Wednesday, March 01, 2006


Lisbon late at night

I managed to procrastinate long enough that it wasn't until well past 9 that I ventured out into the night. The free guidebook I'd picked up at the airport indicated that there was a decent amount of history to walk round not too far away. I didn't realise how far I'd end up walking...

First stop was the Praça Marquês de Pombal (blogs passim) but the evening traffic was too light for me to really appreciate the terror that must be this 5-lane roundabout at rush hour.

Next a walk down the Avenida de Liberdade, which is the main avenue of the city. I was impressed how wide it was (over 300 feet) and, because it was still early on my trip, it being a mile long wasn't too much trouble. At the bottom was the Monument to the Heroes of the Great War (a tribute to the 50,000 Portuguese soldiers who fought in World War I).

One thing you notice on such a walk is that almost every piece of pavement is cobbled with small white stones, each a few centimetres across. It shows a lot of effort has gone into making the place look attractive, with occasional patterns of black stone to add variety. Although very nice, such flooring does have a few problems - any slopes (such as Rua Augusto dos Santos) are pretty slippery as the stones are so smooth; if a stone comes out, more soon follow and crippling pot-holes can quickly develop. But then people should always watch where they are going (unless they are blind when Lisbon may be a problem - I'm sure the pedestrian crossings, for example, were silent).

Next was the Praça Restauradores, a large square which commemorates the country's liberation from 60 years of Spanish rule in 1640 (big obelisk, vast areas of patterned cobbles - very impressive) which soon lead onto Rossion Square (properly called Praça Dom Pedro IV). Found a website with a lovely 360 view of the place - behind the fountain in my photo is the Teatro National Dona Maria II (not sure about the language of the graffiti):


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