Lisbon, Portugal, Thursday, December 1, 2016

Yesterday I made it successfully from Faro north here to Lisbon, where I will stay until I fly back to Phoenix next Tuesday. I am staying in a small place called the Lisboa Art Hostel. Here is a picture I snapped last evening of some of the others. The man in the foreground is Flynn from Ireland, and the other two are a couple from Scotland who are working in a call center in Lisbon and are between apartments.

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Flynn is a history teacher in Ireland, and quite knowledgeable about world events. He was steadily drinking sangria, and the more he drank, the more his knowledge poured fourth, even going into detail about the fighting tactics of the Mongol hordes who overran most of the known world under Gengis Khan. He went through two of the large bottles like the one sitting on the table, and you can probably see the effects in his face.

The weather here is no better than it was in Spain. Yesterday it was gloomy with light rain falling at times. The forecast for today and tomorrow is for more rain. The chilly, wet weather does damp the spirits.

You can see the cloudy sky in the following photograph of the Portuguese Military Museum. I have not yet been inside the museum–I plan to go today–but Flynn has visited it and tells me it is mainly an exhibit of old cannons.

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To get around Lisbon, you have to do a lot of walking up and down hills, often on very narrow streets, but at times on paths suitable only for pedestrians. Frequently the paths are so steep that they include stairs, as show below. Notice that the area to the right of the stairs has been paved with small, cut stones. This type of paving is common in Lisbon.

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I took the following picture, because of the designs on the building framed by the narrow passageway. Considerable Moorish influence is evident even today in the decoration of buildings on the Iberian Peninsula. The Moors believe that it was a sin to depict a human form in art, so they developed intricate geometric designs to decorate their buildings.

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The Moors also used decorated tiles as adornment, and that tradition continues in modern Portugal and Spain. The building in the photograph below is covered with tiles. the windows of the upper storeys open like doors to small balconies, which is also typical. However, the main reason I took this photo is because of the tent huddled against the building. It appears to be the dwelling of a homeless person. I have seen very few people living in the streets in this trip to Portugal and Spain, unlike Phoenix, Arizona where I live and the number of people sleeping outdoors is growing.

The graffiti on the wall on the left spoils the picture.

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I am a cyclist, and I know that some of the people who read this blog are, as well, so here’s a picture of a small Lisbon bicycle shop near to where I am staying. I went inside and looked at the bikes. There was one bicycle that could be used as an entry-level road-racing bike, but the others were more practical commuting machines with straight handlebars. For being such a small shop, it must do a good business, because there were a number of potential customers inside.

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I suppose I will be out and about today despite the rain showers that are forecast. Today would be a good day to spend inside museums and out of the rain.