Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Lisbon, Portugal

Oops! I completely forgot about the Lisbon post. Truthfully, it may be because Lisbon didn't make that much of an impression on me as you will read in the travelogue email I sent home below. We stopped in Portugal before heading up to Bordeaux in France which of course makes geographical sense.

It seemed to me that Portugal hasn't really caught up with the rest of Western Europe in terms of their tourist marketing despite the fact that they must surely offer just as many cultural and historical treasures as the other countries. I might go back again however, after researching exactly where to go and what to see. My time here was a bit rushed unfortunately.

I found the port of Lisbon something of a disappointment. I'm not sure whether it was the gray weather, the fact that we were pressed for time or that the city itself seemed rundown and dirty to me that gave an overall depressing atmosphere to the Portuguese capital. As our resident Hungarian guitarist onboard described it "Lisbon is like an aging beauty, she looks better in the dark." We happened to be there on the eve of the feast of Sao Antonio, a national holiday in Portugal. This feast day is usually preceded by wild parties and colorful parades the night before all of which I missed because I was stuck onboard singing a "Broadway Under the Stars" concert on the pool deck for those passengers who remained on the ship.

The next day I was able to get into town and snap a few pictures. The are: Placo do Comercio (Commercial Square), a photo of Corinne (one of the other singers) and myself in Placo do Comercio, World Cup fever grips Portugal as a cafe owner sets up his flatscreen TV and hangs the Portuguese flag outside, one of the streets of the shopping district with the towers of the 12th Century Se Catedral in the distance. (This is one of the few remaining pieces of old architecture left in Lisbon as much of the city was destroyed and rebuilt after a devastating earthquake in 1710) and finally, Lisbon borrows some landmarks from other famous cities, namely a statue of
Christ much like the one in Rio De Janeiro and a suspension bridge across the bay modeled after San Francisco's Golden Gate.



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