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Lisbon. Lisboa. Why do I like you so?

Sure, I'm swayed by the perfect weather we find here, the clean and easy subways, the charming old buildings, many faced with ceramic tiles. The wide river adds a nice breeze and andpoint for all to gather and see the sun go down. 

It's much smaller than Madrid and much grittier. Many buildings empty, derelict, in need of TLC.
But there is something about the art that talented taggers have painted, perhaps by invitation (there is a tour of Street Art) that charms. Buildings are often cheerfully painted, lots of peach, sky blue, Big Bird yellow and Pepto Bismol pink. The official palace is pink. But there is also lots of grime and mildew and plants growing out of roofs, unintentionally. Portugal is poorer than Spain and it shows. But they try to make beauty where they can.

Right down to their many mosaic sidewalks and plazas. 

Ran into no one who didn't speak English, though we spoke mostly to those who deal with tourists and/or are young. There was a friendliness evident, but who knows if it was sincere. 
Maybe Portugal is simply Spain without the arrogance. I was annoyed in Madrid at how fellow pedestrians refused to acknowledge my presence and simply expected me to move. I had to step into the street more than once or simply be mowed down. 

They have bullfights in Portugal but they don't kill the bull. 
In Spain, the dish that's presented as the culinary pinnacle is a roasted suckling pig.
In Portugal, it's all about cod. 

At the flea market in Madrid, police were out in force checking people's permits to sell. At the Lisbon flea, it was a free for all - anybody could throw a blanket on the sidewalk and vend their garage sale stuff.

Lisbon is a city so vertical, part of their metro system is funiculars and elevators. They have elevators to get you from one neighborhood to another. 

Like many cities, this one has statues aplenty, in the squares and atop the buildings. But what I noticed is how often they were women - warriors, protectors, and bestowers of reward. 

Note, too that the recipient on the left is a woman. 

So yes, even though we were victims of theft and Mark was felled by an intestinal bug for a couple of days (which erupted in me when we got home) and our original hotel ended up being quite unsuitable and I had to hustle to find a room among the hoards of tourists from Germany and France, it just felt right. 

Next big trip - don't ask. Still recovering from this. There will be at least one more post of photos that didn't fit elsewhere. 


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