Sunday afternoon we walked from the hotel to Rossio Square, one of the important squares in the city. We were on our way to the Hard Rock Café. We visit there each time we are in Lisbon. We go for the food and not the noisy atmosphere.
When we got close to the square we could see a large crowd and hear band music. We tried to think what could be going on and came up with nothing. When we made our way through the crowd, we could see there was a religious procession. There were people in religious garb and at least one statue of Christ carrying a cross was being carried by a number of men. People walking in the procession were carrying candles and there were groups of Boy and Girl Scouts and what looked like school kids. Oddly, the music came from what looked like a military marching band. Dressed in military uniforms, their music was quite good. I could not find any information about what was being celebrated. [On Tuesday, our guide told us that the procession was part of Lent.]
We had a good meal at the Hard Rock. We have been to many of their locations, from Stockholm to Singapore and to quite a few in the U.S. Each has its own ambiance, but they all share one thing: noise. The Lisbon facility in no exception.
Monday morning we decided to walk to Sr. Fado, the place we planned to go Monday night to see more fado. After getting there, we decided to use a taxi to get back and forth. More about that in a bit.
We then walked around in Alfama for a while and discovered that many of the shops were closed because it was Monday. More about that in a bit.
We found a good gelato store so we made our choices and sat on the steps of the Lisbon Se, one of the two cathedrals in Lisbon. There were many tourists in the area because the Se is a big attraction. It was a nice day and everyone seemed to be happy. Things were so relaxed that tourists were getting the local police to take pictures for them.
We spent time in the cathedral. It, like so many other churches in this part of the world, is built on the site of a mosque. I like this cathedral in part because it is not too ornate. Its construction started in 1147 and it survived several earthquakes, including the big one in 1755. It has been modified several times and it is a mix of styles. It has lots of stained glass and the sun really illuminated the glass. The last time we were there someone played the large organ, but no such luck this time.
We were going to spend part of the afternoon sitting on our terrace enjoying the sun and moderate temperatures. However, when we went outside we were met by a gust of wind that deposited our chairs one terrace over. That was the end of that plan. Instead we sat in a more sheltered place out of the wind.
I mentioned ordering a taxi to get to Senor Fado from our hotel. Well, we did that. At 8:15 the taxi arrived. When we told the driver where we wanted to go, he looked at us with a puzzled face: Monday, closed!! He was sure the fado place was closed. But how could that be? I had an email from the hotel saying that we had a reservation. After discussion with the hotel stafff we agreed that Senor Fado was indeed closed. We had to pay the taxi driver anyhow, since we had ordered a ride. Rats! It looked like we weren’t going to see any fado Monday night. But… in discussing the problem with the man helping us, we discovered that the mix-up with the reservation was caused by the hotel thinking our first choice of a venue was closed. Not so! we found out. It had just changed location–sort of like how the streets change. We were able to get a last minute table and we walked to Fado em Si. A 10-minute walk that ended up being on the [literal] other side of the old city wall that forms one of the walls of our hotel.
We had a good meal there and heard good fado. The restaurant was nice and Patricia and I both enjoyed our food. We were very close to the performers—4 singers over the course of 3 hours–and I was able to get some pictures.
Even though our initial plans for the evening did not work out, we still saw/heard good fado.