Updated: Sep 22, 2019
June 10, 2017
This city is clean and safe. The workmanship on so many things here is astounding. A mix of old and new, seamless, where one doesn't take the light away from the other.
June 11, 2017
Loved the Church of St. Roch with all the relics. Church of Sao Domingos was very powerful with its burnt interior and as the site of the Inquisition... Went to lunch at an adorable restaurant, The Decadente... So many little stores, from glove makers to grocery stores, that have been around for more than a century and have run continuously...This city is loaded with saints' body parts sprinkled throughout the city in churches.
June 12, 2017
In the charming square of Lago do Carmo. Sitting outside on a scorching day...There is a lively calmness about this city...
June 13, 2017
Last night was the massive feast of St. Anthony, who was born in Portugal...People were up all night and the streets were filled with all the debris. Cleaners were already out cleaning when I hit the road at 7 am. (St.) Anthony, in Portugal, is the patron saint of marriage and also the intermediary you pray to if another saint needs to help or isn't doing their job...
As one can see from these entries, Lisbon offered almost too much to focus on at once. When there, it's easy to skip from great food, to saint bones, converted grand mansions that now house artisanal goods, learning the history of a fallen empire, and miles of azulejos, the colorful tiles that decorate buildings, streets, churches, walls and more surfaces I am not thinking of. I brought back several of these rather heavy objects from the flea market and still stare at them for their simple, decorative perfection. I am, of course, converting them into jewelry.
I think I noted the Inquisition site because that decades-long barbarian event has always chilled me; it seems like something made up in a movie, but it wasn't. In addition, the Catholic bone-collecting seems like it would be fake as well, but it's not. Little body parts rest in reliquaries around the world offering saint cults a place to supplicate. And, Lisbon's saint culture is alive and well.
During my visit, I made sure to visit the Church of Saint Anthony -- ground zero for the feast -- and felt the literal flames of faith. Worshipers light candles around the statue until a pyre-like scene unfolds. Prayers for marriage, or intervention when other saints have dropped the ball, seemed to flicker up, into the city, already smokey from millions of roasting sardines. I absorbed the city that day, the intentions, the rituals, the history, the traditions. But, then again, that's not hard to do in Lisbon.