On Wednesday I took a train south from Porto to Lisbon and spent the afternoon hanging around in the hostel chatting to fellow residents and failing miserably to get round to building my Lego model for Guimaraes. Every hostel has a different vibe and of course varies with the changing residents, but this one is small enough (but not too small) and sufficiently supplied with welcoming communal areas to engender a very friendly atmosphere.
So on the evening I arrived I got chatting to an older Amercan man who had been travelling with his grown up sons (they’d cycled here on hired bikes from Porto) and who had cooked far too much pasta and veggie omelette for their tea and shared their spare food, along with their wine, with me. George is a Democrat voting Vietnam veteran and we talked politics. Then later, I joined a Brazilian guy who lives in London, a Dutch girl and an American girl on the sofas, talking about languages and demolishing the bottle of port the Brazilian guy, Abner, had bought thinking it was wine. Tonight (Thursday) we’ve all had caipirinhas made for us by Abner and I’ve discussed gin with a Serbian who lives in Vienna (he prefers Beafeater to Gordons, I’ve never compared them sufficiently to have an opinion) and joined in the guitar singalong with the group of eight English interrailers.
I did make it out of the hostel to visit the world heritage site in Lisbon today though. The site comprises two early 16th century buildings not far from one another and a short tram ride from the city centre. Both are important examples of the Manueline style which is a specifically Portuguese architecture at the transition from gothic to baroque incorporating influences from their voyages of discovery and maritime symbols such as ropes and armillary spheres.
I loved both buildings and took loads of photographs of intricate fluting on columns and characterful carvings.
The tower is a small fortress built as part of the defences of the entrance to the port and has cannons in the lower section and ceremonial rooms in the tower. It was a hot sunny day but delightfully breezy by the water so I had a sit down on many of the stone window seats as I made my way up floor by floor to the roof.
The tower was my chosen Lego subject today. I’ve had to sacrifice all the delicate stone detail so it’s not that great: