I took a tumble this morning, right in the middle of a busy street. Lisbon’s roads and walkways are paved, oddly, with small squares of tile and marble, making them both slippery and uneven (see corroborating photo of the scene of my misery below). Boom, down I went! People rushed to help me, leading me off the road. A woman, cigarette dangling from her lips, used her kleenexes to mop the blood flowing from my elbow. A couple pointed to my glasses in the street. I turned to look just as a car smashed them, bending the frames. No matter how much I adjusted the frames, my vision was still blurry! When I thanked the couple who told me about them, they looked at me pityingly; I thought perhaps there was blood on my face. I trudged back to my hostel for a bandaging and my spare pair, and when I took off my glasses to try to do more adjusting, I discovered the lenses had been popped out. No wonder those people looked at me weirdly. No amount of frame adjustment was going to help me see better. The hostel folks patched me up, and off I went – gingerly! – just in time to catch my appointment with a walking tour company. As it happened, I was the only person to have booked this time slot, so it turned into my very own personal tour.
The friendly and knowledgeable guide led me through various neighborhoods, up and down the hilly city, pointing out things I would have otherwise missed. I tried ginjinha, sour cherry liquor. I had lunch (fig and Gorgonzola pizza) at a large and lively food court full of Portuguese specialties. And I wandered some more. And I think that’s it for today. My knee and elbow hurt. And I have a bottle of wine and a good fat book, The Little Friend.
Fun facts: Lisboetas are also know as Little Lettuces, and the symbol of Lisbon is a ship with two ravens.
Here are some photos (none from museums!):
Live all you can. It’s a mistake not to.