*Note: I intended to write one long summary of the last four days. Instead I wrote a medium-length summary just of my last days in Lisbon. It’s 3AM here and I worry that I may have a bit of a cold and I want to ride the eighty or so miles to Spain tomorrow–so I’m saying goodnight for now. Let the title of this post serve as a teaser. I promise to get fully caught up next time.
The thing about not sitting around Lisbon with itchy feet and too many words and too few adventures is that now that I’m on the road I won’t be updating this as much. If you look to the right of your screen, you will see Instagram and Twitter “widgets”. I will post to at least one of these, at least once, at least every day. Twitter if I’m feeling tell-y, Instagram if I’m feeling show-y.
First, some highlights of my last two days in Lisbon:
I visited the Museum of Ancient Art. It seems unfair to compare it to the Prado in Madrid, but I can’t help it. Compared to the Prado, even the Louvre was disappointing (even if it was truly overwhelming, not necessarily in a good way). So the Museum of Ancient Art in Lisbon is just OK. I amused myself by taking pictures of paintings and then adding captions and making immature modifications to them on my phone:
One artist in their collection, however, defies even my powers to mock and cheapen all that anyone would place on a pedestal before me–and that’s Hieronymus Bosch. They have only one of his triptychs, The Temptation of St. Anthony, in their collection but it may be the most famous after The Garden of Earthly Delights (In the Prado, of course). Here it is:
Go ahead. Zoom in. Take a look around. I fucking dare you.
Some of my favorite details:
There are a few artists–Cormac McCarthy in literature, Tom Waits in music–who I can’t help suspecting fell from outer space. They’re too weird and seemingly with too few precedents to justify their lunatic originality. This was painted in 1501. Nothing looks like it for four-hundred years.
The next day I rode my bike out along the river to two of Lisbon’s iconic monuments, Belém Tower and the Monument to the Discoveries. I can’t decide if I think the Monument to the Discoveries is ugly. I think it kind of might be. Doesn’t help that the huge crucifix-covered monolith whiffs slightly of Franco-style Fascism: It was built to commemorate the four-hundredth anniversary of the death of Henry the Navigator by the right-wing nationalistic regime that preceded today’s republican government.
On the other hand, the Tower of Belém is gorgeous, and has a fascinating history. As is tradition on trans-continental journeys, I anointed my wheel in the waters of the Mediterranean. With some luck I’ll do the same in the Bosporus.
A nice lady took a picture of me hamming it up: