I landed in Lisbon (aka Lisboa) today. Well, the flight and landing weren’t exactly all up to me. A plane and its crew were a tremendous help in that. But I stowed my table and buckled my seatbelt at the appropriate moments. So, there’s that. It’s not like I didn’t do my bit.
When I got to my hotel, I met up with my brother, who arrived in Lisbon last night. We then went out for lunch because, hey, world travellers gotta eat, don’t ya know?
We both ordered the restaurant’s house specialty, a seafood paella. And we had some wine because world travellers can’t live by paella alone, don’t ya know?
A good friend of mine (you know who you are) complained that I never write about food in these pages. There. That complaint’s taken care of. Let’s not hear any more of that. OK?
A Walk in Lisbon
After lunch, my brother and I went for a walk. You can see a few pictures from that walk on this page.
Much of the walk was along the street in front of our hotel, Avenida de Liberdade. It’s a beautiful street. A few lanes of traffic run down its centre. Wide, well-treed pedestrian boulevards sit on either side of the traffic lanes. Beyond the pedestrian boulevards, toward the outer edges of the street, lie lanes for parking and local traffic. Beyond those are sidewalks, and then the buildings that line the street.
The avenue is so well treed that from a room facing the street and a few floors above it, such as the rooms that both my brother and I have, the street doesn’t look like a street. It looks like a park.
There’s a traffic circle at one end of Avenida de Liberdade. In the middle of the traffic circle is a giant, imposing statue dedicated to Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, the 1st Marquis of Pombal. The Marquis was a high mucky-muck, i.e., Prime Minister, of Portugal back in the day. “The day” being 1750 to 1777. He was credited with directing the reconstruction of a section of Lisbon after a major earthquake in 1755.
Beyond Marquis of Pombal Square (or, more accurately, circle), we walked through a park that climbs up a hill. Its top provides a gorgeous view of the city and the water beyond. My picture below doesn’t come anywhere close to doing the view justice. What can I say? I’m not a great photographer.
So, what are you going to do? Sue me for not doing the view justice? Hah. See you in court. I’ll be the one sitting in the back row, looking sheepishly a the floor, hoping no one notices me.
In the park and on some side streets on the way to it, we saw some beautiful flowering trees. The flowers were exactly the colour of lilac flowers. But they didn’t look like the flowers on lilac bushes other than in their colour. They were beautiful. Which is not to say that lilac bushes can’t also be beautiful. I checked the relevant regulations and I am confident that they are both allowed to be beautiful simulaneously.
I have no idea what kind of tree it was.
After our walk, we came back to our hotel for an aperitif. And then we had dinner.
For my dinner starter I had “foie gras grapes.” These were oblong balls of foie gras pâté encased in purple jelly. This made them look like grapes. They were delicious.
My main course was a seafood stew. Seafood is a specialty here, so I’ll probably eat a lot of it during this trip. The stew was cooked in a cataplana pot to, according to the waiter, enhance the flavour. Don’t ask me how the pot does that. But, the dish was yummy.
The waiter brought the stew to the table in the pot and then served it from there onto my plate. So, I can confirm that it was cooked in a pot. And I can also confirm that the waiter called it a cataplana pot. Don’t ask me what makes a cataplana pot a cataplana pot. I haven’t a clue. Ambitious readers can probably find the answer via a Google search. Then there’s me, a lazy bum who isn’t going to bother to look it up.
Before coming to Portugal, I read that cataplana is a local specialty. Hence, my choice.
Damn. That’s twice in a single post that I talked about food for my friend. I just give, and give, and give.
One more thing …
And, finally today, there’s this:
That’s what my keyboard typed when my head fell on it because of mind-deadening exhaustion due to getting only a couple of hours of sleep on the plane over here meant I couldn’t hold my head up any longer.
So, that’s it for today.
Yay! A post! I was reading breathlessly, wondering how long you were going to keep going, considering you just got there after a transatlantic flight. I experienced both a liberal dash of gaping admiration, and a sliver of shivers wondering when you were going to fall over. Salivating over the food and agog at those gorgeous trees. Can’t wait for tomorrow’s great adventure. Say hello to the brother. He’ll know who it is.