Saturday, October 14, 2017

Transit and street life in Lisboa

After days of driving and walking all over the towns we were visiting we thought we'd have a day of taking buses and trams to wander around Lisbon. It didn't quite turn out that way.

We bought two 24-hour transit cards yesterday but only one of them worked. it wasn't really a big deal because we had the cash to pay the 2.80 Euro fare but somehow it put a crimp in our plans to hop on and off trams.  That said, we managed a ride on the "must see" Tram #28, which runs up and down the hills and around sharp turns up to the Afalma district and back down.

Lisbon continues to use (and upgrade the workings) of these cable cars from the early 20th C. While most cities would have put them in a museum Lisbon needs the short size of these cars for some of its twisty routes. It's a very popular tourist route although residents use it as well. To avoid having to stand for the trip we walked up to where the line ends and begins, passing a few more noteworthy tiled buildings, or at lease those that caught my eye...

Once at the top we waited with a few others to board our tram and were able to get seats for the rollicking ride. Here's what it looked like on the tram.  The driver sits in the very middle of at the front and there are lovely polished wooden seats and windows that actually open.

Before very long the tram was crowded with people standing in the aisle. (It has room for 20 seated passengers and 38 standing)

There are large signs on the tram warning of pickpockets; apparently this route is a favourite because of the crowding and the bumpy ride. We took good care this time!  Here's what it looks like passing another tram going downhill. This picture is taken from the window of our tram into the window of one going the other way.

We ended up wandering around the commercial district where the tram ride ended rather than hopping on and of, but that allowed me to sort out a problem with the data on the iPad. We've become used to using it for finding our way around the city and downloading information about museums and sights. When it didn't work this morning we were at quite a loss. Fortunately we found a Vodaphone store and were able to quickly resolve the problem.  

The central part of Lisbon is like most large European cities with fountains and statues and people selling things on pedestrian streets.

We always like seeing the statues with the pigeons roosting on them. These two looked particularly peeved at the indignity.

After a bite of lunch in the touristy area we bused our way home to find our street being set up with chairs. 

I mentioned our street yesterday. It's a kind of grungy narrow almost alley with barely room for a car to get through although from time to time that happens. In the afternoon it's a gathering place for everyone who lives here.  And today I got to enjoy a brass band concert by a small group of children.  

People are very friendly here in spite of our extremely limited communication skills. It's a challenge coming from a country where we have some basic ability to talk to people. Here we feel like dummies whenever we try to communicate. Although Harry is pretty good with sign language.

Things dispersed fairly quickly after the concert was finished. These two young women enjoyed it too. It seems they're waiting to meet their AirB&B host.

One final thing about this neighbourhood, although it seems a bit grubby it is actually a very trendy area, called the design district. This weekend it's hosting a film festival, there's Fado music on the corner and a large number of tiny but good restaurants, wine stores, fruit and vegetable markets and coffee bars. Last night we were lucky enough to get into this hole-in-the-wall Italian place. They were all booked up but allowed us to eat so long as we left my 9:00. (Not an issue for Harry and me!) The food was authentic and fabulous and very reasonable. The Portuguese vinho verde wine is to my taste and Harry likes the red too.

We're gradually finding our way around the neighbourhood.


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