TCD Tidbit #17 - Locations in Portugal

by Arturo Perez-Reverte

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TCD Tidbit #17 - Locations in Portugal

Unread postby Liz » Wed Jul 23, 2008 2:38 pm

Pg.135: With only a few minutes to go before the departure of the express train to Lisbon, he saw the girl.

Pg. 140-141: HE SPENT LESS THAN fifty minutes in Lisbon. Just enough time to get from Santa Apolonia Station to Rossio Station. An hour and half later he stepped onto the platform in Sintra, beneath a sky full of low clouds that blurred the tops of the melancholy gray towers of the castle of Da Pena farther up the hill. There was no taxi in sight, so he walked to the small hotel that was opposite the National Palace with its two large chimneys…..Corso negotiated a price, and a few minutes later he was passing under the lacy baroque stonework of Regaleira Tower.

Pg. 167: AS SOON AS HE got back to the hotel, he made several phone calls. First he dialed the Lisbon number in his notebook……They agreed to meet in an hour and a half, the time it would take the Portuguese to travel the fifty kilometers to Sintra.

Pg. 171: It was Corso’s turn to smile. He’d met Amilcar Pinto four years ago. Some stolen books had appeared on stands at the Ladra Book Fair—a bad business. Corso came to Lisbon to identify them, Pinto made a couple of arrests, and en route back to their owner a few very valuable books disappeared forever. To celebrate the beginning of a fruitful friendship, Corso and Pinto got drunk together in the fados bars of the Barrio Alto. The former paratroop sergeant reminisced about his time in the colonies, told how he’d nearly had his balls blown off at the battle of Gorongosa. The two men ended up singing “Grandola Vila Morena” at the top of their voices on Santa Luzia. Illuminated by the moon, the district of Alfama lay at their feet with the Tagus beyond it, wide and gleaming like a sheet of silver. The dark shapes of boats, moving very slowly, headed out toward the Belem tower and the Atlantic.

Lisbon

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Situated on the north banks of the River Tagus, the charm of Lisbon exists in its strong links to the past; renovated palaces, magnificent churches and an impressive castle mirror the city's rich cultural heritage. Its eclectic blend of neighborhoods, culture and architecture distinguish this capital city uniquely from the other European capitals and make it a truly fascinating and comprehensive city to visit.

Lisbon (Portuguese: Lisboa) is the capital and largest city of Portugal. It is also the seat of the district of Lisbon and capital of the Lisbon region. Its municipality, which matches the city proper excluding the larger continuous metropolis, has a municipal population of 564,477 in 84.8 km² (33 sq mi), while the Lisbon Metropolitan Area in total has around 2.8 million inhabitants, and 3.34 million people live in the broader agglomeration of Lisbon Metropolitan Region (includes cities ranging from Leiria to Setúbal). Due to its economic output, standard of living, and market size, the Grande Lisboa (Greater Lisbon) sub-region is considered the second most important financial and economic center of the Iberian Peninsula. The Lisbon region is the wealthiest region in Portugal and it is well above the European Union's GDP (Gross Domestic Product) per capita average - it produces 45% of the Portuguese GDP. It is also the political center of the country, as seat of the government and residence of the Head of State.

Lisbon was under Roman rule from 205 BC; Julius Caesar made it a municipium called Felicitas Julia, adding to the name Olissipo. Ruled by a series of Germanic tribes from the 5th century, it was captured by Moors in the 8th century. In 1147, the Crusaders under Afonso Henriques reconquered the city for the Christians. Since then it has been a major political, economic and cultural center of Portugal. Unlike most capital cities, Lisbon's status as the capital of Portugal has never been granted or confirmed officially—by statute or in written form. Its position as the capital was formed through constitutional convention, making its position as de facto capital a part of the Constitution of Portugal.

Lisbon hosts two agencies of the European Union, namely, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) and the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA). The Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP) is also headquartered in Lisbon.

Lisbon is one of the mildest European capitals. Spring is cool to warm (between 6°C/43°F and 28°C/82°F) with sunshine and also some showers. Summer months are mostly sunny, dry, hot with a little breeze with temperatures between 16°C/61°F to 37°C/99°F. Autumn is mild and unsettled with temperatures between 8°C/46°F and 23°C/73°F and winters are typically rainy and cool with some sunny days (temperatures between 3°C/37°F and 18°C/64°F), usually staying at an average of 12°C/54°F. Snowfall is a very rare occurrence — Lisbon briefly witnessed snow on January 29, 2006 and January 28, 2007 thanks to cold waves from the Arctic that affected Europe in those days. Before 2006, no snowfall had been registered for over forty years, just some sleety days. On average, there are 3300 sunny hours per year and 100 days with rain per year. Lisbon's climate is strongly influenced by the Gulf Stream.

Santa Apolonia Station, Lisbon:

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Bairro Alto

Bairro Alto, is a picturesque working class quarter in central Lisbon dating from the 16th century (one of the oldest districts in Lisbon) that has traditionally been the city's bohemian haunt of artists and writers. It functions as a residential, shopping and entertainment district. Since the 1990s, Bairro Alto has gone through major changes. Lisbon's city council has made extensive repairs, and dozens of new restaurants, clubs and trendy shops were opened. Many young people have moved into the area. Cars have been banned (except for residents and emergency vehicles). Today, Bairro Alto (or just Bairro) is the heart of Lisbon's youth culture and nightlife. Lisbon's punk, gay, heavy metal music, goth, hip hop and reggae scenes all have the Bairro as their home, due to the number of clubs and bars dedicated to each of them. During the day, the Bairro is a traditional district where older people shop for groceries, and the younger generations visit art galleries, bookshops, or artsy gift shops.

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Fado Bars

Portugal has a diverse musical culture - from the French Provençal strain in the folk music of the north of the country, to Fado, the country's national musical treasure.

There are two basic styles of Fado: Lisbon and Coimbra. In Lisbon it is always sung by a solo performer, while in Coimbra it is often performed by groups of male university students. They are accompanied by two guitarists, one playing the melody on a twelve-stringed Portuguese guitar (descendant of the English guitar introduced into Portugal by the British community in Porto in the 19th century), and the other supplying the rhythm on the six-stringed viola. The intensely melancholic songs are usually about love, woes, and pains, or express sadness and longing for things that were lost or that were never accomplished, but in Coimbra, it also occasionally contains humor and political undertones.

Even musical experts cannot agree on the true origin of Fado. Although the word comes from the Latin fatum, meaning fate, some believe its drawn-out laments are a result of a legacy of the Moorish occupation. Others say it developed from an African dance in Brazil, and according to another theory, the melancholy character of the music evolved from Portuguese seafarers who sang of home during their long absenses at sea.

It emerged as a bohemian art form in Lisbon's working-class districts of Alfama and Mouraria in the late 18th century, and gradually moved up-market. It became popular with the singer Maria Severa, who died at the age of 26 and later became the subject of Portugal's first sound movie in 1931. To this day, female performers wear a black shawl in her memory and her life story has been the influence of several Fado songs, poems, novels, and plays.

It was Amalia Rodrigues in the 20th century who made Fado known beyond Portugal, performing all over Europe, Japan, South America, and even in the United States in New York in the 1950s. She's been credited with defining the style of the music; and when she died in 1999, the government declared three days of national mourning and awarded her a state funeral. As a national icon, she is buried in Lisbon's National Pantheon.

Mariza, a more contemporary Fado artist, has won the Best European Act at the BBC World Music Awards, and is considered the new "Queen of Fado." In 2007 she went on a world tour that included a well-publicized concert in Los Angeles' Walt Disney Hall (with a stage designed by Frank Gehry just for her concert), and an appearance on the David Letterman Show.

According to golisbon.com, when visiting Lisbon, spending a night at a "casa de Fado" or Fado restaurant is an essential experience. There are many in the Bairro Alto district, but the most authentic are found in Alfama.

Clube de Fado

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Owned by a Fado guitarist, this is one of the most atmospheric Fado clubs. Located close to the cathedral in Alfama, it has an intimate dining room that maintains ancient stone columns, arches, and a Moorish well.
The food and the performers are traditional, although younger stars also perform.


Santa Luzia

Santa Luzia hill is situated about 5 km north of Viana do Castelo. It has an astonishing view of the city and its surroundings (including the river and the sea). When you are in the city, you may not miss the hill. The beautiful Basilica was finished in 1926 and it is based on Sacre Coeur (Paris).

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Alfama

The oldest district of Lisbon is Alfama. It was largely formed by the Arabs that were in the Iberian peninsula from the 8th century. Indeed, its name originally derives from Arab Al-hamma, meaning baths. When the city started to grow, it did so towards the west, on the other side of the hill now crowned by the Castelo São Jorge. Since people were afraid of earthquakes, the rich abandoned the Alfama neighborhood, leaving Alfama to the fishermen. Alfama actually survived the worst earthquake of Lisbon in 1755. Still now, the street plan is pleasantly chaotic with a structure much like a kasbah in Moorish countries. Alfama has for a long time been run down, but it is currently undergoing a facelift.

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The Tagus River

The Tagus (Latin Tagus, Spanish Tajo, Portuguese Tejo) is the longest river on the Iberian Peninsula. It measures 1,038 kilometers in length, 716 km of which are in Spain, 47 km as border between Portugal and Spain and the remaining 275 km in Portugal, where it empties into the Atlantic at Lisbon. It drains an area of 80,100 km² (the second largest in the Iberian peninsula after the Douro). It follows a very constricted course for much of its length, but after Almourol it enters a vast alluvial valley prone to flooding. Today the Alcantara Dam regulates much of the river's flow.

The source of the Tagus is the Fuente de García, in the Albarracín mountains. All its major tributaries enter the Tagus from the right (north) bank. The main cities it passes through are Aranjuez, Toledo and Talavera de la Reina in Spain, and Abrantes, Santarém, Almada and Lisbon in Portugal.

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LIZ NOTE: On the river is the city's most stylish club, "Lux." It is partly owned by John Malkovich and often hailed as Europe's best-designed club.


Belem Tower

Commissioned by Manuel I, the tower of Belem was built as a fortress in the middle of the Tagus in 1515-21. Starting point for the navigators who set out to discover the trade routes, this Manueline gem became a symbol of Portugal's great era of expansion. The real beauty of the tower lies in the decoration of the exterior. Adorned with rope carved in stone, it has openwork balconies, Moorish-style watchtowers and distinctive battlements in the shape of shields. The Gothic interior below the terrace, which served as a storeroom for arms and a prison, is very austere; but the private quarters in the tower are worth visiting for the loggia and the panorama.

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Sintra

Sintra is situated in the north side of Serra of Sintra and offers numerous sights to visitors. Even the Portuguese kings had their summer residence there. You can find enchanted villas, gardens with rampant plants, fairy-tale castles in the middle of green mountain slopes. This recreational area isn't only popular for tourists but also for inhabitants of Lisbon. Long streams of cars from Lisbon are formed particularly on weekends. Hans Christian Andersen described Sintra as "the most beautiful place of Portugal".

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Rossio Station, Sintra:

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Sintra National Palace

This old town is dominated by the Sintra National Palace (Palácio Nacional de Sintra), which can be seen from far away by its gigantic conical chimneys. It is the best preserved mediaeval Royal Palace in Portugal, having been inhabited more or less continuously at least from the early 15th up to the late 19th century. It is an important tourist attraction and is part of the Cultural landscape of Sintra, designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Consisting of various bodies built during the course of successive epochs on the so-called "Chão da Oliva", the Paço da Vila de Sintra is one of the most important examples of regal architecture in Portugal and for that reason is classified as a National Monument. This gradual multiplication of buildings, with different styles, is largely responsible for the enigmatic enchantment of this ancient palace, dominated by great twin chimneys atop the kitchen. After the Reconquest, the Palace passed into the possession of the Crown and was considerably enlarged, not only in the reign of Dom Dinis - who in 1281 laid down that the conservation of the Palace should be entrusted to the enfranchised Moors of Colares -but especially in the reigns of Dom João I (1385-1433) and Dom Manuel (1495-1521). Of special note, apart form the elements of Gothic, Mudejar, Manueline and Renaissance architecture, are the wonderful azulejos (coloured glazed tiles) from the 15th and 16th Centuries in various halls and patios, and in the Royal Chapel.

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Castle of Da Pena

The Pena National Palace (Palácio da Pena, or "Castelo da Pena" as it is more commonly known) is the oldest palace of the European Romanticism. It is located in the civil parish of São Pedro de Penaferrim, municipality of Sintra, Portugal. The palace stands on the top of a hill above the town of Sintra, and on a clear day it can be easily seen from Lisbon and much of its metropolitan area. It is a national monument and constitutes one of the major expressions of 19th century Romanticism in the world.

The Palace dates back to 1839, when the King Consort Dom Fernando II of Saxe Coburg-Gotha (1816-1885) bought the ruins of the Hieronymite Monastery of Nossa Senhora da Pena and started to adapt it for use as a residence, according to his Romantic taste. As his director of the works, Baron von Eschwege put into effect the King's revivalist ideas and round the restored ruins of the monastery raised a majestic pastiche inspired by the palaces and castles of Bavaria. Fanciful to an extreme, the architectural fabric of Pena finds much of its inspiration in the Moorish, Gothic and Manueline motifs of Portuguese art, as well as in the Wagnerian spirit of the Schinkel Castles of Central Europe.

The palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal. It is also used for state occasions by the President of the Portuguese Republic and other government officials.

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Quinta da Regaleira


I thought this description of Quinta da Regaleira most interesting and also fitting for El Club Dumas. It is from a website that appears to believe in parallel worlds. http://passages.ebbs.net/fiches/quintreen.htm:

This assumption is the last about which spoke Eduardo de Siza at the time of the intervention that he made at the conference of Coïmbra devoted to the Obscure Cities. The splendid description of the place and its probable relations with the obscure world is by it only extremely eloquent.

“Quinta da Regaleira is a manor built in Sintra by Luigi Manini and controlled by António Carvalho Monteiro, an expert billionaire in Natural Philosophy, dependent on the freemasonry and to which one gave the nickname of "Monteiro of the Million". In addition to the scenographic beauty of its romantic architecture, this palate is a true initiatory temple, of a great symbolic and mystic coherence system. Since the octagonal room which evokes the Temple of Solomon, while passing by the church where are closed in harmony the catholic, templiers and freemasons symbols or the luminous Delta of which the eye of God surmounts a flanked gate of sculptures resembling to petrified daemons, all reference to the Occulte. But the most attractive in this esoteric labyrinth is the initiatory well. According to a course contrary to that of Giovanni Battista in the Tower, it leads us from darkness to the light through a spiral staircase, thus leading us from surface to a vast underground cave that the owner had named ‘the Cathedra’".

It would seem that La Quinta da Regaleira belongs today to a Japanese company which holds it closed, thus preventing any investigations...


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Regaleira Tower:

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Sources:

http://www.golisbon.com

http://www.lisbon-guide.info/

http://passages.ebbs.net/fiches/quintreen.htm

http://photos.igougo.com/pictures-photo ... Luzia.html

http://www.portugalvirtual.pt/_tourism/costadelisboa/

www.portugal-ferien.net/sintra_engl.htm

http://www.traveladventures.org/contine ... ma01.shtml

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Unread postby fansmom » Wed Jul 23, 2008 6:40 pm

Mariza, a more contemporary Fado artist, has won the Best European Act at the BBC World Music Awards, and is considered the new "Queen of Fado." In 2007 she went on a world tour that included a well-publicized concert in Los Angeles' Walt Disney Hall (with a stage designed by Frank Gehry just for her concert), and an appearance on the David Letterman Show.


Ready for a Twilight Zone flashback, Liz? When you and DITHOT were doing the tidbits for ATD and there was a bit about Los Angeles, I posted this:
Posted: Sat Oct 20, 2007 9:42 pm Post subject:
Liz wrote:
Parlez wrote:
Great report, DitHot, and shades of TPAOL there with the Cossacks! There was a wonderful documentary on Frank Gehry, the architect of the Disney Concert Hall, on PBS not long ago. His work is amazing. I forget how much it cost to build the DCH, but it was a staggering amount, no doubt due to the fact that his designs really push the boundaries of conventional construction techniques. The result is beautiful, though, innit?

It's certainly eye catching and different--a deppinate work of art and very appealing to the eye!
fansmom wrote:
And here's my Twilight Zone comment of the day, Liz. Last week I saw a fantastic concert by Mariza, the "reigning queen of fado" (traditional Portuguese songs). Next Sunday she's at the Disney Concert Hall, and for that one night, Frank Gehry himself is redoing the interior of the hall to look like a Portuguese taverna, as well as designing her costume.

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Unread postby Parlez » Wed Jul 23, 2008 7:12 pm

Doo-doo-doo-doo Doo-doo-doo-doo...:hypnotic: Nice Twilight Zone moment there, fansmom!
I LUV Portugal! I've been lucky enough to visit twice, and to experience a fado performance both times. It's a beautiful country...there's something about the light there that's truly amazing, unlike any place I've been.
Thanks for the informative tidbit and the lovely pics, Liz! :cool:
"Belay that! ...Do something else!" ~ Hector Barbossa
savvy avi by mamabear

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Unread postby fansmom » Wed Jul 23, 2008 7:17 pm

Parlez wrote:Doo-doo-doo-doo Doo-doo-doo-doo...:hypnotic: Nice Twilight Zone moment there, fansmom!
I LUV Portugal! I've been lucky enough to visit twice, and to experience a fado performance both times. It's a beautiful country...there's something about the light there that's truly amazing, unlike any place I've been.
Thanks for the informative tidbit and the lovely pics, Liz! :cool:
Yeah, Parlez, I had a little difficulty editing that quote to get your part in. Hope it's not too confusing.

Portugal does look lovely; I'd like to go there someday. Have you been to the Azores?

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Unread postby Parlez » Wed Jul 23, 2008 7:34 pm

fansmom wrote:
Parlez wrote:Doo-doo-doo-doo Doo-doo-doo-doo...:hypnotic: Nice Twilight Zone moment there, fansmom!
I LUV Portugal! I've been lucky enough to visit twice, and to experience a fado performance both times. It's a beautiful country...there's something about the light there that's truly amazing, unlike any place I've been.
Thanks for the informative tidbit and the lovely pics, Liz! :cool:
Yeah, Parlez, I had a little difficulty editing that quote to get your part in. Hope it's not too confusing.

Portugal does look lovely; I'd like to go there someday. Have you been to the Azores?

No, I haven't been to the Azores, but one time on a trans-Atlantic crossing from New York all of us were encouraged to get on deck and look for their shadowy island shapes coming out of the water. The first sailor to spot them got to be the first to shout 'Land HO!' I wasn't that sailor, but I'll always have a soft spot in my seafaring heart for the Azores.
:sailboat:
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Unread postby gemini » Wed Jul 23, 2008 9:12 pm

Wow Lisbon is a very beautiful city. Look at all those beautiful red roofs.
It sounds like a great place to visit. Parlez, you are a lucky lady. I would love to see some of our Johnny tour destinations but I don't want to sail to get there, I have no sea legs.
Is that modern looking building the correct photo for the John Malkovich club?
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Unread postby Liz » Wed Jul 23, 2008 10:06 pm

Wow! Lots to comment on here.

First, Gemini, I did not provide any pics for Lux. But here's one.

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The pic I provided is of a Fado bar.

Fansmom, I can't believe how many TZ moments we have had, you and I. And now Parlez joins the club.

And speaking of the Azores.....My DH's parents were living there when I met him. His dad was the AF colonel on the islands at the time.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.


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