Sunday, June 9, 2013

Eu não falo Português

I didn't know what to expect when visiting Lisbon, therefore no expectations were dashed and everything was shiny and new - or rather old and graffitied.

Lisbon is a big city - it's got the Euro charm - cobbled streets and sidewalks, beautiful tiled buildings, stunning views - as well as the Euro trash - graffiti everywhere (nothing is spared) and the people I encountered, not all of course, have a dowdy, sourpuss attitude - an odd sort of joylessness. Perhaps this is a reflection of the econmic hardships here, or it is just their way.

I arrived Friday morning and made my way to the quaint hotel in Rossio Square. I was bleary-eyed from jet lag and once my room was ready I took a 2+ hour nap. This was integral to staving off jet lag later on, and when I awoke in the afternoon, I felt refreshed and ready to explore. Not even a yawn!
key to my hotel room

tiled finicular

largest bookstore I've ever seen.

My faithful friend Mimi arrived that night from London. We realized we've met up in 9 cities around the world - okay, mostly the U.S., Canada and Europe, but wow what a fun friend to have - someone who will hop on a plane at any given moment. A true friend whom I cherish.
"M" is for Mimi
On Saturday we took a charming tram until the end of the line and spent the rest of the afternoon walking back through the city. Mimi is a walker and I sometimes feel like a little kid running to catch up to her. We explored many neighborhoods, did a little shopping, a little eating, went to the botanical gardens, walked some more and took hundreds of photos. Lisbon is quite a photogenic city - stunningly so.
view of city
close-up tiled buildings

more tiles

selfies at the jazz club
Later that night we made our way to an awesome jazz club unfortunately named "Hot Jazz Club". There was a septet (sp?) playing that night and they were all music professors at the local university. We didn't know what to expect but it was exceptional. These guys were amazing. There was even a vibe player (when he was introduced as "Jeff Davis"
we figured there was a good chance he spoke English) At intermission, (at midnight) and after many glasses of wine, I chased him down to tell him I had a vibraphone in my home, purchased by my dad from the famous jazz musician Terry Gibbs. He was so excited. Turns out he's Canadian, so I drunkenly occupied his time during his break. He immediately knew that the vibes in my house were Deagan and told me what they are worth. (Dad, did you know? We must discuss...) Anyway, it was such a fun night with great music.
Hot jazz
The next day we had a delicious breakfast at the hotel and dashed over to the tile museum, in an old convent on the waterfront. Absolutely exquisite, and the property reminded me a lot of the Reina-Sophia museum in Madrid.
from the tile museum
I am writing this on the bus on the way to Estremoz, where I will be picked up and driven to the Obras Foundation. I am very excited. Thanks for following my journey and tune in for more.


ps - I have now spent a good 6 hours at Obras. I think I've died and gone to heaven. This property is spectacular. There's a fricking castle outside my window. And 5 pet chickens. And two kittens. And great wine, funny, inspiring people... more in the coming days. 

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