Well maybe it was just a slow day because we had a very relaxing afternoon too! But again, there’s plenty to see and do here in Lisbon and even a lazy day had lots going on.
After lunch we checked out one more church, the Igreja Santo Estevao. Most of the church was closed, despite signage saying otherwise, but we did get to see the sanctuary at least.
This was another fascinating church with some common elements we’ve found throughout Portugal: pink marble, a few azulejos tiles, and more extremely tall arches like the other church we saw this morning. However this is the first one where we’ve seen the pipe organ go both up and out – yup, that’s what those spiky looking things are in the middle of the altar space!
After a rest back at the hotel (it was 90 degrees in Lisbon today, and we were overheating climbing up and down the extremely steep hills here) we headed back out to the river. It’s very different here than in Porto, where the sidewalk was several yards above the river; in Lisbon, the stairs go straight into the water itself! It was a wonderful place to relax and play in the waves; the seagulls were chattering happily and the street musician playing at this spot was quite talented. It was such a lovely and relaxing place to be, we didn’t really want to leave! But eventually it was time for some dinner…
Across the street from the river there was a popular square showing the Belgium-Hungary soccer game. The crowd was decently sized but of course no where near as big as when Portugal was playing, which was a bit nice for us because it meant we could watch the game but didn’t have to wait forever for a table to be open for dinner nearby.
The main draw in the square otherwise is this beautiful triumphal arc. It actually has quite a good reason to be here; this square used to be home to the royal palace of Portugal in the 1500s, until that 1755 earthquake we keep talking about. Making matters worse, the earthquake meant everything here caught on fire…and then what wasn’t collapsed or burned was washed away in the resulting tsunami coming from the ocean and river, which are maybe only 100 yards away from this spot! When the square had been rebuilt and was thriving about 100 years afterwards, they built this arc here as a reminder of everything they had survived and worked through. That’s a pretty awesome reason if you ask me!
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