Sunday, April 3, 2011

From Madrid to Lisbon

The four of us travelled to Lisbon with my friend, Heather. Kenna and Ray had to fly home to work but Heather had a few extra days and being the risk-taker she is, she decided to spend them with us. Now the strain on our family was considerable you realize; keeping up the illusion of pleasant, cooperative and easy to get along with for longer than one week put the four of us to the test. Believe you me, after she left this morning the gloves came off. I suspect she probably noticed a few cracks in the fa├žade but I am convinced that on the whole, we managed to pull off the “happy family” routine fairly believably.

We broke up the long drive from Madrid by stopping in the small town of Evora. People stop here to see the macabre bone church. Being a macabre sort of family we had already seen a bone church in Kutna Hora, Czech Republic so we were prepared. It still didn’t stop the chill you get from seeing skulls used in a decorative pattern around the ceiling tiles. There is something quite unsettling about seeing human bones used so casually. The inscription over the door reads, "WE bones are here waiting for yours". Okay, so if that isn't the height of creepiness... Heather thought it would be a great honour to have your bones in the church, as they were closer to God. I wondered how honoured the souls would feel realizing they were part of the designer print wallpaper. It is difficult to tell from the pictures, but that wall that looks like stone is bones: skulls, etc. It was a bit confusing trying to understand which branch of Christianity saw the use of human bones as art as a viable option. The fact that there is more than one bone church in the world did not escape our notice either. Heather wondered if it was the same branch of the faith. It is more macabre to think that more than one branch thought this was cool. I think about the people who have difficulty donating their organs after they die. What would they think about this?

Evora was actually quite a charming little place, bone church aside. We had some lunch, strolled through the winding streets and discovered several other churches and a Roman temple for our efforts. Those Romans seem to have left a calling card pretty much everywhere we visit.

We arrived in Lisbon that evening, taking a bit longer than usual to get in to our place because one of us (all right it was me) had written the phone number down wrong. The apartment was a real hoot. The door was built for scrawny hobbits and it threatened to deny access to our luggage. Once in the door, the staircase was more like a ladder with walls. The people who live in this building are definitely not fighting a weight problem. Our pad was on the top floor, naturally. The apartment itself was great, with a lovely view up the street and enough space for all of us. The biggest drawback was that the promised Internet didn’t work. Oh, it SAID it was connected all right. It just wouldn’t allow us to use Internet Explorer. We tried a variety of options, none of which worked. We later decided it must be a Portugal thing as we couldn’t get the connection to work at the local McDonald’s either.

1 comments: said...

Love the picture of Julia in the stairwell...and interesting town! Love Mom