Thursday, February 11, 2016

Living La Vida Lisbon – Erich

When and why we decided to include Portugal in our visit, I'm not sure. But I'm glad we did. Because even though we have not had the best of weather or luck in Lisbon, we have greatly enjoyed the city.

We arrived on Monday afternoon. It was sunny and nice. But it was also the day before Shrove Tuesday, and so that night we had a difficult time finding somewhere to eat. Many things are closed during the run up to Shrove Tuesday. Not our most auspicious start, right? But I did see a fire hydrant, and, like in Marrakech, since it was different than I'm used to, I had to take a picture of it.
I know, it's just a fire hydrant. Get over it, Erich.
On Shrove Tuesday itself, we visited the main part of Lisbon and enjoyed the science museum very much. They have done a fabulous job in using all the parts of it brilliantly.

For the most part, many people in Lisbon do speak English. We try to speak in Portugese, or really more in broken Spanish that is similar to Portugese. But as soon as they realize we are English speakers, most everyone speaks English. In fact at both museums we visited in Lisbon, most of the exhibit signage was in both Portugese and English.

Back to the narrative. The weather started getting rough. The tiny ship was tossed. Oh, wait. It wasn't that rough, but it did start to change. Now, this is winter, but it isn't really winter. More like spring to us. Still, it became overcast and even rainy. No problem, right?

Well, luck wasn't with us, because one of our number started to run a fever, and Wednesday was spent at home in recovery mode.

But that leads us to Thursday. And Thursday was a beautiful day. Well, not weather wise. The rain and clouds still hung about. But, undeterred, we set out.

Lisbon is along the Teja River where it flows into the Atlantic Ocean. Along the riverfront are beautiful walkways, bike paths, restaurants, and museums. On Thursday we visited the Museum of Electricity. It's built into a former power plant. So you can see much of the equipment that was used to make electricity. This was a coal power plant. There are videos and exhibits that show the steps in the process of making electricity and transmitting it. There is also a section dedicated to the many scientists of all nations who made major contributions to the study of electricity. And there is a good section about renewable forms of electricity generation.

After that, we ate at a trendy little cafe along the water. For some of us, the food wasn't exactly what we expected. But we tried new things. Both Syarra and I had the Sopa Alho Frances, or the French Garlic soup. It was very good, seemed kind of like a potato soup. But what surprised me greatly was that I hardly noted the flavor of garlic. For a soup with garlic in the name, I expected a bit more of it.

Alrica tried the fish soup. I'm not sure how to best describe it, but it did have chunks of fish in it as well as macaroni. It was good.

We walked along the waterfront taking in the sights. Lisbon is on the north side of the river. But right across from it, on the south bank is a huge statue of Jesus. It's called Jesus Christ the King and was inspired by the Jesus the Redeemer statue of Rio de Janiero in Brazil. Now, the river is wide, but I did my best to get a picture of it.
It's far, but trust me, it's supposed to be Jesus.
The statue is very near a huge, red suspension bridge that spans the river. It's called Ponte 25 de Abril or the April 25th Bridge. The date is a reference to the Carnation Revolution of 1974, where a dictator was overthrown in Portugal. We crossed the bridge coming into Lisbon, and you are way high up. Plus, right under the road for cars there is a lower platform where trains can cross the river.
A view from a bridge? Or of a bridge. Or of the underside of a bridge.
Today we walked beneath the bridge. It's pylons are all painted with various sea life and bird life.
I would assume the original didn't include M&M
Yes, one of those birds is missing its head. Hey, I didn't paint it!
One other point of interest: I mentioned the walking and bike path along the riverfront. Well, there are white dots painted at regular intervals on that path. And as we walked we found out why. Look who some of the regulars are who use it!
Oh, the dots make so much sense now.
Sadly for Pacman, his nemeses seem to have made it to Lisbon too.
As if this weren't a great day already, in the evening, we headed out to Gelados Santini. Alrica had read that the Portugese take two things very, very seriously: coffee and ice cream. None of us are coffee drinkers (unless Carver is really good at hiding things from me.) But we do like ice cream.

Ice cream in Portugese is “sorvete”. But sometimes, the best ice cream places sell gelato instead of sorvete, just like in the States they sell gelato instead of ice cream. Well, we went to Gelados Santini, and it is true. The Portugese do take their ice cream very seriously.

Three out of four of our family all agreed that this was the best ice cream they had ever had in their lives. I was the only hold out, though I will admit, it was incredibly good.

But I think four out of four of our family would agree that even with a bit of germ infiltration and a lack of sunshine, Lisbon was still a wonderful place to spend a few days.

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