Last day in Lisbon - the walking tourOctober 26 in Portugal
Instead of taking a Yellow (or Red or Blue) Bus we decided yesterday to book ourselves in to a guided walking tour of the centre of Lisbon with Take Lisboa. So, at 10.30 we were at Largo Chiado to meet up with Afonso Pereira and 16 other people for a 2.5 hours guided tour. Our tour was in English, naturally, but it was interesting how many nationalities were represented - Canada, USA, Germany, Sweden, Malta and Australia.
For the next two hours we walked around, stopping at various points of interest, and hearing stories about many different things. I really enjoyed his commentary about the bloke who is head of the movement to return the monarchy. He has headquarters in Lisbon, and wants to be the King. Afonso said that whenever there is a slow news day he will be interviewed by the press on whatever topic comes to mind, and he is usually good for a laugh.
The big earthquake of 1755 devastated Lisbon. Many thousands died then, and the person put in charge of the cleanup was very mindful of disease. He ordered bodies be taken on a barge and taken well out in the river and dumped, an action that saved many more from death. However, he clashed with the Catholic Church over this because it did not constitute a Christian burial. Prior to the earthquake he had been put in charge of urban renewal, and his town planning ideas were way ahead of the times. It turned out that some of the new areas, perhaps seedier ones, survived the earthquake because of his radical building ideas, whereas the thousands who piled into the cathedral for safety died when it collapsed.
The tour ended in the square where the 1506 Easter Slaughter took place. About 1900 Jews were killed, burnt, or hung by a wild crowd, incited by a couple of Dominican friars who promised absolution for the sins of the past 100 days if one killed a “heretic”. This was a dark day in Lisbon and Portugal’s past.Read more