it is Sunday, all of the shops were closed (except curiously for the stores selling underpants).
We took a bright yellow funicular up to the Barrio Alto district where we went to the Sao Roque church as a service was getting underway. We went back down by taking the 100 year old Elevator de Santa Justica, a frilly, metal sort-of free standing elevator.
We had coffee on Rua Augusta, which is a wide, pedestrian street with outdoor cafes running down the centre. (Sort of like South Beach´s Lincoln Road.) After that we perused some artwork being sort on the street and Betty Lou picked up a splendid watercolor painting.
me in Rossio Sq (Lisbon)
We took a tram to another area - Belem - which was extremely lively with restaurants, a great antique flea market and lots of pedestrians and tourists roaming around in the nearly 30 degree sunshine. The reason for going to this area was to visit the Mosterio dos Jeronimos, a stunning monatstery\cloisters and church where Vasco de Gama is entombed. (Betty Lou and i must admit that Vasco de Gama is pretty much the only famous Portugese person we could name prior to coming here.) The courtyard in the cloisters was lovely and we laid on the grass in the sunshine until the heat became too much for us.

The ride back was less pleasant as it was a tram crammed with hot, sweaty bodies, but it got us back to Rua Augusta where we had a great meal. Now we are both exhausted. It will be an early night.
Time is running short on the internet, so i will just say Good Night.

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