Travel to Lisbon

Lisbon was an important destination for us. A possible future home, a place to live a different life in what seems like a different time despite all the signs of the modern world around us there. One huge difference between home and Portugal (and much of Europe) is the transportation. Trains are more comfortable than planes, the tracks maintained, the stations clean. We took the three hour ride from Faro to Lisbon on the train and wound our way north to beautiful skies.

Faro to Lisbon

Arriving in Lisbon in the evening, a train in the station took on a surreal look from the platform. I was attracted to a Dali-esque clock but it was just one piece in a liquid series of reflections.

Lisbon

Abandoned

Always on the lookout for detritus of any sort, we wandered through the older parts of the residential district. Most cities have areas where some abandonment has set in as newer, shinier neighborhoods are built and people move on. The most interesting find was an escalator to nowhere in a mini-mall that had no tenants. The top of the escalator, which was outdoors, was sealed off.

Faro

Many people, especially here in the states, consider these areas to be depressing blight. An alternate view is that they show us the past and give us clues about migration and social change. They also show a willingness to adapt as there are people and animals living here. One building in the old quarter had milk and food bowls set out for feral cats wandering the streets. The cats fled when we walked down the street but the bowls in front of the decrepit doors were still out.

Faro

And an alley with a boarded-up house provided an interesting contrast between a new cosmetics ad and the peeling paint. Past and present, crud and glitz, the never-ending changes in culture.

Faro

Speaking of Religion

The strangest building in Faro, and one of the strangest in Europe, the Capela de Osso, built in the 19th century inside a larger 18th century church, is filled with skulls and bones of over 5000 people. It’s a delightfully macabre demonstration of the bizarre twists religion can take. It’s not that big but it leaves a lasting effect.

Watch this slideshow to see the Capela do Osso: