Saturday, June 22, 2013

Zoe goes to Portugal: Coming Home

Tuesday, 18th June, 2013.

Zoe was a great hit with the cabin crew on the Emirates flight from Lisbon to Dubai:








They let her try on their very smart hat.




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They suggested that Zoe could stand with them at the door and help them to welcome the passengers.



Here is Zoe “going to sleep” in her Emirates bassinette.

However, Zoe, Mummy and Gran all had a good sleep on this flight, and the seven hours went very quickly.



They had a six hour wait in Dubai, and clever Mummy had booked into the airport hotel where they had another sleep in proper beds, and a very nice Middle Eastern breakfast, which included hommous, labnah and pistachio nuts.  Yum!



There was also a wonderful selection of pastries including zattar croissants.

The 14 hour flight from Dubai to Sydney seemed very long, but they finally arrived.  Zoe was glad to see Daddy, and Daddy was glad to see Zoe.

Everyone agreed it had been a very good trip!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Zoe goes to Portugal: Last day in Lisbon

Tuesday, 18th June, 2013.


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It’s Zoe, Mummy and Gran’s last day in Lisbon, so they’re going to make the most of it!  Miss Mischief checks out the map.



This requires some serious study.



They took a taxi into town and bought some Mexican bridesmaid necklaces for Aunty Laura’s wedding.


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Then they went and stood in a queue to go up the Elevador de Santa Justa.

For centuries, the many steep hills posed significant challenges to Lisbon's citizens. Several solutions were devised to help people climb the steep slopes. Initially inclines were used that were pulled by animals. During the industrial age several steam-powered funiculars were created that are still in use to this day in an electrified form. One of the inclines was replaced with a large elevator, the Elevador de Santa Justa, now the most famous of all Lisbon's 'Elevadors'.

The beautifully decorated 45 metre elevator was built by the Portuguese engineer Raoul Mesnier du Ponsard, a student of Gustave Eiffel. He designed a conspicuous neo-Gothic iron structure, with beautiful Gothic arched windows and iron geometric tracery.                                                                                         
Completed in 1901, it offered an easy way of reaching the Bairro Alto (Higher District) from the 32 meters lower situated Baixa district. Originally the elevator was powered by a steam engine which was replaced by an electrical one in 1906.

The Gothic looking elevator is one of the most popular attractions in the centre of Lisbon, and in 2002 it was classified as a National Monument.

Inside the tower shaft are two wood-panelled lift cages that counterbalance each other.




At the top of the lift, a covered bridge and open viaduct connect the Santa Justa elevator with the Largo do Carmo (Carmo Square).



Zoe, Mummy and Gran walk along the Rua do Carmo towards the lift, which is behind the buildings on the right.  When they arrive at the top of the lift, they walk along the covered walkway which you can see, which eventually leads to Largo do Carmo, a beautiful square full of flowering jacarandas outside the Carmo Church, where they have lunch. 



After queuing for about half an hour, Zoe, Mummy and Gran finally made it into the lift.  The view from the top was worth the wait.

To the right, you can see (under wraps) the triumphal Rua Augusta Arch, built to celebrate Lisbon’s recovery from the 1755 earthquake.



From here you can see across the Tagus, about six or seven kilometres wide here, creating the natural harbour which helped make Portugal such a naval power from the 15th century.



On the left, you can see Lisbon’s main cathedral, the Se (short for Sedes Episcopalis, the Bishop’s Seat) built on the site of a former mosque by Alfonso Henriques after he recaptured Lisbon from the Moors in 1150.



On top of the hill, you can see the Castelo de Soa Jorge

Once a Moorish castle, and then the abode of the Portuguese kings, the castle was transformed in the 1930s into tranquil public gardens.

Gran visited this castle in 1970, when she and Carol were sailing on the Fairstar from Australia to England, and the ship docked for a day at Estoril, near Lisbon.



Gran remembers that one of the Australian girls from the Fairstar had a fall from the rocky ramparts of the Castelo de Soa Jorge, which probably didn’t have Australian Workplace Health and Safety standards (especially in 1970) and broke her leg, which must have altered her travel plans somewhat.



Downhill from the Castelo de Soa Jorge stands the Igreja de Graca.  Today, this church is visited chiefly by tourists for the view from its belvedere, the Miradoura da Graca.

Behind the Miradoura stands an Augustinian monastery, founded in 1271, and rebuilt after the 1755 earthquake.  Once a flourishing monastic community, the huge building is now used as a barracks.



Ironically, this was the one day it was cloudy.  Every other day that Zoe was in Lisbon, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.



Aha – a patch of blue!  Looking down to the Rossio (Praco Dom Pedro 1V) with a statue of the Dom on a pedestal. 

On the northern side of the square is the magnificent Teatro Nacional Dona Maria II (Dom Pedro’s daughter) built in the 1840s by the Italian architect Fortunato Lodi.  In front of the theatre is a statue of Gil Vicente (1465-1536), the “Father of Portuguese theatre”, who incidentally predates Shakespeare.



This is the street Zoe, Mummy and Gran walked up to reach the Elevador de Santa Justa from the necklace shop in Rua Garrett.



Looking down from the top of the Elevador de Santa Justa, you can clearly see the mosaic patterns on the footpath below, including one outside a Chinese restaurant!



Here are Zoe and Mummy on the filigree-embellished walkway which links the top of the Elevador de Santa Justa with the Largo do Carmo (Carmo Square), with a view of Lisbon and the Castelo de Soa Jorge in the background.

The wire netting above the wrought iron filigree work was probably not in designer Raoul Mesnier du Ponsard’s original plan.



Zoe and Mummy continue along the walkway past the ruins of the Igreja do Carmo (Carmo Church).  This Carmelite church, once the largest in Lisbon, stands as a reminder of the 1755 earthquake. 



Underneath the arches.



Zoe and Mummy on the walkway near the Igreja do Carmo (Carmo Church), with the Miradoura da Graca in the distant background.



A door of the Igreja do Carmo (Carmo Church).  Nowadays, the main body of the church, and the chancel, whose roof withstood the violent shockwaves of the 1755 earthquake, house an archaeological museum. 



The walkway emerged into the Largo do Carmo (Carmo Square).



The Largo do Carmo (Carmo Square) was surrounded by flowering jacaranda trees, which dropped a carpet of purple flowers onto everything beneath, and perfumed the air.


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Here are Zoe and Mummy in the Largo do Carmo beside the Chafariz do Carmo, an 18th century fountain designed by Angelo Belasco, elaborately decorated with four dolphins.


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Another door of the Igreja do Carmo opens onto the Largo do Carmo.



Romantically, blue sky begins to appear through a window of the ruins of the Igreja do Carmo.


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Somewhat incongruously in this romantic setting, the Police Headquarters, guarded by sentries, also faced onto the Largo do Carmo. 


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Under the jacaranda trees, and complete with a guitarist playing delicate classical music, were the tables of an outdoor restaurant.  Mummy and Gran decided to have their last Lisbon meal at this typically Portuguese restaurant.


After having settled themselves, Zoe’s pram, their shopping and assorted baby requirements at a table, Mummy and Gran were amused to find that this “typically Portuguese restaurant” was in fact an Indian curry house.

Mummy settled for a vegetable curry, which came with its own little candle to keep it warm.



Gran scanned the menu to find something Portuguese, and came up with sardines, as the sardine is a symbol of the Festa de Lisboa.  Gran was hoping that sardines would be enough for lunch, but when they arrived, they were enormous – bigger than whiting!



There was only enough time for Gran to eat four of these giant sardines, before heading back to Lapa No 82 to get ready to go to the airport.



Back at Lapa No 82, Zoe, Mummy and Gran said goodbye to Isobel and Joaquim, who owned the B&B with Luis.  They had enjoyed a wonderful six days there.  Maybe some of them will come back again one day!



Mummy put Zoe’s travelling hat on her, and off they set for the airport.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Zoe goes to Portugal: Around Lapa No 82

Monday, 17th June, 2013.



Here is Lapa No 82.  It is the pink building, joined onto the other buildings on either side.  The only sign for it is the small white sign in the middle, which made it hard to find when coming from the airport in the taxi.  The doorway at the right hand end is a very narrow driveway which leads past the front door to an underground car park for the building.  Once there was a car parked in the driveway near the front door, and there was no room either side for Zoe’s pram to come in.  Luckily, Zoe woke up, so Mummy could take Zoe out, fold up the pram and squeeze past to the door that way.

There are nine guest rooms in Lapa No 82, including two which have just opened, and haven’t been let yet.  One of the proprietors, Luiz, lives upstairs, while Joachim lives somewhere else.  The B&B has only been operating for three months, and we haven’t seen any signs of Portugal’s recession here, with high-quality expansion and lots of guests.

Mummy and Zoe are standing outside the window of Mummy’s room, (near the pile of paving stones) while the window of Gran’s room is next to it.  Zoe sleeps in the hallway outside the two rooms, which leads to their bathroom. 

You can see that the footpath is very narrow, with lots of obstacles, which makes pramming very exciting for the pusher and the pushee.



On their walk, they meet a little Portuguese girl and her Granny.



The little girl says ola to Zoe.



“Can I pat her toes?”



“Yes, you can.”



The shop Mummy and Gran have come to see is closed, for some reason, and it starts to rain a little bit, so they are forced to go into a cafe for a coffee.  Mummy has a little Portuguese custard tart, and likes it so much that she has another one!

Zoe goes to Portugal: Shopping in Lisbon

Monday, 17th June, 2013.


Zoe, Mummy and Gran decide to go shopping in Lisbon, so Zoe gets dressed in her shopping outfit.



It’s a bit cooler at breakfast this morning, so Zoe wears her hat.



Here are Zoe and Mummy with Luiz, one of the proprietors of Lapa No 82.



Zoe, Mummy and Gran took a taxi into town.



The footpaths in town are paved in different mosaic patterns.



Some of the buildings in town are very fancy.


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Many of the buildings are faced with azulejos, painted ceramic tiles.  The blue and white tiles of the baroque era are considered by many to be the finest.



To help sustain them with their shopping, Mummy and Gran had a plate of the local soup, calde verde, based on kale, which was delicious!



They sat in the outside section of the Brasileira cafe, which had been operating since 1905.



The interior of the Brasileira cafe was decorated with gilded mirrors, and in the 1920s, it was the haunt of writers and intellectuals.  Mummy and Gran decided to sit outside, as there was more room for Zoe’s pram there.  They did see an artist there, sketching the local scene.


There were various street entertainers around the cafe, including musicians, people doing tricks with soccer balls and this man, who was supporting himself by one arm from a metal pole:







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When they came home, Zoe tried on her new skirt from Gran, which went very nicely with a top which was a hand-me-down from Sophia.



Zoe looks pensive.


Zoe and Mummy have some fun:





Tummy time: