Monday, 31 August 2015

Lisbon, Day 7, August 31, 2015

The fresh market is closed today. I’m starting to go through withdrawal. Today is museum day.  Lisbon, with a population of a little over half a million not counting the metropolitan area, has over 30 museums. We decided to visit the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, which houses the personal collection of Calouste Sarkis Gulbenkian, an Armenian pioneer of the oil industry. He moved to Portugal during the war in 1942 and died in 1955.  His wish was that his collection, which was assembled over four decades, would be kept together under one roof. His foundation of the same name fulfilled his desire in1969. The museum was a 4.5 km walk uphill. We debated transportation, but in the spirit of discovery and physical challenge, we walked. It was hot and yes, all uphill. 

 Our uphill walk on the right side of the park

The garden at the centre of the park
 The monument at the bottom of the park

We stopped for lunch at a great spot on a side street where we had a terrific lunch.  Jill had slow cooked veal with pasta and I had grilled rabbit with frits. Jill’s veal came first and we realized that we should have spit her dish as there was ample for two. At 8.70 Euros ($13 CDN) per dish, we were surprised at the portion size. 
Veal with pasta

My rabbit, as well as Jill’s veal, was delicious.  We did our best to eat as much as we could knowing that by dinner time we would not be hungry.
Rabbit with frits

 An interesting sculpture at the top of the park

We headed to where we thought the museum was, but had to ask directions.  This was difficult since most do not speak English. One lady said, “go down, then right, then ask again”.  We got similar directions twice before coming to the entrance of the museum.

We got the senior discount (2.50 Euros instead of 5) and also got the audio guide at 4 Euros each, which was great. The collection covers various periods of the history of art, from classical and oriental Antiquity to European art of the early 20th century.  Egyptian, Greco-Roman, Mesopotamian, Eastern Islamic, Armenian and Far Easter Art are all on display. This man was an extreme collector with over 6,000 pieces on display.  
 Silver centrepiece
Silver platter cover

We knew that our walk home would be a lot easier as it would be down hill.  We stuck to the shade and booked it home, which took us about an hour. It was nice to get home after our six hour odyssey.  A big glass of bubbly water and then we opened a bottle of Portuguese vinho verde or green wine.  It has a slightly lower alcohol content, with a bit of effervescence.  It was recommended by the man in the liquor store yesterday and it turned out to be delicious as we cooled down from our walk. 

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