20 Years From Now...

"20 YEARS FROM NOW," Mark Twain said, “you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than the ones you did.”THIS online journal is dedicated to our next 20 years!

Monday, 20 March 2017

A Return to Lisbon

We knew from our initial (and all too short) visit last year that we wanted to spend more time in Lisbon and earlier this month we did just that. Flying from Boston to Lisbon via TAP Portugal was an easy and enjoyable five-hour flight. We arrived at 7:15 in the morning and by 9:00 am had settled into our cozy Airbnb flat

Located on Rua da Prata this fifth floor flat is literally in the middle of everything.  To view the google map click on this link: https://goo.gl/maps/gc15v832v4J2.

It is not unusual for older building in Europe to not have elevators, so when we're looking for accommodation we focus on rentals that do. As it turns out the elevator in this building did not quite reach the top but we only had a few additional steps to climb.

Being located at the very top of the building meant slanted ceilings and two skylights.

White and blue tile detailing adorned the living area (shown above) as well as the bedroom.

The kitchen provided every conceivable appliance, including a washing machine. It's another item we look for in a weekly rental. (Few have dryers, but all have foldable racks.) 

Our first day in Lisbon was a quiet one as neither of us slept on the plane. For the first time in a great many trans-Atlantic flights we listened to our inner clocks, climbed into bed and got some much needed rest. By mid afternoon we were refreshed and headed outside. Within a few feet of our building are two main squares. Below is Rossio Square. It's always teaming with tourists and locals alike.

It's also lined with shops. Everything from ginja (Portuguese sweet cherry liqueur) bars to shoe stores, clothing shops, restaurants and sidewalk cafes. There are even pastry shops featuring our favourite pastel da nata tarts. And yes, in case you're wondering, YES!, we ate our fair share of pastels during our week in Lisbon. :)

The next day we headed to the National Tile Museum. It was the number one thing we wanted to do this time around and we loved every minute and every tile.

There were so many tiles, in fact, that to do it justice requires a separate future post, but here's a sneak peak.

On the walk back to our flat we strolled along narrow sidewalks that hugged stone walls.

Facing forward
Looking Back

I have no idea why, but clothing hanging to dry just seems to add so much to a street scene.

Tuk-tuks are everywhere in Lisbon and although we didn't rent one they are a great way to explore the city and always include a local guide as driver. 

Another day we visited the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga (National Museum of Ancient Art). The exterior and artifacts may be old, but the interior is definitely modern looking.

Exhibits ranged from exquisite furniture designed and made for royalty to sculptures and paintings destined for churches and cathedrals. The inlaid detailing on this writing desk made of redwood, rosewood, walnut and other woods circa 1575- 1599 is surprisingly modern.

Meanwhile the paintings were equally ornate.

St. Anne and the Virgin, c. 1350

This next shot gives an idea of the scale of some of the paintings. These six alter pieces in the centre were painted by Gregorio Lopes circa 1535-1540.

The next couple of paintings by Garcia Fernandes are exquisite in both detail, colour and composition.

The soft blue of the angels wings along with the detailing of his robe looked so realistic.

If only I could read latin...

Carpet and fabric folds illustrating the skill of the painter.

Statues made of stone and wood were equally breathtaking.

Virgin Mary, limestone, 1475 - 1500
Mary and St. John the Baptist, beechwood, circa 1501-1525
Virgin and Child, baked clay, circa 1475-1505
This next painting of a half-figure of Christ is intriguing in that it was painted circa 1470 as part of the alter piece of St. Vincent for the Lisbon Cathedral, yet is anatomically correct which was not the norm for this time period and overall is surprisingly modern in its approach. If someone told me it had been painted in the 20th century I would have bought it hook, line and sinker.

Last but not least is this triptych by one of my favourite artists Hieronymus Bosch. To quote John he was "one strange dude"!

Midway through our day at the National Museum of Ancient Art we headed to the cafeteria for lunch and while they offer indoor seating we opted to sit outside in the garden.

In the next photo, off in the distance, is Christ the Redeemer inspired by the one in Rio.

Lisbon is one of those cities that feels comfortable and welcoming while offering so many lovely things to do, see and explore. Any wonder it is one of our favourite European destinations. 

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