The City on Seven Hills

2:29 pm

Lisbon, Portugal

My theory when traveling has always been walk long enough and far enough and you'll eventually stumble on all that you need to see. Or at least have time to.

This morning I set out on foot in search of Marquis of Pombal Square, named after the man credited with rebuilding Lisbon after the devastating earthquake of 1755 that claimed the lives of some 30,000 people. He also managed to find time to expel the Jesuits, which goes to show you nobody is perfect.

Would you believe I failed to stumble upon my destination without a map or real sense of where I was going? Instead, I waved the white flag and hailed a cab. I was whisked through narrow streets lined with people heading to work before discovering I wasn't particularly close but had at least been on the right path. This by the way offered some solace. The older I get the less I have qualms, if any, about accepting "small victories."

Marquis of Pombal Square sits atop Liberdade Avenue, which is essentially the 5th Avenue of Lisbon. Anyone looking to go "Gangnam Style"in the Portuguese capital will not be disappointed. The street is teeming with name brands like Aramani and Hermes. Even the young professionals I saw heading off to lunch looked as though they'd just stepped out of a fall catalog.

Eventually I boarded a brand new Hop On Hop Off red tour bus, a mode of transportation I'm now as well versed in navigating as my Honda Accord. Similar to my staple blue blazer and scarf the bus has started to somehow define my travels, if not, my very being.

In the 80-minute ride I learned loads about the city on 7 hills. Like most parts of Europe it was at one point a revolving door to visitors who not so politely insisted on hanging their hat in this coastal city. For anyone who has had the great fortune of visiting Lisbon it's easy to see why.

The Phoenicians, the Moors, and of course, the Romans all bought their "I love Portugal" t-shirts before deciding the place was theirs. Then in 1494, the Spanish and Portuguese empires decided to amicably divide the world between them through the Treaty of Tordesillas. How thoughtful.

If ever there were greater evidence that men were in charge of something I've yet to find it.

Off to Porto tomorrow...

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