Friday, August 30, 2013

3 Miles, 2 Convents, 1 Day

When we plan out our day, we have intentions of only being out a couple of hours.  I guess we should know by now that with variables of children and public transportation it is always going to be longer than a couple of hours.

On Thursday (Aug 29th), our goal was to visit the Carmo Convent and the Convent of Madre de Deus (which is now the National Tile Museum).  With temperatures in the 90's and no clouds in the sky, we walked and walked and walked some more.  In looking at Google Maps I see that we only walked around 3 miles, but I promise it seemed like 50!  I am going to blame it on the heat and the hills and not the fact that an exercise routine has not been apart of my present in quite some time now.
View from Santa Justa Lift which was right next to the Carmo Convent.
I was surprised when we made it to the Carmo Convent as we had stood outside of it's walls our first day in Lisbon and I was completely unaware.  The Carmo Convent was built between 1389 - 1423.  It was ruined by the 1755 Earthquake, and is the main trace of the great earthquake still visible in the city today.  The kids had a fun time playing and dancing and acting like crazies.  At one point an elderly lady stopped to talk to me, and at first I was mortified that she would be getting on to me about my children.  Instead she remarked about how beautiful they were in her broken English.  It was very nice.
Playing follow the leader around the grounds while climbing in and around as much as possible.
Playing tag, peek-a-boo, and red-light-green-light.
Amelie loved looking in any crevice and hole.
Liam wanted to touch and point out what he knew.
Here he is saying, "castle" as he pointed out this crest. 

Even Bobby joined the fun by "falling" in a well.
The square outside of the convent is one of Bobby's favorite in the city.  We stopped and enjoyed the live music followed by the antics of skateboarders.  Amelie and Liam had a moment of stardom while they were dancing to some accordion music.  I wonder how many pictures of my children are floating around the world right now.

We were able to walk through a less touristy part of Lisbon to the Convent of Madre de Deus.  There were definitely points in this walk where Bobby wanted to leave me behind because I was whining in my own way.

This is Bobby's theme for me for the day. ;)
Trying to turn over a new leaf of eating fruit instead ice-cream.
Liam almost demolished the entire thing...seeds, stem, and all!
Don't worry, I stopped him just in time!
However, we made it and I'm glad we made the trek.  We knew getting to the Tile Museum would be challenging as there is no Metro or Train stops nearby.  On one website that gives information about the museum it says, "a rather secluded venue which can only be reached by taxi."  They obviously don't know the Walkers!  When we arrived all hot and bothered, the ticketing staff laughed and was amazed at our efforts.  He pointed us to the nearest bus stop that would take us back into Lisbon to our train station.  I don't think I could have made it home without his help. ;)
The National Tile Museum (Museu Nacional do Azulejo) is housed in this beautifully built convent which dates back to the 18th century (again had to be rebuilt due to the Earthquake of 1755).   We were able to learn about the different methods the Portuguese have developed in painting on ceramic tiles.   We were able to see works that dated back to the 15th century.  My favorite was a work consisting of some 1,300 tiles and measuring 53 meters in length. The work renders the city of Lisbon as it used to look like before the 1755 earthquake, dating back to 1738.  As Bobby and I were admiring this work, we allowed our children to run around since it was an enclosed room with no other visitors.  At one point an Italian tourist joined us and laughed at the energy of our children.  She asked where we were from and we told her.  She then asked where we were originally from, like our roots.  Both of us don't really know.  She was dismayed at our answer and shocked.  It was the first time I have ever felt bad about not knowing the distant line of my heritage.  In our travels, we have definitely seen the deep roots that are entrenched in the places that we have visited.  After she left, Bobby and I laughed that we totally did not expect to have that conversation!
Amelie and Liam watching the work of cleaning old tiles.  There were bins and bins of tiles to be cleaned. 
Bobby teaching Amelie about the process of making the tiles.
Amelie and Liam like to play with cars.  They usually come out during our train rides or while waiting in line, but today they came out a lot while we were walking around.
In a vestibule, Amelie and Liam ran around the metal obstacles.
We allowed them to run off some energy since they rode for awhile in the stroller. 
Inside the chapel.  The paintings were floor to ceiling.  There was also tile artwork in various places.
A very ornate chapel.
Amelie and Liam sitting for one second in front of the panoramic view of pre-1755 Lisbon.

As we are walking around the city, I have been taking pictures of the tiles that are on the buildings.  
This is one of my favorite designs while at the museum.
 Can you tell which of the tiles below is the original artwork and which is an imposter?

This is the real one if you couldn't tell!
We ended the tour of the grounds in the garden.  We found turtles in the fountain.  Bobby picked up a small turtle that was swimming and both kids were in awe.  

We rode the bus as described above to the train station.  We made it home in one piece to work through the evening.  Busy day, but a good day.

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