Sunday, November 01, 2015

As we bid a fond farewell...

 It was a fun four days in Lisbon but my vacation continues as I fly across Portugal and land at Sevilla to begin exploring Spain.

My impressions of Lisboa, as they spell/say it there, includes their long love affair with tiles.

Not just the red roof tiles - which are gorgeous - but old and new decorative tiles, that decorate many building walls and form huge murals inside the National Palace at nearby Sintra.

Walking tours take you around the historic district down by the harbor as you head up and down hilly streets.

Eventually you end up high on a hill, looking down from the Palicio de S. Jorge, the fortress-like structure to the east.

The Palicio link has a lot of information about this elevated observation location.

A scenic and interesting ride up in a cab, looking through a folder, and a great alternative to hiking.

Found another high spot 30 minutes by train in Sintra.

Looked up at the Moorish Castle fortress and then hopped a tram for a ride up there to walk around.

And, of course, to take photos looking down at the valley, large wind farms off in the distance and the overall view of the elaborate National Palace of Sintra.

Clambering on the Castle was a challenge - not nearly enough safety handrails -  to keep from tumbling down for a nasty fall. Or worse.

But we were cautious and watched our footing so no mishaps.

I felt sorry for parents with curious, excited, energetic and non-tiring children who were scampering up and down the narrow steps.

There were higher towers that probably did not improve the view of the valley very much, so didn't venture up steps that became even more narrow.

Running children added to the decision to not go higher but to find a spot for picture-taking.

Looking down at the National Palace gave a better feeling of how large and spread out it was.

The two white "inverted ice cream cones" on the right turned out to be chimneys for the over-sized kitchen.

The tour up and through the many rooms demonstrated the Portuguese love of decorative tiles.

Many large 20-foot high murals depicted hunting scenes.

And other activities were made entirely of the shiny-surfaced tiles.

Did I mention there is quite a history of making and using these tiles.

In fact, we were cautioned NOT to buy any in shops as souvenirs.

They either are fake or were stolen off buildings, which is a criminal offense. Yikes!

The guides said this is the oldest Portuguese palace, composed of different sections corresponding to distinct building campaigns.

It originates from the primitive palace built by the "Wallis," who were the Moorish governors of Sintra (10th century.)

Not that far away, actually overlooking the Palace and the Moorish Castle, was the "completely different" Palace of Pena.

Sort of a Disneyland-on-drugs place described as the exuberant creation of Ferninand of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, consort of queen Maria II.

It would be an understatement to call it the most striking example of romantic architecture in the country, notable for its eclectic decorative style.

More like an outrageous ad for Dutch Boy Paint's many colors. Or even Sherwin Williams "covering the world" concept.

Wow!... does not come even close.

Just as bright as the red roof tiles in downtown Lisboa, these various primary colors mix and clash in a pleasant - though outlandish - manner.

Yes, my camera and I were very pleased.

The challenge was to turn a corner and NOT take another startling shot. LOL

When I was in the Marines, our "colors" were scarlet and gold (well, red & yellow). I accepted that.

But had never seen them on such a large scale as this before.

It was explained the colorful Palace was built by the brother of King Ludwig II of Bavaria, who's Schloss Neuschwanstein is a pretty neat structure, sedate and much larger.

This brother wanted to outdo that one.

And, the Bavarian king  is called"Mad Ludwig?!"

Returning to downtown Lisbon, we heard the frequent roar of passing Tuk Tuk vehicles.

I add even more praise to outgoing Mayor Joe Riley for banning them in the Holy City.

Sounds like a combo leaf blower, lawn mower and a jet ski.

 These noisy public conveyances stopped conversation when they clattered by.

But, again, maybe the visitors were tired from walking so much.

And carried ear plugs.

I knew that Lisbon was the westernmost port city in Europe and was able to sample many seafood dishes.

Saw squid on the menu a lot but kept on reading. The local shrimp are huge and served with heads still on.

These I enjoyed. We Charlestonians know how to peel-and-eat.

Had a salmon filet a few times - once smoked rather than baked. Not really that bad, I found.

Finally I ordered a fish in a place way off the tourist track.
It was next to the harbor and I looked forward to it

When it was served, it looked back at me.

Well, you do pay for the whole fish.

It was delicious.

I have dealt with fried flounder at restaurants in Charleston more than once.

So I knew how to extract the moist meat with a minimum of bones.

You travel for new experiences.

That's what I kept telling myself.

(Click on the photos - and links - for more details.)

Thanks for coming along as I re-trace my stops on last month's vacation trip to Portugal and Spain.

A few more tiles shots. Much more to come. Burp.

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At Sun Nov 01, 08:04:00 PM , Blogger Joan Perry said...

You are having way too much fun! These pictures are beautiful!

At Wed Nov 04, 05:06:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting architecture made all the more pronounced by the inverse nature of the colours. (Cathy)

At Sun Nov 08, 07:08:00 AM , Blogger Ian May said...

An interesting tour. Must go there myself

At Fri Jul 15, 06:53:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've really piqued my interest now. Ready for the trip!!---David Gentry


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