Portugal

Lisbon: Navigating the Old and the New

Lisbon

Portuguese Republic

May 13, 2013 

Bom dia! 

Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, is the oldest city in Western Europe.  Lisbon predates London, and Paris, and Rome by hundreds of years. 

Even earlier, there is evidence of Neolithic settlement, Pre-Celts, Celts and Phoenicians. 

The Romans ventured to Portugal.  They were followed by Germanic tribes from Europe, Moors from North Africa, Crusaders from Britannia and the Spanish from over the mountains. 

Lisbon lies along the sheltered harbor of the broad Tagus River.  The Tagus and the other rivers in Portugal that flow from east to west into the Atlantic provided the embarkation points of adventure, trade, discovery, conquest and colonization.  

Coimbra: Roman Ruins and Mosaics

Coimbra

Lusitania

XXIX Maii MMXIII

Salve,

The Ancient Romans sure left us a lot of good stuff.  

Derived from Latin, the Romance languages, for example.   The five most widely spoken are: 

Italian, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Romanian.  (The French don’t have a monopoly on ”romance.”) 

But let’s not forget other Latin derived languages: 

Aragonese, Aromanian, Arptan, Asturian, Catalan (Recently I met a man from Barcelona who insisted on speaking his native language of Catalan.), Corsican, Emiliano-Romagnolo, Friulan, Galician, Ladro, Leonese, Lombard, Mirandese, Neapolitan, Occitan, Piedmontese, Romanish, Sardinian, Sicilian, Venetian and Walloon.  (Of course, you know where they speak Walloon to this very day?) 

Alto Alentejo to Beira Baixa

Alto Alentejo – Beira Baixa

Portugal

May 24, 2013 

On the road. 

From the Upper Alentejo Province, across the Río Tejo to Lower Baixi

 

Let’s face it.   I can read a hundred guidebooks.  But as I am an independent traveler with a life-style part casual or “cavalier” as I was once told, and part impulsive, part impatient, part lazy, and even somewhat disorganized, I never really never know what I’ll find, when I go wherever it is I decide to go on any given day.   That is, if I decide to go anywhere.  Why not just hang around awhile? Admire the scenery.  Order a coffee.   Chat. 

The Alentejo: A Trio of Castles

The Alentejo

Portugal

May 23, 2013

A Trio of Castles

The Alentejo Region in central Portugal is the largest region in the country.   It stretches from the Atlantic coast to the Spanish border.  As a result of its history and strategic location, the Alentejo is dotted with medieval castles.

I drove through the central and eastern areas of Alentejo, across plains and over hills, to cities, towns and villages.  The country roads and the modern highways are all excellent and mostly empty of traffic.

I visited three castles.

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