Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Lost in the Alfama

After the Sintra adventure, we needed a quiet day.   Jon and Ian went off on their own and I took the other kids for a walk into the Alfama, the oldest neighborhood in Lisbon, with a labyrinth of narrow streets.

First stop was the Cathedral Se, on which construction began in 1147 and was finished about 200 years later. Somehow this church and the Alfama were not destroyed in the earthquake of 1755, of which you'll hear later.  In Rome, I delighted in popping into every church I saw, and each one was a surprise of stunning art and decoration.  In Lisbon, the churches are more austere, but beautiful in their own way.

If this were Italy, we'd be looking at marble and frescos, but there's something compelling about the stark gray stone.  Rounded arches, class.  What does that tell you?

I was attempting to follow a route specified in my guidebook, but we had difficulty finding a street that we needed and trudged up and down the same narrow alley, past the same locals in the cafes at least four times, until someone took pity on us and helped us find the way.

I liked the line up of lemon trees on these balconies.

A "street" in the Alfama.

And a view.  The river is the Tagus and it was a helpful landmark for us.  Whenever we were lost, we would just head for the river and walk along it to a certain street we recognized that led to our apartment--which is what we had to do on this particular walk.  Grace and Brigid loved to walk to the waterfront and hang out by themselves.

This guy appears to be hanging on for dear life.

This was also a laundry day.  I love, love, love these balcony clotheslines that everybody has here.  Lisbon is very damp in the winter, so even on a day without rain, it takes hours for your clothes to dry, but when you bring them inside, they smell like the sea.

A quiet night in playing the sketchbook game.


  1. You take the best pictures. Thank you for posting and letting me vicariously enjoy your trip--I need to get away today!

  2. I love pretty churches.

  3. What is the best thing you have eaten there?

  4. Laoch, the best thing I ate there was the scallops with foie gras, apricot preserves, and apples.