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Published: April 6th 2018
Another busy day for the jani! Today, we decided to do a walking tour of Lisbon, thanks to our best buddy, Rick Steves, and a set of headphones. It was cool because, not only did we see a lot, but we learned about the history of the area. I can tell you, that the 1755 earthquake-tsunami-fire that devastated the city was a reboot for Lisbon. It is as if the entire city changed their whole life philosophy. Housing, churches, and government were altered to most efficiently get back on its feet. The city center was laid out in grids, with a design including universal five story live work units. Very walkable! Thanks to the Marquis of Pombal for getting us back to our new urbanist roots.
Our walk took us through various neighborhoods, each with their own personality. City Center Baixa with its pedestrian mosaic avenues, shops, and outdoor cafes, was a great start. Oooo, lunch! A couple blocks later, Confeitaria Nacional, a pastry shop since 1829. Oooo, coffee and a snack! Couple more blocks to Rossio and Lisbon's first Ginjinha Bar. Oooo, sour cherry liqueur break! Oldest beerhall/former monastery in Bairro Alto, and a beer! Port Wine Institute closed
today...whaaat? Glass of wine at Cafe a Brasileira in Chiado, one of the oldest cafes in the city, while listening to street performers. You get the picture.
We also lit candles at quite a few beautiful churches. Church of Sao Domingo still shows the crumbling, cracked pillars and burn stained walls from centuries of earthquakes and fires. Sao Roque Church, its mirror opposite, is as opulent as could possibly be. Inside is the gold laden Chapel of John the Baptist, which was originally built in Rome, used once, then moved to its current home in the 1700's. The "paintings" are actually amazing mosaics. Finally, the roofless ruins of Convento do Carmo, stands as a monument to the tens of thousands who lost their lives in 1755.
Shopping, cafes, nightclubs, busy streets, quiet streets, parks, plazas...the list goes on. To paraphrase Dr Seuss, Oh the places we'll go!!
ps, interesting pastry story: Why are there so many sweet shops? Answer: The nuns needed the egg whites to starch their wimples and didn't want to waste the yolks. The sugar from Brazil was plentiful. Ta-dah! Custard and all of its sweetie friends. Yum!
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