Alfama Lisbon after dark and nautical coming to a blog near you.

It’s Saturday morning and the sky is trying to decide if it’s going to rain or be sunny.  Me, I am hoping for sunny.  However, there’s been a forecast of rain for every day since we have been here and it’s only rained briefly once, yesterday afternoon.   So far, so good.

Yesterday with blog posts to be written and just plain not moving as quickly as we wanted, we underachieved, for the morning at least, visiting only a single museum all day.  Actually, with a month to spend in Portugal and only a few days under our belts, it’s probably a good thing to be a bit lazy.  Us newbie travelers will have to pace ourselves.

Brenda had read about a museum that houses the personal collection of a wealthy man that died in the 50s.  That would be the 1950s.   It seems he made his money in the oil business.  Anyway, within a 30 year span, he amassed an amazing collection of fine art including everything from Greek pottery, paintings of the likes of Mary Cassat, Rembrant and some of the finest Monets. That in addition to some lovely art deco pieces and an amazing furniture collection.

It’s sufficient to say that you should put the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian on your list if you visit Lisbon.  However, you will have to just use your imagination as I am only going to show a few pieces here.

I was particularly taken by some of the art deco jewelry, mostly hair pieces and broaches.  This piece, was amazing.  At about 10″ across, a women wearing this would certainly be making a statement.  I guess she’d have to have really big hair to pull this one off. Don’t even think of ignoring the wishes of a women wearing this piece over her breast.I mentioned in past posts that the streets, more like narrow alleys actually, that make up this area are a tangle of intersecting paths winding around in no particular pattern.  It’s obvious that cars were not in the picture when this area of Lisbon was “planned” hundreds of years ago by a bunch of guys riding donkeys.   

Fast forward hundreds of years to today, and thanks to the wonder of the iPhone, here’s a few shots from our walk and dinner last night.  The winding streets were packed with people making their way to the many restaurants lining the streets.   And, the proprietors were happily hawking their menus to entice you to dine with them.

We chose a lovely spot down a narrow staircase below street level.  They had live music and some impressive singers took turns belting out Portuguese ballads. This guy one of three that performed, including the owner, had an amazing voice.   No, he wasn’t posing to catch a peanut in his upturned mouth.  My crappy photo just makes it look that way. And these two young women did beautiful duets between cigarette breaks. Actually, it seemed that nobody actually was able to sing more than three songs without stepping outside to have a nicotine fix.  Sorry about the “devil eyes”.  I guess you had to be there.  As the evening wore on the crowds grew and the views grew even more ethereal. It was a beautiful evening to be out for a stroll.Today, we’ll be visiting the National Maritime Museum.  Yes, these pages will actually have something that makes sense on a site dedicated to sailing.  Well, let’s hope so.

I guess you’ll have to check back tomorrow to see how it works out.

I’d better finish up and get some coffee.

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