While our big bears where still fast asleep, R. M. and me set off for a day of aimless wandering around the beautiful neighbourhood of Bairro Alto and Alfama. Without a plan of where we wanted to go, we were roaming the streets and just let our curiosity take us down any little pretty alleyway that we wanted to explore further. This kinda sightseeing is undoubtedly the best way of getting to know a city. You find unknown areas, interesting places and hidden gems. First a “little” breakfast, i.e. a brioche the size of my head, and then off we went…
We explored Bairro Alto and hiked up the road that led us to Igreja de Sao Roque and Igreja de Sao Domingos. Two truly spectacular churches, so different to anything I have seen so far. And I have seen lots and lots and lots of churches, trust. Sao Domingos burnt down in 1959 and was only partially restored, still showing major signs of the fire damage. I loved the contradiction to all the pompousness you usually encounter in Catholic churches. Or as M. described it: “call of duty style”. The painted wooden ceiling in Sao Jorge was equally as impressive, but incomparable in terms of style.
Strolling between rows of houses with fantastic typical Portugese tiles, we eventually ended up on a platform with an incredible view over the entire city, its castle and the sea.
Eventually we ended up in Alfama, which is the perfect place to get lost. Left, right, no alley like the other, up, down, you never know what awaits you around the corner. Whether you get tangled up in someone’s laundry, discover a hub for graffiti/street art, find a street named after yourself or stumble upon an empty square with nothing but an orange tree – Alfama is full of hidden gems. It’s run down and not as classically pretty as the more touristy areas, but there’s so much unmasked beauty of the everyday life in it.
And now a bit of blue on blue on blue on blue action.