It is Sunday, and we are in Lisbon. As many of you know, we like Lisbon a great deal. It is early afternoon and it is bright and sunny outside our hotel, Memmo Alfama. It is located in the Alfama district, which is perhaps the oldest part of Lisbon. There are traces that go from the Phoenicians to the Romans to the Visigoths to the Moors, and, of course, the Portuguese.
I am going to try to cover about 2.5 days quickly so we can get back to walking around Lisbon. Thus, the pictures may do some of the “talking” for me.
On Friday we were still in Seville and we realized that once again we didn’t see everything we would like to. For example, we had planned to re-visit the fine arts museum, but we just could not make the time.
In the morning we went to Gusto restaurant, which is just across the street from the Cathedral, for a relaxed breakfast. In the afternoon we made a visit to the Royal Alcazar. We visit each time we are in Seville because there is always something new to discover. This time I found an exhibit about tiles and their history in Seville. Patricia spent time in the gardens. It was the warmest day of the week and there were lots of people in the Alcazar, but it did not feel crowded. There were lots of workers preparing the extensive gardens for spring, although there is already a lot of green. I was able to get some good pictures, some of which I take each time we visit. Sooner or later I will get them “right.”
This time, I tried getting the colors in the tapestries and tiles.
In the evening we walked to the Santa Cruz district to see a flamenco performance at Casa de la Guitarra. They have a museum of sorts there that contains guitars gong back as far as 1830. Many of the guitars were used by famous flamenco artists. The performance stage was quite small and we even wondered if there was room for a dancer. We had made our reservation a long time ago so we were seated in the first row and were only a couple of feet from the stage. We enjoyed this performance, as we have enjoyed all the flamenco we have seen, but this one was particularly enjoyable. The guitarra was outstanding, the cantaor was very good (and very young), and the bailaora was great. As an added feature, before each number the performers gave some background on the piece explaining what it was called, what its background was, and something about the compás (the rhythm). I was pleased that I actually understood most of it.
For dinner we walked back to the end of Sierpes street and went to a Mexican food restaurant that we visited last time we were in Seville. They serve their food in tapas style and we sampled four different dishes. Our waiter was the same one we had last time and he remembered our discussion about his visit to Albuquerque.
On Saturday we transitioned from Seville to Lisbon. We got a taxi (nobody says “cab” here) at Alfafa plaza and Patricia thinks we never exceeded 35 miles an hour all the way to the airport. It made the trip seem longer than it actually is. We were early and had to wait to check in for quite some time and, trust me, waiting in the relatively small Seville airport is not interesting. After getting our gate assignment, and after a hassle getting through security—they wanted to see and check every wire and battery I had—we went to our gate to wait for boarding. It’s a small airport. You would think there was only one gate “3” but you would be wrong. As boarding time approached, Patricia began to wonder where our fellow passengers were. There was no one else in the waiting area and no plane, either. After taking another look at the boarding pass, we saw that our gate was not “3”, but “K3” which turns out to be a gate for small aircraft. But we did make it and after an hour’s flight, arrived in Lisbon. It wouldn’t be the last thing I got wrong on Saturday.
Our hotel in Lisbon is called Memmo Alfama and it is quite nice. It is not a large hotel and it is situated with a good view of the Tagus river. It has an rooftop patio, which is unusual in this area. We spent time there while we waited for our room. It was a very pleasant way for us to spend our first couple of hours in Lisbon. The room is comfortable but after being in apartments for the past couple of weeks it seems a little small. Fortunately, we have a room with a terrace and a table and chairs right outside that has the same good view of the area as the patio.
While Patricia was taking a rest, I decided to walk to the Clube de Fado, where we were going for dinner and music later on. It is an easy walk. In fact, it is such an easy walk that I thought I might do some additional exploring. The outward bound leg was fine, but I decided to find an alternate way back to the hotel. Bad plan; in fact, not even a plan at all. I figured that with my famous ability not to get lost, I would be back in no time. About 2 hours later I was about to give up. What I hadn’t counted on was the Alfama has had more than 2,000 years to perfect streets that never go straight for any distance and which change names every 10 steps. Why didn’t you use the GPS on your phone, I can hear you asking. I did. But the narrow, curved streets with buildings that are 2 or 3 stories high effectively blocked the satellite signals. I saw a lot of the district. Well, I would have seen a lot if it hadn’t gone from evening to full dark. Did I mention that I was out without a jacket or identification? No? Patricia knew and was justifiably concerned.
I did get back in time for us to go to Clube de Fado. It really is a short walk there and back. Our dinner was not particularly good, I am sorry to say, but I will say the maître d‘ made everything right. We did hear good music. The way it works at places like this is that they serve for a while, then there is a short set of music, more serving and so on. We were there for a little more than 3 hours and heard 4 different fado singers.
The buffet breakfast at Memmo Alfama is good. Plenty to choose from and all good quality. The way the eating area is spread out, it did not feel crowded.
After breakfast we went on a hotel-arranged walk around the Alfama district with a guide. For two hours we went from place to place to learn about the district. Not surprisingly, we went by many places I had visited in my perambulations last night. It was better with the guide. There were 6 of us plus the guide so we could ask questions and he could tell us a lot. It was a very good tour and I would recommend it to anyone who stays here.
Whew! 1200 words in an hour and a half. Time for some pictures.
I added pictures to the Seville pictures page. I put them at the front of the gallery so you don’t have to scroll too far to see new items.
I started adding pictures to the Lisbon pictures page.