A Travellerspoint blog

A Taste of Turkey #1

Selcuk, Tire, Sirence, and Izmir

Selchuk and Izmir, Turkey
March 27 - April 2, 2011

Apologies for our absence from blogging. We've been busy :-) and internet connections have been too weak to upload pictures or, sometimes, even stay connected. I'm going to start with some blogs about our most recent country: Turkey, and then, later, in other blogs, swing back and do Italy and Greece.

We feel that we just had just a taste of Turkey--and want more. Why? Well, Turkey is so different with its mix of east/west; it has such an old and varied history (Greek and Roman occupation, Ottoman empire, and now secular Turkish Republic in a country that is about 95% Muslim), beautiful landscapes, seas and waterways, mosques and call to prayer songs, engaging and industrious people, ruins, art . . . I guess these are things to be found in many countries . . . nonetheless, we were especially intrigued and charmed by what we experienced in Turkey.

We ferried to Selcuk (pronounced "sel-chuck") from the island of Chios. Then we took a regular (big) bus and then a dolmas (shared taxi). The shared taxi are called dolmas because they are little and stuffed, just like the food item (stuffed grape leaves) of the same name. The dolmas are vans that take as many passengers as possible, usually waiting to leave until they are full, and if they are not full, trolling along the streets to pick up passengers before taking off. They stop along the route to pick up and drop off passengers. Pretty informal--when the seats are full passengers sit on the wheel-wells or stand.

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At the Selcuk bus station and inside the dolmas

One day we went to the village of Tire (pronounced "tee-ray") on a Tuesday: market day. I don't think this village gets many, if any, tourists. It seemed as if most of the streets were turned into the market--lined with vendors selling food, clothes, tools, appliances, household items . . . you name it. The streets would open up to squares where men sat at small tables smoking, drinking tea, and playing games, including Backgammon. Most of the women wore head scarves and several times women vendors pointed to my (Deb's) baseball cap and then to a scarf, kindly suggesting, with smiles, that I might want to exchange my cap for a scarf. Here are some pictures from the Tire market day.

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On another day we took a dolmas to the mountain village of Sirence. Although more remote, this village is geared for tourists and tour companies bring bus loads up each day. Nonetheless, very picturesque and we enjoyed it. A craftsman made a bracelet for Brad, I bought a pashmina for Soquel, and we walked down the mountain back to Selcuk. It was about a two-three hour walk; all downhill through beautiful country. We were only passed on the road by the occasional tour bus, dolmas, and locals on scooters. Olive and cherry trees were planted everywhere--even on steep mountain slopes. See pic below that shows half the mountain side planted with olive trees and the other half uncultivated. We also explored ruins of an ancient aqueduct.

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We enjoyed our home base in the small town of Selcuk. It's a nice town to walk around in--just watch out for the occasional tractor on the sidewalk. There are walking roads outside of town that we enjoyed as well--one day we walked to the beach, another day we walked to the ancient ruins of Ephesus, another day up to the ruins where St. John wrote his gospel. (I'll cover the ruins near Selcuk in another blog.) We arrived in Selcuk to our very comfortable B&B late at night. Once in bed we heard a lot of animals chattering outside our window. What could they be? Birds? Monkeys? (In Turkey?) Squirrels? Later, dreaming, the old Beatles' song came to mind, blackbirds singing in the dead of night . . . Check out in the pic below one of the fellows making all the noise. See also pics of our room and breakfast at Jimmy's Place (run by Jimmy and his brothers, cousins, etc. Everyone is "family" in Turkey.), Selcuk sights, including fellow slicing us some of the wonderful "candy" in Turkey made from figs and pistachio nuts.

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Turkey cranes build large nests as high up as they can find, which is the top of electric poles, minarets, or ancient ruins.

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We had an overnight layover in Izmir before heading up to Istanbul. We caught an American movie original format/subtitled in Turkish--a chick flick, I won the draw. Not a great movie, but I enjoyed hearing two hours of English! I'll close this blog with pictures of the fellows selling yummy fresh orange and pomegranate juice and of the ancient square and port of Izmir at sunset.

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Posted by bradanddeb 01:31 Archived in Turkey Comments (1)

Florence: The Gilded City

We are immersed in art and beauty


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Florence, Italy
Feb. 19-28, 2011

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On the one hand, it is odd to find a modern sculpture in the Boboli Gardens; on the other hand, this sculpture captures the confidence and independent thinking of the heady times, the Rinascimento, or Renaissance, that started in and spread out from Florence. After the fall of the Roman Empire and a thousand years of dark ages, by the 1400-1600s Florence was a wealthy city (due to textiles, trading, and banking) that could support artists and scholars. There was growing interest in independent thinking, the arts, and knowledge from observation and experimentation. The wealthy Medici family, in particular Lorenzo de' Medici, known as "the Magnificent" because of how he used his great wealth, gave support and protection to artists and scholars. Lorenzo brought them into his household for education and exchange of ideas. Imagine dinner with Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Dante, Galileo, and the other great minds of the Florentine Renaissance!

For us, traveling in Florence is being immersed in a small world gilded with Renaissance art. We started with Michelangelo's statue of David. Apparently, scholars debate whether the statue depicts David before or after his battle with Goliath. My two cents: it's before the battle. To me his expression is intent and worried (or at least concerned). I think this David is planning his strategy, not reflecting on his success. I wish I had a picture for you, but "no photos" was enforce. I will show you a photo of the fortified palace, Palazzo Vecchio, with its enormous turret, because until 1873, David stood at the entrance (a copy is there today). Can see the copy to the left of the doorway in the photo below? Over the centuries, the Florentines held lots of political rallies in this square, gaining inspiration, no doubt, from the David sculpture. When I think of David out in a public square I can't help but imagine generations of Florentine youth climbing up him. It would be irresistible.

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Palazzo Vecchio

Yes, we were immersed in art. We spent a full day at the Uffizi Gallery and another at the Pitti Palace--both filled with art. "Filled" is a completely inadequate term here. The Uffizi, although a relatively small building has, arguably, the greatest collection of Italian paintings anywhere. In 1581 Francesco I de' Medici set up a gallery "with pictures, statues, and other previous things" at the Uffizi. At the time Francesco Bocchi described it as " . . . a Gallery so magnificent, so regal, that filled with statues, with noble paintings and extremely precious objects of the highest beauty, it is today truly among the most supremely beautiful sights in the world . . . Where the eye sweeping over so many magnificent things, so different, so rare, so sublime, is overcome by such delight that the soul almost faints." (My italics, I love that phrase.) Brad and I determined that one could spend an entire day, or more, looking at the just painted ceilings! The Uffizi was established to be public, visited by those who ask permission, and so it is considered the oldest museum in Modern Europe. However, apparently it took some time for the museum to realize its public access. The oldest know written request by a visitor dates from 1591. But, in 1597, a Dominican friar wrote that few of the public had seen it, and he himself was not among them.

In the lavish Pitti Palace (bought and stocked with art by the Medicis) we visited about 40-50 rooms with floor-to-ceiling paintings (and painted ceilings), just like the ones pictured below.

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Florence is a small city. In the historical section, and well beyond, we walked everywhere. Looking down on the city, the two tallest structures are the Palazzo Vecchio's turret and the dome of the Duomo, the large gothic cathedral encased in green, white, and pink marble. The dome of the Duomo was the first built since ancient Roman times (a competition was held to select the architect who had the knowledge and skill to construct it).

A poignant David-and-Goliathesque moment for me occurred one evening we took a narrow, winding cobblestone road as a short-cut walking down from the foothills back into town. About halfway down the road we were surprised by a small plaque on the side of a house noting that Galileo had conducted his astronomical observations from this house. (Wow!) I imagined the Renaissance scholar studying the planets and stars from this little house, using mathematical calculations to determine that the earth moved around the sun; knowing that to assert this was heresy against the powerful represented by the enormous Duomo in town. (As we know, in 1632, when he was nearly seventy years old, Galileo was brought before a religious tribunal and made to choose between being burned as a heretic or renouncing his writings about the movement of the earth because they contradicted the Bible. He signed the declaration, and lived the rest of this life under house arrest. His students say that although he signed the declaration, while doing so he muttered under his breath: "It does move.")

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Looking down onto Florence, and the Duomo

The Arno river runs through Florence, crossed by the Ponte Vecchio, the famous covered bridge built by the Medicis to travel between the Plazzo Vecchio and Pitti Palace in privacy and security. The Ponte Vecchio was the only bridge in Florence not destroyed in WW II by the Nazi's as they retreated.

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Here are some scenes from Florence. Although much smaller, in some ways Florence reminded me of Paris in their attention to aesthetics. There is an effort to make everything look, sound, taste, smell . . . beautiful. The first photo is the street of our B&B (near the red sign on the right side) and the second is our room.

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One night Giancarlo, the owner of the Il Cielo B&B recommended that we go see a pharmacy. A pharmacy? "Just go see," he said. "You will like it." He was right. It is a unique functioning pharmacy. The Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, founded by Dominican friars in 1221, may be the fanciest and oldest drug store in the world. The monks used medicinal herbs grown in the monastic gardens to make medications, balms, and pomades for the monks' infirmaries. In 1612 the Grand Duke officially opened the monks' pharmacy to the public. Today the pharmacy, passed down to the Stefani family, uses the ancient traditions of herbal care with natural raw materials and medicinal herbs, most grown in the hills around Florence. Still in its original building, it also includes a small museum of its antique glassware, ceramics, utensils and tools. Hundreds of products are available. We happened to be in need of toothpaste, so are now enjoying the Dentifricio Fior d'Iris.

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You are asking us, "what are you eating?" We usually have two meals a day, breakfast and dinner. Sometimes we'll pick up something on-the-road during the day, but that's rare. We often have breakfast at the B&B, and these really vary. Some are simple: coffee, juice, and rolls. We'll supplement this with yogurt and fruit we pick up at a market. As luck would have it, Giancarlo, while studying for the exam to get his architect's license and running a B&B, also likes to bake. In addition to fruit, yogurt, cereal, bread, cheese, homemade jams, juice, cookies, and espresso . . . there was always a special pastry, usually made by Giancarlo. One day it was an apple cake, another a pistachio cake, another a fruit and custard tart. I kid you not, one morning he served us homemade tiramasu . . . for breakfast! How could we refuse?

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Florence gelato store, and choosing a trattoria

Yes, the food in Italy is GREAT. We love the small family-run restaurants, and seek them out. The pasta is fabulous, all of it. We love the grilled vegetables with garlic, spicy peppers, and olive oil. The sauteed spinach with garlic and olive oil is incredible. We have loved all our meals here, we think because of the fresh ingredients, attention to quality, and a cooking style that lets the foods' natural flavors speak for themselves.

We try to get recommendations for out-of-the-way places we would never find on our own. Our first night in Florence Giancarlo recommended a pizzeria that he goes to. We found the street, a narrow alleyway, but walking up and down it couldn't find the pizzeria. Eventually, we found a door with no sign or lights, but with a piece of paper taped to it. The paper said Pizzeria (great!) and listed what appeared to be four menu items (no prices) and it opened at 7:30pm, in a half an hour. Peering through the dark window we could make out a pizza oven and two very small tables. This must be it. A few feet away, standing next to a row of motor scooters parked in the alley a couple stood talking. We asked them if they were waiting for the Pizzeria to open. "Si." Even though it was a cold night we decided to wait, and as we waited more and more people showed up until there were about 25 of us crowding the alleyway, jostling to make room each time a motor scooter tried to drive by. We learned there is a back room, but not many tables and people just wait in the alley until a table becomes available. (Must be some great pizza we thought; there were easily four or five other pizzerias within a two-three-minute walk, with no waiting.) At 7:20 we saw stirrings inside as they lit the pizza oven and at 7:30 they opened and led us past the pizza oven through some narrow hallways to tables in the back. Once seated we imitated those around us and each ordered an individual pizza. I ordered the first on the menu, Brad ordered the second. Pizza is all they serve: thin crust, fresh tomato sauce, mozzarella, and Brad's had anchovies. Eaten with a knife and fork, no fingers. Homemade, fresh ingredients, delicious. Sweet wine and dipping biscotti for dessert. When we left there was a line of people in the alleyway waiting to get in.

We alternate eating out with dinner picnics. Now, because it's cold, we often bring our picnics back to the B&B, our room, or the kitchen, or a lounge, whatever is available. Hopefully we'll have more outside dinner picnics when things warm up. In Italy it is easy and fun to find the local markets with great foods. A typical dinner picnic for us might have some combination of bread, pesto, ham, grilled vegetables, spinach, tomatoes, red bell pepper, cucumber, biscotti, wine. We have found that it is especially easy to get these picnic items, and much more, all over Italy, but also generally easy in Portugal, Spain, and Greece, with some variations. We have a sturdy set of traveling plastic utensils and we've become experts as setting a table with an improvised plastic-bag table cloth and plates made of sections of the paper bag the bread is usually wrapped in. Viola! It's good. Here are some market pictures and one of our picnics.

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Ciao, will write more about Italy soon.

Posted by bradanddeb 12:37 Archived in Italy Comments (3)

Civic Duty in Venice


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Feb 12-19, 2011
Venice, Italy

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In an August 2009 National Geographic article, the Mayor of Venice, Massimo Cacciari, asks tourists to get lost in Venice to experience La Serenissima ("the serene one").

Dear Mayor Cacciari: consider it done and done. Our pleasure.

On the train down to Venice from Milan we passed grapevine fields, stone farmhouses, and modern towns. It took me awhile to figure out that the gnarly white gashes in the distant mountains must be quarries for the marble used in all the sculpture, mosaics, and architecture.

The Venice train station opens out to a wide set of steps leading down to the Grand Canal. The afternoon we arrived people sat on the steps enjoying the winter sun. We caught a water taxi (!)--the long route, about an hour ride. Wow, what a ride.

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We lost no time initiating our civic service a la Mayor Cacciari upon arriving at our stop, the St. Elena water taxi station. Street-by-street directions to the B&B stated it had a "view of the park and lagoon." We traversed this lovely village--saw parks, squares, and playgrounds (do they count as parks?), three canals, a boat harbor (could it be a lagoon?), asked friendly citizens, backtracked, walked the same streets more than once . . . and about a half hour later found our B&B a mere 30 feet from where we started at the water taxi station. Okie dokie, off to an auspicious start with our civic duties. St. Elena, at the south end of the island, is unusual for Venice due to its trees and park near the lagoon linked to the Grand Canal. Our B&B is the yellow building in the picture below.

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The main Venice island (technically more than one island, I think) has no cars, innumerable pedestrian streets, canals, and footbridges criss-crossing and winding over the island. The streets range from wide (10-15 feet along the Grand Canal) to narrow (2-3 feet from canal edge to building) and suddenly open up to squares that often have a church and old cistern (for collecting rain water). Dogs are everywhere, often leashless, following their masters along the streets.

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We started every day with map in hand, ready to explore new parts of Venice. Reporting for civic service, sir! Without fail, within five minutes of leaving the Grand Canal we'd be lost. The streets on the map looked like a mass of wiggling worms. Well, of all the spots on the planet to be lost, Venice may be one of the best. We felt reassured because, after all, it's an island, how lost could we really get? In addition, there are cafes with espresso and pizza around every curve, beckoning us. So, gee, we weren't going to starve.

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Getting los . . err, performing exceptional civic service is part physical and part psychological. Physically, we needed the stamina to keep going, much further than we intended with all the back and forth and circuiting. But as I noted, it's a relatively small, flat island (with tasty refreshments) and walking felt good, great really. Psychologically, there were a couple of challenges. First, we had to abandon control of where we were going, exactly. Second, we had to shed anxiety about not knowing where we were, exactly. Third, we had to adopt a "who cares?" attitude about time. So with new Zen zeal, we stashed the maps and explored the crannies of Venice.

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We had a variety of wild and sometimes comforting thoughts as we pushed onward, scouting new Venetian territory:
__We have been so lost, so many times, we are prime candidates for a Venetian municipal medal of honor. Yes, we are truly worthy.
__As long as we can hear the church bells we are not lost.
__Venice is lovely; why don't we buy a little place here? (ha ha)
__The sign says we're at the Biglietteria water taxi station, but I can't find that stop on the taxi route. (Note: Biglietteria = ticket office.)
__I think we should buy a compass. (We did.)
__Me: I think we've been on this street before. Brad: Is it near a canal, a footbridge, and a Murano glass shop?
__Dr. Livingston, I presume?
__Do you think the water from this cistern is potable?
__How many times have they dropped the key into the canal?
__I am sure it will be nice to see the Grand Canal at dawn.

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__How about a drink at Harry's Bar and a slice of pizza to go?

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Venice is a dog-loving town. None more so, perhaps, than the family with this front door. Ahhh . . .

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P.S. If needed again, Mr. Mayor, we're ready!

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Off to Florence next.

Posted by bradanddeb 14:13 Archived in Italy Comments (1)

Madrid no duerme


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Madrid, Spain
February 6-13, 2011

Madrid doesn't sleep, at least not those in the three-to-four block radius around the Puerta del Sol (Gate of the Sun). The Puerta del Sol is the center square that is the heart of Madrid (and incidentally, the symbolic center of Spain also, according to its "kilometro cero" plaque). It is the starting point of many roads that fan out into various neighborhoods, shopping districts, and parks.

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Our small family-run hotel was a fifth floor walk-up (that's right, 88 vertical steps) in a building about two blocks from the Puerta del Sol. To say that the area around Puerta del Sol is busy would be an understatement--it is pulsating activity 24/7--part New Year's Eve, Mardi Gras, frat party. The weather was warm, even in February, so there are a lot of people walking, eating at tables along the streets, and gathering in the squares. The restaurants, shops, bars, and clubs are often indoor/outdoor; we loved the paella and tapas. It's very social: there's music, and lots of loud, exuberant talking. People have energy and gusto ("It's Spain!"), sort of like their favorite artists: Picasso, Goya, Velasquez, Dali.

Madrid restaurants start serving dinner around 9:00pm and the clubs get going around 1:00am. No matter what time we walked out the front door there seemed to be a party on the street. Madrid is also a city of interesting contrasts. On one small street we came across a shop for priests and nuns, and right across from it, a shop for matadors. Really.

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Getting around Madrid was easy. As I noted, the streets all fan out from the Puerta del Sol. Street names are displayed in graphic tiles, ostensibly so that the "illiterate" could read them. They are helpful, and pretty!

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The buildings were ornate--lots of sculptures and decorative elements.

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Madrid has three major art museums (les grandes museos de Madrid). The Prado and the Thyssen-Bornemisza were interesting because each are essentially private collections (King Ferdinand IV and the Thyssen-Bornemisza's), so the art is such a strong reflection of the personality and tastes of the collector.

But the surprising gem for us was the Reina Sofia (Museo Nacional Centro de Arte). First, it's in an old, solid stone building with wide hallways and a central courtyard with classical and modern sculpture.

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Reina Sofia staircase and central courtyard

The Reina Sofia focuses on more modern art, mostly but not entirely Spanish, and many of the exhibits are multimedia, combining the paintings/sculptures with continuously running videos, movies, TV shows, radio programs, etc. that relate to the art. For example, one exhibit had John Cage drawings, writings, and musical scores with a video of his appearance on the old TV show "I've Got a Secret." Surreal, fascinating, entirely enjoyable. Here's a sampling:

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I liked the painting below. Here's the full painting and then a portion, close up.

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I was fighting a cold in Madrid, so one morning when we came upon a restaurant with oranges in the front window, we went in for some fresh orange juice. While waiting for the juice I observed the host serve three gentlemen at the bar what looked like cups of chicken broth that he had ladeled from a pot on the stove. Great, what luck! "Pollo sopa?" Brad asked. "Si." Great--he ordered one for me and eggs for himself, and we settled in for breakfast. Awhile later the host proudly served me a very large half a roast chicken (with french fries). Oh my! What's one to do? Of course, I ate the chicken . . . never found out what was simmering in the pot.

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Our favorite place in Madrid was the Parque del Buen Retiro. Started as a royal retreat in the 1500s and turned over to the public in 1767, the Retiro Park is like Golden Gate and Central Park, except without cars. It has grand walkways, formal gardens, forested areas, fountains, a large lake (popular for row boats) and small ponds, soccer fields, tennis courts, and buildings for exhibits and performances. It was such a delight to explore this park that once we found it we tried to go there every afternoon. Near the park are some swanky neighborhoods that are also fun for walking and a market area with fresh produce, meats, and bread vendors--who supplied us with picnic dinners many evenings.

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Palacio de Cristal at the Retiro

Here's a fountain at the Retiro. Followed by a close-up of what is there. Hmmm, turtles. OK, Savannah, Lisbon, and now Madrid . . . with turtles holding up the statuary. Very interesting.

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So far we haven't wanted to go to the hassle and expense of shipping souvenirs home. And we don't want to carry anything else with us, so we haven't been tempted to buy the beautiful things we are seeing. Instead, I take pictures of pretty things in store windows. Here are some dresses in Madrid shop windows.

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Adios Madrid. On to Italy!

Posted by bradanddeb 16:28 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Bom dia Lisbon

San Francisco's little sister?


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Lisbon, Portugal
January 29 - February 5, 2011

Arriving in Lisbon, we flew low over a sea of terra cotta roofs, dotted with a few stone fortresses, all contrasted against the blue of the Rio Tejo.

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Terra cotta rooftops

We found Lisbon to be an intimate, easily accessible city. Things are close to each other: buildings, streets, tables in restaurants, couples walking arms linked in what Brad and I have come to call, "European style." Lisbon locals are eager to explain their city, language, the way things work. "Obrigado," thank you, for males; "obrigada" for females. Narrow streets are shared by pedestrians and cars. Ubiquitous tiles and laundry hanging out to dry. The windows of restaurants display on ice the fish, meat, and vegetables being served for dinner. Every other block seems to have a small (i.e., 12' x 12') store with boxes of fruit, fresh bread, cheese, dried ham hanging from the ceiling, wine. In an interesting combination, liquor and wine are sold in pastry shops. There are lots of very small, family-run, restaurants with two or three tables, mom and pop cooking and serving, and a TV playing a soccer match or a game show.

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Brad geting haircut in Lisbon

Lisbon is a lot like San Francisco: it is a hilly city, with trolly cars running people up and down steep streets. Fog from the river and ocean settles in among the buildings, and there's a bridge that looks an awful lot like the Golden Gate. Hmmm . . .

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Lisbon is a lot like SF

There are also magnificent squares, palaces, and ornate buildings you do not see in the U.S. As Brad says, "Even if we did have squares like these, they would never be painted these colors." We love them.

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Lisbon square

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Statue in square

We spent a lot of time walking around the historical parts of Lisbon. Our favorite walk was along the Rio Tejo. Lisbon has created a pedestrian and bicycle walkway along the river that goes for miles and miles. It is popular with all ages and attracts lots walkers, bike riders, skaters, and fisherman. Along the way there are restaurants and nightclubs, parks, and loading docks for the many container barges coming into port.

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Deb at fitness park along the Rio Tejo.

About five miles along the Rio Tejo from Lisbon is the lovely town of Belem. We walked there three times--twice to the Indian Embassy on a hill overlooking Belem (still working on our visa into India) and once, in part, for Belem's warm egg custard tarts, called "pasteis." This bakery has been making them since 1837 (see sidewalk in picture below) and they say the recipe is a secret known to only three people. They are tasty, especially with an espresso!

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Cafe Pasteis de Belem

I read somewhere that Portugal selects architects to design its soccer stadiums in design competitions. On the way up to the Indian Embassy, we passed one of them. Three sides for fans and one side open to the view down to the river. (Caroline, maybe after you and Steve finish visiting the major league baseball stadiums you'll want to consider soccer venues?) We had a lunch of oranges at a park near here--just enjoying the view and sunny weather.

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Belem soccer stadium

Took the train north to Sintra for a day. Walked up and up and up through a beautiful forest to this lookout point. See the palace off in the distance? That's where we walked to next.

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Lookout point in Sintra

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Palacio da Pena . . . where we're headed.

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A hidden treasure in the forest.

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Which way to the Palacio?

A small 15th century monastery was originally on the site of the Palacio da Pena. It was ruined by the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755. In 1838 King Ferdinand acquired the ruins and surrounding lands on which to build a palace. The Romantic-style palace, with Medieval and Islamic elements, was used by the royal family until 1910. Today it is a World Heritage Site, filled with original architectural elements, furniture, and art. (Unfortunately, no photographs allowed inside.)

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Almost there

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Great views

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Interior courtyard and clam shell planter, carried by turtles (just like in Savannah, go figure)

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At the top

Our favorite dinner in Lisbon was snacks at the Wine Bar do castelo, on the Rua Bartolomeu de Gusmao just down from the Castelo Sao Jorge. Nuno, our friendly host, provided us with a variety of hams, cheeses, olives, olive oils, jellies (including a tasty tomato jelly), bread, and wine. Two words: yum mee.

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Wine bar feast

Finally, the sidewalks! After the aforementioned Great Earthquake of 1755 (which we were told also caused a tsunami), Lisbon started rebuilding with its sidewalks first . . . to help keep people out of the muck and mire. The powers that be at the time decided to take the opportunity to create noteworthy, black-and-white mosaic sidewalks. A set of patterns were designed, which are laid out with templates, and today young people go to school to learn the trade of creating and maintaining these labor-intensive walkways. Aren't they beautiful?

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Posted by bradanddeb 14:25 Archived in Portugal Comments (0)

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