The Retirees go Abroad – the Iberian Peninsula – the new city of Lisbon and our Fado Tour

On the way home it started to rain – ominous for tomorrow. Through the night the garbage collectors found that some idiot had parked his car awkwardly so at 1.00am they had to spend 30mins + trying to manoeuvre their truck through our street all the time yelling and screeching tyres.  Despite this we got some sleep and awoke to stormy weather. Despite the weather we trekked outside and found that the car remains there and another has parked near it so tonight will be worse. Umbrellas open we caught the tram to the underground and from Baix-Chiado we travelled to Oriente in the new city. The weather was now dreadful with high chilling wind and rain. We found a shopping centre attached to the metro and re-evaluated our plans. Today would be best spent at home in bed with a book. So after snapping some of the modern buildings in this area (the exact opposite of the old town) we retreated home.


That afternoon I did some research on a trip to Sintra. Surprisingly the roads to the attractions in Sintra were closed and yet the day before the Tourism office had recommended we travel to Sintra. That night we had arranged to meet Joanna for our Fado and dinner tour. We waited in the square for Joanna and the other 11 on the tour and I took pictures of the Hard Rock Cafe and the Averido do Campo Grande. Right on time Joanna arrived and whilst we waited for the others she told us that the storms that morning had brought down trees and flooded roads in and around Sintra. The others arrived except for one couple so we waited in the square whilst Joanne told us more about her city including a tip about the best roof top bar in town in the hotel on this square. She also told us that the monument in the square represented the wars against Spain to throw off its occupation in the 17th century.

As we were on the Fado tour she then took us into a back street to show us some graffiti commemorating their Princess of Fado Amalia Rodriges. Then we made our way to the Jingjiha bar to try this liquor again. Graffiti is evident in most places of Lisbon and in my previous blog I showed the Fado graffiti along some stairs. Joanna took us there as this is famous as representing the Portuguese way of life and it love of Fado. We had seen it in the daylight when it was far more impressive but as we travelled down the stairs there was another piece of graffiti mural I had missed the other day but I have included here. This is in the old Moorish sector of the city. She took us down a narrow lane where portraits of elderly residents of the sector were posted on the walls. She also showed us how some of the images in the tiling on the footpaths showed different things about the area – like this outline of the church it surrounds.

Then we boarded a number 12 tram to travel up the hill to the Alfama area which she said was the area where Fado had its true origins. We got off the tram very close to our apartment. Joanna showed us the new mosaic of Amalia. From there we walked to the viewing platforms in Alfama near St Georges Castle down some never ending staircases to our restaurant Pateo Alfama. Inside we heard Fado being performed and watched a stage show of dancing and Fado music whilst eating a traditional potato soup, tapas and a custard desert whilst consuming local wine. The performance was good but I am not a Fado fan.

We got away at 11.00pm and home was but a short and steep walk away. I tumbled into bed and was out to it fairly quickly. Even so I heard the rain that came all night long – not much promise for tomorrow.

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Retired Australian Lawyer having worked representing the innocent and the not so innocent in Australia and some of the remote parts of the world and having travelled widely through Europe, Western Russia, Canada, USA, New Zealand, Thailand Malaysia Solomon Islands northern China, Hong Kong and the UAE So now that I have the time I am writing about my travels present and past. Hope you enjoy exploring off the beaten track.