Seville, Spain – historic bullring

Statue of bullfighter_newThe Real Maestranza bullring is a landmark in Seville and in Spanish bullfighting.

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With its impressive Baroque facade, one of the bullring’s most unique features is the slightly oval shape of the ring. This 18th century arena can hold 14,000.

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Above the matador’s entrance to the ring is seating for the Royal family.

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Heading down to the stables… there are no bulls, horses, or bull fights this time of year.

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The Chapel dedicated to the Virgen de la Caridad, where matadors pray before entering the ring.

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Quick sketch I did from a poster.

 

The Real Maestranza bullring has a small and interesting museum where we learned more about the world of bullfighting through the exhibitions of costumes, photographs, posters, and paintings. Our guide explained that bull fighting has historically been controversial in Spain, and was banned in Barcelona a few years ago.

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Antigue poster_new

Finishing up our tour early evening, we went for a walk around that area. Walking around Seville is a pleasure – a feast for the eyes.

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Historic tower along the riverfront.

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Residential area across the river.
Residential area across the river.
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Temptations abound…
Carefully wrapping up our chosen chocolates.
Carefully wrapping up our chosen chocolates.

Lisbon, Portugal – Walkabout

Florist shop
Florist shop

Lisbon is described as a safe harbor – one of the remaining havens in Europe for sophisticated culture and relaxation in a time of tourist destinations. This time of year anyway, there are no parking lots full of tour buses, and reservations are easy to get or not needed. Walking miles each day around the city’s steep and often narrow streets has been a delight. Day and night we have felt very comfortable and safe exploring.

Saturday and the laundry is drying.
Saturday and the laundry is drying.

Few places in the world can pride themselves on maintaining the tradition and artistic use of tiles. Each group of “azulejos” (from the Arab word azzelij meaning small polished stone), as they are called in Portuguese, tell a story or portray a tradition. They are used to decorate interiors, whole facades of buildings, churches, and streets.

Tiles decorate an antique book store.

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Bronze sculpture of Portugal’s famous writer and poet Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935).
Bronze sculpture of Portugal’s famous writer and poet Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935).
Famous cafe ‘A Brasileira’ in Chiado where Pessoa’s sculpture lives out on the terrace.
Famous cafe ‘A Brasileira’ in Chiado where Pessoa’s sculpture lives out on the terrace.

The best way to travel is to feel’ Pessoa wrote, ‘so feel everything in every possible way.’ Pessoa was born in Lisbon in 1888. The story is that apart from his high school years, which he spent in South Africa, he lived in Lisbon without a break, without taking public holidays, without traveling abroad. Instead inventing many lives (and cities) out of his own. Pessoa spent a lot of his time in cafes, where he wrote and drank a lot . He died in 1935, aged 47.

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City window garden.
Pedestrian friendly area near our hotel - Brown's Downtown.
Pedestrian friendly area near our hotel – Brown’s Downtown.
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Portion of aqueduct with a tile fresco.
Natural History Museum
Natural History Museum’s cool facade.
Tram ride anyone?
Tram ride anyone?

Strolling back to our hotel after dinner we come across the lookout that evaded us during the day… in the distance is the Castelo de Sao Jorge – tomorrow’s destination.

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Castle at night_new

We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place, we stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there.”     ~ Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon

You may enjoy our other posts on Lisbon:

Lisbon, Portugal – Arrival/Chegada
Lisbon, Portugal – Mercado da Ribeira

Lisbon’s Rua Nova do Carvalho was cited in a New York Times travel article – Favorite Streets in 12 European Cities. Closed to traffic, painted a cheerful shade of pink it is Lisbon’s most bustling new party strip… and it is near our one of our favorite food markets – Mercado da Ribeira.

Lisbon, Portugal – Mercado da Ribeira

Mercado da Ribeira, Lisbon, Portugal

Mercado da Ribeira (market near the river) is a Lisbon treasure, and the city’s largest open food market. Housed in a beautiful building topped with a Moorish-style dome, the food market sells everything from inky octopus and fresh seafood to fresh fruit, and funeral flowers. But, beginning in May 2014 the gastronomical area opened, representing the best restaurants and chefs of Lisbon. The area has about 30 spaces for food vendors and seating for around 750 in the center area. Being foodies and on vacation, this was the focus of our attention… thanks for the tasty tip Lisa and Jeff!

Mercado da Ribeira, Lisbon, Portugal

The idea is brilliant: you grab the food and drinks from one or several restaurants of your choice (can be different than your family and friends), and find a seat in the food area where you’ll be able to interact with everyone there.

Mercado da Ribeira, Lisbon, Portugal

Mercado da Ribeira, Lisbon, Portugal

Spit roasted pork belly immediately caught our eye, as did the salads from another booth…

Mercado da Ribeira, Lisbon, Portugal

With delicious results…

Mercado da Ribeira, Lisbon, Portugal

And still room for a sweet or two from Arcadia…

Mercado da Ribeira, Lisbon, Portugal

Mercado da Ribeira, Lisbon, Portugal

We visited a second time on a Saturday night and the food area was overflowing. Seats were full, the most popular stands had lines and the atmosphere was dynamic. Having already eaten dinner, we tried some chocolate cake and stood at the end of a bar-like table. Conversation started flowing when one of the guys heard we were from Seattle – he had seen the recent Seahawks game leading up to to the Superbowl, and was very excited to compare notes with Americans, and Washingtonians at that! Turns out he and his friends are from Iceland, and two of his buddies are competing in the European Open Jiu-Jitsu Championship. Gotta love travel!

The Lisbon Connection is a great resource for travelers in Lisbon with articles and reviews on just about anything having to do with the city. Check it out next time you are traveling to Lisbon. Their article on Cervejaria ‘Ramiro‘ prompted us to check out this very popular seafood restaurant. Serving superb fresh seafood at a really good price, it’s always crowded with tables full of locals, all having a great time. The atmosphere is loud and exciting.

Cervejaria Ramiro
Cervejaria Ramiro
Sampling the seafood at Cervejaria Ramiro
Sampling the seafood at Cervejaria Ramiro

You may also enjoy our other posts on Lisbon:
Lisbon, Portugal – Arrival/Chegada
Lisbon, Portugal – Walkabout

Lisbon’s Rua Nova do Carvalho was cited in a New York Times travel article – Favorite Streets in 12 European Cities. Closed to traffic, painted a cheerful shade of pink it is Lisbon’s most bustling new party strip… and it is just a few blocks from Mercado da Ribeira.

Lisbon, Portugal – Arrival/Chegada

From a spectacular sunrise in Vancouver, BC to a cold and gray Frankfurt morning, to a mild but drizzly day in Lisbon, Portugal… we have traveled far over the last 24 hours. Energized from the excitement of our arrival in Lisbon, the adventure begins as we take the City Centre bus #1 to our hotel – Brown’s Downtown. Making our way to the Rossio stop, Jay writes, “the neighborhoods pass, like waves, each with their own character and pulse – palm trees, cars parked on cobblestone sidewalks, ancient tiled facades, monuments at many intersections.” We sense the history and grandeur of Lisbon.

Arco da Rua Augusta, Lisbon, Portugal
Arco da Rua Augusta, Lisbon

After a siesta and consult with the friendly and helpful hotel staff, we head out for the evening with a loose walking plan and a destination for dinner.

Church on Rue da Alfandega, Lisbon, Portugal
Church on Rue da Alfandega, Lisbon
Populi Caffe, Lisbon, Portugal
Arriving in the square, Populi Caffe in the far corner.
Populi Caffe and Restaurant floor tiles, Lisbon, Portugal
Populi Caffe and Restaurant floor tiles.

Recommended by our hotel concierge, Populi is a short walk away, and very welcoming as we approach it across the square. Beginning with glasses of red wine from the Douro region of Portugal (graceful, with notes of black cherry), and a burlap sack of focaccia and peasant bread we settle right in. Roban, our waiter, guides us through the menu and we enjoy his friendly conversation. After a plate of charcuteries, Jay has a very nicely cooked and tasty duck risotto with fresh rosemary & thyme. I enjoy lighter fare, a bowl of the traditional sausage, potato and kale soup… potatoes pureed into the broth with little chunks of sausage and a chiffonade of kale – perfectly executed.

Populi Caffe and Restaurant in Lisbon, Portugal
Art and sculpture in the Populi Caffe and Restaurant.

At the end of the meal, Roban brings us complimentary glasses of Ginjinha – a delicious Portuguese sour cherry-infused liqueur – popular in Lisbon.

Populi Caffe and; Restaurant, Lisbon, Portugal
View from the balcony
Populi Caffe and Restaurant, Lisbon, Portugal
Sophisticated interior of Populi.

Wandering back to the hotel after dinner, enjoying the fresh air and quiet energy of the city, a sliver of moon appears as we round the corner.

Moon in Lisbon, Portugal

You may also enjoy our other posts on Lisbon:
Lisbon, Portugal – Mercado da Ribeira
Lisbon, Portugal – Walkabout