Finally, A Nice Day

Finally, A Nice Day

15 days in Portugal and we finally had a beautiful day, a bit cold but dry after 10AM. It seems everyone in Lisbon felt the same way, as the streets were packed with people. We went out for a “random exploring” trip using our transit cards and headed towards the water, then walked back in towards the city. Without much thought put into it, we ended up in the Alfama, an old section of town with a blanket of tourists on everything. It was a bit of work to take some snaps without tourists in them, mostly looking up.


One thing that nice for photography – with the tight streets and the interesting rooftops, the shadows were intriguing, especially with the ancient walls.

Alfama Shadow

And then there were the beautiful skies over the rooftops. It felt like a dreary curtain over the city had been lifted after two weeks.


Many people have washing machines but no dryer, so clothes hang outside to dry. The break in the weather meant clothes hanging everywhere as weeks of wash needed to be finished.

Alfama Wash

Lisbon occasionally provides scenes reminiscent of San Francisco. Well not quite, the steps are pretty unique to Lisbon. This unfolded in front of me as I walked down the steps and had to turn around and take a photo.


Wandering back onto the main streets, there were Sunday mini-festivals in squares and along the boulevards. One was a market with mostly sausages and cheeses at each stand and an accordion band. Another was a DJ and lots of couples dancing, probably ecstatic to be outside without umbrellas and raincoats.

Lisbon Dancers

Tomorrow we are expecting a bit more rain but the rest of the week should be conducive to outdoor wandering.

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A Break in the Weather

A Break in the Weather

Yes, it’s still raining as you can see above. A local said to us today, “You moved to Lisbon for the weather, right?” The wind is also an issue, there are branches everywhere and it’s a bit frightening to walk under the trees as the wind gusts surge and ebb. There was a break for a few hours, seemed like a good time to take a walk and ride the bus with a direction but no destination.

Lisbon Tree Shadow

Because everyone was bundled up and rushing, it seemed a lot easier to photograph patterns on the street and walls than scenes with people. While tree shadows could be photographed anywhere, the sidewalk marks Lisbon in the frame.

Alcântara Tunnel

We took the bus to Alcântara. The area is ancient and until recently free from development. There are lots of nightclubs. We didn’t quite take the bus all the way, we were supposed to change buses but couldn’t find the stop for the second bus so we walked half a mile to a train station that provided a tunnel under the busy roads. The tunnel was truly amazing, filled with wall painting and skaters. Had we not been so hangry, I would have taken the time to shoot some of the skaters, but the tunnel alone was fascinating.

Alcântara Highway

While the colors of the city tend towards pastels, except for the blue tiles on many buildings, the highway we crossed over showed how much appearance matters to the people who live here. It would be unusual in the US to find such well-maintained color tiles along a highway. Given how much grit and dust there is in the city, they must clean almost this every day.

Alcântara Building

There are some really nice buildings in Lisbon. The most attractive areas are filled with blue tiled homes, clean and shiny. We don’t live in one of those, we haven’t seen them in the listings except for a few very expensive apartments. Most people here, like us, are in somewhat worn looking buildings with lots of character. This building (above) in Alcântara was unusual.

Alcântara Detritus

Of course there were some beautifully run-down buildings in between all the glamor.

Agave in Lisbon

And finally, before the rain picked up again, I saw something encouraging for tequila drinkers. I’m not sure this variety can produce the right flavor, but it is here. Obviously not indigenous, it was apparently brought from Mexico to Spain by explorers. It does not grow in the wild, according to sources I read.

Tomorrow is a busy day so there may not be any photos but I will be posting when I have enough to say and show.

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Lisbon At Night

Lisbon At Night

It’s been wet and cold since we arrived and looks like it will continue to be that way for a while. Last night, the rain was less persistent and we were able to venture away from our neighborhood.

28 Tram

The 25 tram runs a few blocks from the apartment. The trams are one of Lisbon’s major tourist attractions due to the quaint cars that look toy-like, it’s also useful to residents for negotiating steep hills, especially when the sidewalks are wet and slippery. The 28 tram is more well-known so it’s less touristed. We jumped on the tram and took it down the hill, towards the water, and it only had a few tourists, mostly French teens, on board.


Lisbon crossing

Rain had soaked the streets earlier, puddles forming everywhere. Streets glistened, offering their own special takes on the soaking that had dominated the day. When we had waited for the tram, in the dark there wasn’t much to photograph without light, but the street crossing was lit by car headlights.

Lisbon Park at Night

A nearby park was mostly empty. A few evening strollers passed through the gates but were gone by the time I had my camera out. Empty park benches are a photographic cliché that was worn out thirty years ago but I couldn’t resist.

Sidewalk Star


Sometimes the streets have specific designs instead of simply random patterns of cut stone. See, it was getting really boring in the rain…


Lisbon Church

And a nearby church provided a distraction, at least photographically.

Dinner in Lisbon

Tanya spotted a restaurant out the clouded window of the tram. We stepped off at the next stop and walked up the street. It was packed with both tourists and locals and a constantly-in-motion staff. No idea of the name, but it offered inexpensive, excellent food and good company – we sat at a counter as the tables were full and made a new friend, a Portuguese man who lives in San Francisco.

We have another couple days of tasks for the apartment and with the government, but after that maybe more interesting photos.