Music is a funny thing and has a way of sticking in our memories. I challenge any American born between 1960 and 1975 to spell bologna without singing the Oscar Meyer ad song. See what I mean? And as I've mentioned my new iPod, this is my first ride with musical accompaniment. It's interesting.
Yesterday as I was riding through the Duoro Valley the song La Mer came on my iPod. I don't understand more than a word or two of it (in French) but like it anyway. I like lots of things I don't understand. I thought it was kind of funny looking at all this rock and humming a tune about the sea. The next song was by Louis Prima, Five Months, Two Weeks, Two days, about how long his baby has been gone. Of course being away from my wife, I thought about that, and was glad it will only be three days until she joins me in Spain.
Anyway, this morning I was route planning and nothing seemed to work out. I wanted to get out of Lisbon, but a museum I want to go to is closed Sunday before I can get there. I couldn't find a hotel I liked in my next planned stop.
So I'm sitting eating a great breakfast at this boutique hotel I got a great internet price on, when I notice the HUGE red gerber daisy on my table, a foot from my face. My wife's favorite flower. She'd love this hotel except for the late hours people in Lisbon keep. And then I'm reading the little paper the hotel printed and left on the table about Sunday in Lisbon, and what to do, and I realize I'm in one of Europe's great cities, a capitol that once ruled a global empire, and maybe I shouldn't just run out of town so fast. The weather for tonight isn't good, so I'll get out today, but maybe I'll relax and walk around a bit, take things a bit slower today. All my stops will work out better that way, too.
The minute I decide this, I can feel myself relaxing. I have another cup of coffee, and the next song on the radio is... Beyond the Sea, a remake of La Mer by Bobby Darin. Somehow it now seems appropriate, looking out the window at the great harbor of Lisbon.
Somewhere beyond the sea
somewhere waiting for me
my lover stands on golden sands
and watches the ships that go sailin'
The next song is Peggy Lee's Alright, Okay, You Win, which to my ear sounds just like Louis Prima's Five Weeks. (In fact Louis Prima recorded both). Strange to hear those two songs back to back today on a radio station in Lisbon (it was a radio station, I checked) after what I heard on my iPod on shuffle mode yesterday. Like I said, there are lots of things I don't understand, and I'm ok with that.
So I had a nice walk around Lisbon's downtown and walked up to the castle. I only recently learned of the great Lisbon earthquake of 1755, one of the most devastating natural disasters ever in terms of human loss, wrecking the capitol of a world power in a single day. The effects went so far as to lead intellectual thinkers around Europe to question if God could allow such a thing to happen, and often the conclusion they came to was that the earthquake disproved God's existence. I'm sure this wasn't the first time many of them had thought about this, but it was even stranger to think about this standing on the hill and overlooking the city. I find history very interesting, and I hope I'm not boring you.
Marble cobble stone sidewalks all through downtown. This one particularly appropriate for the capitol of a sea power nation.
I love the tile pictures that are all over Portugal on the outside of buildings. It's an art form I can relate to. I don't find iPod's cool, only useful, but tile pictures are cool.
This is the city from the harbor, about 1915 judging from the style of ships.
This map was on the wall outside my room in the hotel. I found it inspiring.
Now I've been to the WESTERNmost point, and the southernmost is just down the road, I'll be there on my way to Morocco. I don't care about the northernmost, too darn cold way up there. So...did I mention I'm seriously thinking of a ride from Germany to Istanbul (and back through the Greek islands on a ferry to Athens, them up through Croatia) in July? My bike and I go home to Ohio in September, and I will likely never get the chance to do this again. Anyone want to come along? I say Istanbul is the eastern
most (it's only 11pm!) point in Europe, but my wife disagrees. She says parts of Russia, like Moscow, are in Europe and farther east. I say Moscow is in Asia. In any case, if you're interested in a 3-week ride from Germany to the southern coast of Turkey from about July 8th to about the 28th, let me know. Good company is valuable.
I never did find the souvenir my friend wanted. Oh well.