Jul 12, 2012

Portugal: Part 1 - Obrigada: the only word I learned

I just wrote two papers on Portuguese culture, so why not continue my streak and tell you about my trip to Portugal?

I arrived in Lisbon for a few solo days of sightseeing before I needed to get to work. I decided to take it easy my first day since I wasn't sure how quickly I would become exhausted. That gave me enough time to take some walks around the downtown area.

First item of business: lunch! Beer and seafood were calling my name so I found my way to Cervejaria Trinidade, a 175 year old Portuguese brewery on the grounds of a 13th century convent. This is where I got my first dose of the ubiquitous azulejos (Portuguese tiles).

Then I got to wandering. Everywhere you turn there are.... 

tiled buildings with tram wires crisscrossing above, 

Neoclassical buildings and tiled sidewalks,

monuments like the Obelisk in Praca dos Restauradores, 

interesting details in the architecture like the horseshoe entryway of Rossio Station 

and statues of dudes on horses.

Two churches were also on the itinerary for the afternoon. Both looked remarkably nondescript from the exterior. One survived the earthquake of 1755 and the other lived through the earthquake and a fire but was never fully restored. I was struck by how, in such vastly different environments, believers can worship. Pretty cool, even for someone who doesn't believe. 

The first was Igreja de São Roque, the first Jesuit church in Portugal, in all of its gilded glory. 

Contrast that with Igreja de São Domingos. This is a place that has lived and you can see it in its walls.

Now, that we're done thinking...What happens to be across the street from church? Booze! I had my first of what would be many shots of ginjinha (sour cherry liquor) over the next few days.

Who drinks this stuff? Old dudes and tourists. Yes, that guy is begging for money outside.
€1.35 gets you a shot with or without cherries. With, please!

A little more wandering brought me to Elevador de Santa Justa. The line was way too long so I skipped out on going up to see the view. The elevator may remind you of another famous structure because it was designed by an apprentice of Gustav Eiffel.

Rounding out the day was a sighting of two guys making a Post-It note mural at the modern art museum, 

As I closed out my afternoon, I settled for this view from Miradouro de Sao Pedro de Alcantara. Not too shabby and much more tranquil than I imagine Elevador de Santa Justa being.

Finally, I'll leave you with some street art from the streets of Lisboa.

I'll be venturing out of the city center to the old part of Lisbon next. 

Rua Nova da Trindade 20 C
2715-311 Lisboa

A Ginjinha
Largo Sao Domingos 8
1150 Lisboa 

You might also like:
Portugal: Part 2 - Kicking it old school in Belem
Portugal: Part 3 - Cold and Rainy in Sintra
Portugal: Part 4 - The Rest

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