This is a very short post to quickly report on our last day in Lisbon and our last night before we return home.
Today was a day without “negative” adventures—that’s a good thing. We had the nice buffet in the Britannia. We walked down to Rossio Square in bright sun and moderate temperatures. In fact, the weather all day was very nice with only a small bit of haze that made some of the pictures look like there was a cloud cover.
We took one of the many tour buses that took us through the Alfama district and up to near the Castle of St. George (Castelo se Sao Jorge) and the Cathedral of Lisbon (the Se). We found our way to the castle and walked its grounds for a while because it is a great overlook of the city. You can easily see why someone would build a castle/defensive position here because it commands a wide view and the approaches would be relatively easy to defend and hard to attack. There has been a lot of damage here due to earthquakes over the years and the castle itself is only partially restored with mostly only the walls and courtyards intact. We climbed the walls and I walked all around the [existing] battlements. We sat in the cool gardens and had some ice cream before looking for the cathedral.
To get there, we walked some narrow streets back down towards Alfama. The cathedral was begun in 1147 just after the Moors were politely asked to vacate the city and to depart for Morocco. The site just happens to be where the largest mosque in the city used to stand, but I am sure that is just a coincidence. Even though the building was built in the style current in the 12th century, the rebuilding over the intervening centuries has added new styles, so there isn’t just one “look” inside. There is a very pleasant interior with a few stained glass windows. It contains the grave of the famous explorer Vasco de Gama—which we didn’t see. I don’t know enough about organs to tell you how old this one is, but it has pipes and “horns” sticking out over the main altar. While we were there someone was playing the organ. Sometimes there were long passages, but often there were just short phrases, as if the person was practicing. It was nice to just sit there and listen in the dim light.
We left the cathedral and hiked back to a place where we could pick up the tour bus. On the way back to Rossio Square, we passed the [reputed] place where St. Anthony was born. I only mention this because when I was in Padua I visited a large church dedicated to him. In Italy they somehow forgot to mention that before he got to Padua he was raised in Portugal and preached in Morocco.
I am not including any pictures in this post because it is after 8:00 pm (or 20h00 as they would say here) and we have to finish packing and try to get a little sleep. We have to leave the hotel tomorrow at 3:30 to catch a 6:00 flight to Paris and on to the U.S.
But if you go to the Pictures page and scroll down to the bottom there are 20-some pictures from yesterday and today in Lisbon.