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 Miscellaneous Debris – Archive

בקטגוריות: Uncategorized

1 Mar 2006

Walking the streets of Sintra reminds me of Trim, north of Dublin. Or maybe Kilkenny. Green green hills and country roads and old buildings and ancient flagstoned streets.


An old Moorish palace converted to Christian splendor, one room’s ceiling filled with ravens, another with mermaids, the third with the banners and names of the 72 noble houses owing allegiance to the king.


A Franciscan monastery up on the mountain, unfortunately I wasn’t able to visit its twisting corridors and tiny doorways and explicit interpretations of the Apostles’ words – “…it is a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life”.


Sleeping in a late 18th century quinta homestead where the smoke from the fireplace is ingrained in the wooden walls and the cars park out in front of the stables. The patio looks out at the garden which stretches on and on and on.


On the Cabo de Roca, the westernmost point in Europe (even more than Ireland and Iceland, it would appear) you can feel the winds blowing all the way from America, cold and bitter over the Atlantic.


Lisbon is old and dirty and badly maintained. Grafitti covers most buildings in the Barrio Alto, but it just gives it an anachronistic (and dirty) charm.


The narrow streets are filled with trash and cigarette stubs and tiny little bars and Fado clubs and hip young designer clothes stores and stores selling all denizens of the deep ocean.


The Castello de Sao Jorge overlooks the city on all sides., with Napoleonic cannons aimed, for some reason, down at the city below. A bad audiovisual presentation tries half-heartedly to make Portugal look like an up and coming European center for culture, trade and art. Trying hard to undo the years of fascist regimes and economic stagnation.


In Belém (a contraction of Betlehem) stands the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos, a monastery of the Hieronymites built to commemorate Vasco de Gama‘s journeys to India. They really knew how to build, in those days.


The Portugese guitar has a triangular body and 12 strings in 6 pairs of two. Some have triple strings for the extra rich sound. A typical Fado has a classical guitar for the beat, a Portugese guitar for the main sound, and a singer bemoaning his sad, sad fate (fado). Gets old after a while.


Everyone smokes in Portugal. Restaurants. Airports. Everywhere. No such thing as a non-smoking section.


Lisbon is raining, but Zuerich is snowing outside the terminal. No snow for me until next week, in Prague.
Pictures will come soon.

2 תגובות על

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velfadar

1 בMarch, 2006 בשעה 17:09

Sounds magnificent

…”you can feel the winds blowing all the way from America, cold and bitter over the Atlantic.”
Poetry, I say.
Sounds truly enviable, though it took me (ahem) a few paragraphs to figure out exactly where you are.
Now I’m overcome by the urge to toss a few apples into a backpack and hitch my way over there, be it Prague or Lisbon or Zurich. I particularly enjoyed those precious bits of useless info that have carved onto them 😉
Enjoy for me some, too.

Avatar

yggdrasil

1 בMarch, 2006 בשעה 21:32

Re: Sounds magnificent

The Cabo da Roca is the sort of place that makes you talk in dramatic tones of chill winds. Just that sort of place. 🙂

And going over the entry, it does seem a bit unclear at first. Probably because I wrote it backwards, starting with Lisbon and working forward in time but backwards in text. In retrospect, I would probably have left it the same even if I’d noticed.

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