Jumat, April 24, 2009

Welcome to Lisbon, Portugal

Bila bujangan eh juragan jalan-jalan

Lisbon has exchanged the sounds of the past - the cries of Galician water-carriers and of bakers bearing huge baskets of bread or the whistles of the knife-grinder - for the sounds of motor traffic and the clanging of trams.

Some traditions, however, remain. We can still see varinas (fish sellers) in the streets, dressed in long, black skirts, carrying their wares in baskets on their heads; and we can still hear sung in the little cafes of the medieval Alfama quarter the sad, romantic music called Fado.
Vessels tie up at quays open to the everyday life of the town, where the clang of the trolley cars blends with the sound of ships bells. At dawn, fishing boats deposit their catch at the towns front doorstep for noisy auction to Lisbon dealers, while the varinas wait to fill the baskets they peddle through the streets. Further within, the fish market gives way to the equally colourful and clamorous fruit and vegetable market.

Lisbon is built in a succession of terraces up the slopes of a range of low, rolling hills, which rise from the banks of the Tagus River and the Sea of Straw (Mar de Palha - a reference to the sheen of the water). Sections of the city vary considerably in height, especially in the older areas along the waters edge, offering splendid views of the river and the low cliffs that line the rivers southern shore.
Lisbon has a mild and equable climate, with a mean annual temperature of 63º F (17º C), which makes the city pleasant to visit at any time of the year.

Despite the modern changes, Lisbon, in many ways, retains the air of a 19th-century city and it truly has something for everyone!

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