Europe, North America · 377 Days · 26 Moments · March 2017

Geneva and Portugal

14 March 2018

Street Art The cities of Porto and Lisbon seem to be very tolerant of street art/graffiti. It covers so much visible space including some private buildings. In some cases, one can see that the artist was truly creating an image. In other cases, it is simply a stylized signature or other item. It is surprising to see its existence on train cars, subway cars, trams etc.

12 March 2018

Photo Project While we were walking the narrow and twisting streets of one neighbourhood, we stumbled upon an interesting photos project. A photographer had, over quite a number of years, taken portraits of some of the residents of the neighbourhood. These had then been printed and mounted on the sides of homes, businesses, etc in the district giving you more of a sense of the community of people that lived there. Tourism is big in some parts of the city. I imagine people sometimes feel they lose their community to the transients from around the world come to see the sites.

11 March 2018

Valleys of Lisbon Where there are hills, there must be valleys. One’s legs get a good workout going down and then immediately up. You see images of two funiculars/trams here. If you know where you are going and are smart about your route, you can use these things to deal with the steepest hills. You will see an elderly woman standing on the left on one of these images with a steep sidewalk down and railings in the centre. It must help to keep you agile when you must face such hill climbing every day - whether you are 20 or 80. At some point, mobility will be a big issue as you age here
Views of the buildings and hills of Lisbon.
Dropped into an old beer hall for a drink and some tapas. The place was occupied starting 800 years ago by a religious order. It has burned down twice and was destroyed in the great Lisbon earthquake as well. In its current incarnation, it has been in the beer business for over 150 years. Very busy for a Sunday - it seemed to be a place for family groups to go out for Sunday lunch.
Sao Roque Church Two images from Sao Roque Church and then an image of the funicular nearest us. Note how the little train is covered with graffiti. While graffiti is common here, it is surprising to see that it is also permitted on public transit vehicles. We are staying about half way up the hill so we don’t end up using the funicular - we are either climbing up or down the hill to get to and from our place

9 March 2018

Night in Porto After dinner at TapaBento, we went for a stroll. It had rained earlier but had not showered for the whole time we were at dinner. The images show the Sao Bento train station, the cathedral and a couple side streets. Sad to report, a heavy shower came upon us. The evening stroll was cut short and we made our way home a little wetter for the adventure. (For the photographer, these images are handheld jpgs straight from my Fuji camera. Zero post processing. No tripod.)
TapaBento I am not usually the guy to take food pictures and write about a restaurant but Tapabento was very good. Situated in an alleyway beside the main train station in Porto, this small two floor restaurant is well known. Reservations are a must. We shared three dishes - the salad and shrimp are shown and there was one more with asparagus.
Casa da Musica We went on a tour of Porto’s concert hall. Very well done. The hall itself was very interesting. Big windows at either end but they were double windows that served to eliminate acoustic reflections from both sides. So, light came in but no sound from outside. And, inside, the windows were acoustically quite dead - they produced random reflections of the sound. A number of other things unique to the hall.

8 March 2018

Marionette Museum Lynn and I had fun at the marionette museum. It was focussed mostly on one man’s work in Porto and was very interesting. The works are not at all simple. His troupe did a number of Shakespeare plays and did them for adults with a symphony for music. Some plays included soloists and a full choir. Quite interesting. This art form very much for adults as well as children.

7 March 2018

Photo museum So this was interesting. A photo museum housed in the former jail. Really well done. There were a couple photo shows and an extended display of historical photo equipment. What a nice way to re purpose an old building with many sad and disturbing memories.
Churches of Porto Like the buildings, the churches of Porto are quite the places. Some have extensive tile on the exterior. Some have extensive tile on the interior. Most have extensive gold in the interior. Always disconcerting to see how much money was and is spent on physical infrastructure by an organization intended to support the poor and unfortunate. It seems these churches are increasingly supported by tourists. How many years before tourists stop going? I guess the younger tourist is likely less interested in these.
Livraria Lello Never before have I paid to enter a bookstore. J K Rowling lived and taught in Porto. This bookstore inspired something in the Harry Potter series. There was a seemingly endless parade of people getting their picture taken standing on this rather beautiful staircase. I needed to be a bigger Harry Potter fan to appreciate the moment,,
The lobby of the Sao Bento railway station in Porto has a lovely entrance with all these blue and white tiles telling a story of history.
The streets of Porto. Interesting to see what a city does when such a large area is a UNESCO heritage site. You find buildings with all the exterior walls being supported while a new building is built inside. Or, the building is being completely renovated inside. Old Porto will continue to look like old Porto even while the inside of the buildings are all fresh and modernized. In contrast, we seem to bulldoze anything over about 50 years old.

6 March 2018

Dinner the first night in Porto was a great experience - we were lucky to walk into a highly recommended place. We got the table right beside the chef - although there were only about 5 tables in the place. The server and the chef at Porto 4 were both very interactive and we had quite a few discussions with them about Porto etc. The server provides photography instruction for his day job so there were more things to talk about. He opened a dessert wine and gave us a glass to enjoy at the end of dinner.
Sunset on the Douro Our first afternoon in Porto ended with a lovely sunset on the Douro. Hard to tell from my iPad which of the pictures will be best but I post a few. There is a great promenade along the river here in the Porto side that is full of restaurants, bars etc. Many places to sit and watch the world go by. And, even with a temperature near 10, many were sitting there enjoying the suns rays - after a day filled with clouds and showers. To reach to top of the bridge you may climb many many stairs or ride the funicular. We chose to climb. A good work out for the heart.

5 March 2018

Our final day in Geneva. The first two images were taken during a tour of the UN building here. The sepia toned image is of art work on the walls and ceilings of the room the League of Nations met in. The room is still used for some meetings. Quite interesting to see the 8mages on the walls. The last two were from a walk along the lake - the jet d’eau and an image of a photo display along the lake. The photo display and story was of a project underway to build schools in some of the most remote parts of Afghanistan. Amazing to think that some of these kids walk 2 hours each way to school each day in order to learn. The story told of how, in particular, the girls were most highly motivated to learn as they saw it as a way to change their future more than the boys did.

4 March 2018

On the way to Geneva from Annecy, we took a detour to visit Yvoire, France. Advertised as one of the most beautiful medieval villages of France. What made it most beautiful now was the fact this was off season. We saw it more like it was than as it is full of tourists in the summer. As a side benefit, most of the shops were closed!! We stopped for crepes in Yvoire. Surprising how filling those things are. One picture shows the ice still hanging by the shore. Strong winds before we arrived (called the bise) combined with cold temperatures to coat many places along the lake in thick ice. On some posts near the water, the ice was up about 8 feet high.
I am telling many people nothing when I say Annecy is a beautiful town to visit. Some guide books suggest it as a small alternative to Venice given the canals that flow through the town. On this day, it was extra special. Geneva was still cloaked in cloud with temperatures near and below zero. A short drive over a mountain range brought us to bright sun with temperatures climbing above zero. Patios were full and streets were busy with people enjoying the day. I didn’t get a picture but in the way back I saw the spot where the clouds of Switzerland were coming over the ridge as fog only to dissipate rapidly on the French side.

3 March 2018

A trip with friends up Lake Geneva from Geneva through Versoix, Nyon and then to Lausanne. There were parts of the snow covered countryside that were quite beautiful as we drove. The pictures are mostly from Lausanne. Quite a bustling city.

2 March 2018

Geneva this morning ... so ... much ... snow.

1 March 2018

The flight to London Heathrow was uneventful - smooth until the approach through snow showers. Our flight to Geneva remains cancelled. We have been rebooked to Zurich - the only option today and will take a train from there. All of this adds about 8 hours to the total travel time. I misread the Zurich arrival terminal as our departure terminal so took Lynn on a long tour between terminals. Now, we only hope the Zurich flight is not cancelled.

28 February 2018

Travelling through the new international terminal in Calgary. It seems many of the seats have not been delivered yet?

23 February 2018

Packing begins for the next travel adventure. We will start in Switzerland which is currently influenced by the cold Arctic outbreak. So, we need a few warm clothes as snow is possible. And, then Portugal where we are more likely to see rain. A bit more challenging to pack this time. The pup doesn’t seem too concerned about packing questions!!

2 March 2017

A snowy day in Geneva but ok to walk around the old town, downtown and briefly to pass through Nations Plaza with the broken chair. It got a bit warm during the day and snow started to melt downtown leaving large puddles in spots. Wet feet were the order of the day. I didn’t know but the broken chair (one leg missing) was given as a gift to remember the impact of mines in the world.