Today was a day off the bikes and we wandered Lisbon happily exploring. This is a beautiful city, gorgeous buildings, a short walk to the water, friendly people, it’s just lovely. We strolled to the bike shop this morning to pick up some heavy duty locks and then wandered along the waterfront.
The bridge we saw looks exactly like the Golden Gate Bridge in San Fran. I mean exactly the same.
I reckon the bridges of the world have all come out of the same catalogue, a bit like Hotondo Homes or something because they all look alike. I reckon all those years ago, the Build Bonza Bridges representative took himself around the various cities’ mayors with his portfolio…
…the mayor walks in, sits at his big mahogany table and the BBB sales rep spreads out his catalogue. “Now here’s one you might like, number 34, it has an interesting suspension feature and comes in a striking shade of red. Or if you prefer a bit of an arch, the number 72 might be more to your liking, we’ve just finished one of those in Sydney and it’s been very popular.”
“Ooh no,” says the mayor, “we couldn’t possibly have anything those colonials have chosen. Actually I rather like number 29, does it come in other colours? I’d rather like that one in puce if I could.”
I’m sure that’s how it was done! That’s why every bridge in a major city is just a replica of another one!
We did some grocery shopping too, to stock up on a few supplies and that was an interesting bit of visual literacy! Some things were obvious, but others not so and it was a case of trying to work things out from the picture on the label and the odd Portuguese word that could be interpreted. We did a lot of, “I think that’s… That looks a bit like… Is that a …” I managed to find a can of Heinz baked beans, so I knew I was in safe territory there and luckily the can beside it had the ingredients in some different languages, because as I read them I saw it was beans and pig’s trotters. Nope, that would not have been to my veggie taste I’m afraid!
The rest of the day was spent exploring and we walked for ages around all the little back alleys and side streets, just like I’d seen in films, with the cobbled lanes and steep steps bordered by the terraced houses with the little balconies and washing hanging out on lines. So we wove up and around and down and back up and through lots of little back lanes.
Then we came to Lisbon Cathedral and went in to have a look. Oh my, how beautiful! It dates from the 12th century and it was very humbling to walk in a building that was so old and holds so much history and so many stories.
As we’ve gone around the place we’ve tried to remember to use the local language, but often forget because everyone speaks such fluent English and so much is written in English, that we forget to try our Portuguese. I did remember to say “Obrigada” to the check-out girl at the supermarket, but I’m afraid we still default to English more than we should. Worse, we use English and Australianisms that probably get lost in translation. Today at the bike shop Steve told the girl serving us, “I’ll just pop ‘round to the ATM.” I’m not sure how universal “pop ‘round” is. I find myself saying “G’day” far to often instead of remembering to say “Hola”. I’m sure we’ll get the hang of it just in time for us to leave Portugal and start all over again in a new country! It’s also a bit embarrassing to hear how fluent people are in another language, whereas us Aussies have one and only one and often seem very reluctant to learn anything else.
Well, it was a nice laid back day before we saddle up again tomorrow and pedal to a new place to stay. Where will that be? Who knows…we sure don’t!