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Published: June 18th 2018
What today offered was a deeper insight into the cultural history of the people of Lisbon. We joined a small walking tour for 2.5 hours and in that time walked many a kilometre, climbed and descended hundreds of steps, wound our way through narrow lanes and alleys, viewed and listened to the local people going about their daily lives as well as absorbing what our guide was telling us about the suburbs of Mouraria, the most multiethnic neighbourhood in the city and still very authentically, Lisbon, and also the birthplace of Fado, and Alfama, meaning ‘hot fountains‘ or ‘hot baths’ and is the oldest district of Lisbon spreading on the slope of between the Sao Jorge Castle and the Tagus River the part of the old city we toured through.
These suburbs are definitely poor but there is a soul about them that you can feel the spirit of the people. Small eateries abound, small souvenir shops are many, tiny goods shops that ‘only’ the locals know about are scattered through, disrepair and graffiti surrounds you, people scraping out a living abound and all were willing to engage in friendly conversation. Character lines on the faces of the older people
showed that they had endured and seen much. Music from serious buskers permeated the air and one could not ‘just-walk-by’ without stopping to listen, applaud and drop a few coins. We enjoyed this time immensely, commenting, as we always do, that we wouldn’t have found and learned about these places and their history without doing the guided walking tour. One only pays the guides on these walking tours what you think they were worth. We haven’t had a poor one yet. Their livelihood depends on them delivering.
We continued on going to the Metro for the first time to take us to the Avenida da Liberdade to walk its length up and back and to enjoy the 7 rows of large and fully foliaged trees lining the avenue. A hot day made cool by the trees shade and the cooling breeze flowing down the avenue. We have truly seen, experienced and enjoyed much in our too short a stay in Lisbon.
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