Lisboa

I’ll blog about Barcelona another day, but today we walked around lovely, calm Lisbon. When we checked into our hotel last night, the front-desk receptionist showed us a city map and pointed to the Alfama neighborhood, saying that it has the oldest buildings because it wasn’t damaged by the earthquake. Earthquake? Laurel knew what she was talking about because she’s currently reading Candide by Voltaire which/who talks about the 1755 quake. Most of the city was destroyed, and tens of thousands died. Voltaire was in Lisboa at the time and mocks the Church’s response to it. The Catholic Church blamed Lisbon’s sinfulness for bringing the wrath of God upon it and sent representatives to roam the city, looking for heretics to hang or burn on the spot.
As with most of Europe, there aren’t many churchgoers here today, but the city still shuts down on Sundays. Some restaurants are open though, and we ate a tasty brunch nearby served by a Brazilian waitress who appreciated our use of Portuguese, although limited to a few words. Just as the Inuit have many words for snow, the Portuguese have many words to express gratitude. Women say, “Obrigada;” men say, “Obrigado.” They also have different words depending on your level of thankfulness and your relationship to the addressee.
Below are photos of some of the beautiful, tiled homes we saw on our walk as well as a bridge that looks like the Golden Gate Bridge which was designed by the American company that built the Oakland Bay Bridge. Lisbon doesn’t face due east across the Atlantic; it’s a sheltered harbor on the Tejo River that starts in Spain and flows 1008 km before emptying into the Atlantic near here. The triumphal arch in the photos was begun in 1755 just after the earthquake but wasn’t completed until the late 1800’s.

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