The Retirees go Abroad – the Iberian Peninsula – the Tile Museum of Lisbon

Surprisingly the next morning was fine and clear. Everything looked fresh. We walked to the tram stop and waited and waited finally deciding to walk down to the old city. As we walked I saw a young girl in a window and thought a picture would be nice. When we finally arrived in the old city the reason for no tram became obvious. The city was closed due to the marathon being run that day (we met some Americans who mentioned they were participating in a marathon on Sunday) but we arrived just in time to see the lead runner and the next three runners enter the old town. So with the old town closed we decided to stroll through Chiado and up to an old church that was damaged in the 1755 earthquake and kept as a reminder of that time. We went there for another reason – the back door to a viewing tower of the city just to show we had found it. Alongside is the Garda Museum closely guarded but with free admission.

We were following the trail of the wine and food tour to revisit some of the highlights. We stopped at the oldest bookshop and then the first coffee shop and past one of the many chestnut vendors in the street. Around the corner and past Camao’s square and into the lane where we found Grapes and Bites. Then down the hill again through the restaurants onto the main square Praca Dom Pedro IV. The runners were still coming through so we decided to take a walk along Averigo do Campo Grande up to the statue to Marquess de Pombal. We returned to the old city by the Metro to Station Apollonian planning to go to the Tile Museum. However the bus did not turn up so I took a photo of the Museu Militar and we decided to walk back to the apartment via a new direction. And we stumbled across the Panteao Nacional and some new graffiti.

After lunch at home we returned to the bus stop and caught the 795 to Museu Nacional do Azulejo – the National Tile Museum. The museum is located in an old monastery and is a fabulous display of Portuguese tiles down through the centuries. We had some idea of the use of the tiles from the houses in the street from St Vincent’s Monastery and the fact that there is a museum about it. But we were not ready for how much of a story they told. Nor were we ready for the chapel in the old monastery. Decorated with paintings depicting the story of Christ’s life It is the most decorated chapel I can recall. And it is the place where I have seen the most relics. The most famous piece is the panorama of Lisbon a tile mosaic of the city (the featured image above). After the museum we went to the cafe and its courtyard and the courtyard pond with its turtles.

It started to rain as we waited for the bus to return to town. Fortunately it stopped as we left the terminus to catch the tram to the apartment. Despite being crowded (there were three trams in a row) we caught the third tram and got off at our stop which requires that we press flat against the wall to allow the tram to leave the stop.

Our apartment has one opening on the world – a door to a balcony no bigger than a window ledge. We find it necessary to open the door at night to allow air to circulate but this also allows noises from the neighbours and the garbage truck but Sunday night/Monday morning I was woken by the sound of gushing water. I thought it was heavy rain at first but as it was incessant I got up to check it out. Here was a bloke in his reflective jacket with a fire hose washing the street. Now the street is barely 1 car wide and this bloke went on and on and on. So neither of us got a full nights sleep.

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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.