|Rainy day in Lisbon|
But the rain is just as well, since I had already decided to spend today resting, doing laundry, and making reservations for the next leg of my trip. I had to change residences this morning due to a snafu with my Airbnb accommodations. My previous room was meager, with a mattress on the floor, next to a shared kitchen filled with the residual odors of fried food, and a somewhat nasty shared bathroom. There were four rented rooms in the apartment, which were all occupied. The clientele were mostly young people who didn't mind roughing it. It was the kind of place where I stayed the last time I trekked through Europe: cheap, barely adequate, and highly social. But I'm older now. I like my privacy. My new accommodations, still in the heart of Lisbon, are cleaner and much more comfortable.
|Praça do Comércio|
Given its strategic location near the mouth of Iberia's longest river, the Tagus, it was inevitable that a city would arise here. It's a natural crossroads at the nexus of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. Greeks and Phoenicians established trading posts here, some 9 centuries BCE, meaning that Lisbon was already an ancient city when Julius Caesar was stabbed to death on the floor of the Roman Senate.
But more recently, the Moors conquered Lisbon and most of Iberia in the 700s, where they remained in control for about 300 years, before Christian crusaders won it back to Christendom. During the 16th and 17th centuries, Lisbon was the seat of a vast trading empire that stretched all the way around the globe: the Americas, Japan, Africa, India.
In short, this city has a long, complicated history that somewhat belies its modern-day modesty.
|Ancient aqueduct, still in use today|
Enough for now. I'll leave you with some more photos from this beautiful city.
|Dried fish at the supermercado|
|Pretty police officer|
|Lisboa, from the top of the Parque Eduardo VII|
|Ponte 25 de Abril and Cristo Rei in the background|
|Soldiers guarding the entrance to the Parliament building|
|Beautiful tiled facades|
|Taking it all in|