Thursday, July 2, 2015

Of elevators and beaches

We tend to think of elevators as enabling high rise buildings, they are part of our everyday lives, and we hardly give them a second thought.

Lisbon is built around many hills, some of them quite steep, and in the late 19th Century these steep hills presented a problem for accessibility, especially in a time when people moved on foot or were pulled by horses or mules.  In 1874, in order to facilitate the movement between the main Baixa and the Carmo Square, the civil and military engineer Roberto Arménio presented a project to the Lisbon municipal council for the first urban lift, and almost 30 years later the neo-gothic wrought-iron Elevador de Santa Justa was inaugurated. Designed by Raul Mésnier, Gustave Eiffel’s apprentice, it allowed residents easy access to the higher levels of Lisbon, and today is a major tourist attraction, offering majestic views of the City. 

Up, up and away!

The view from the top

What seems like the original elevator, which did the job!

We then changed gears and were off to a magnificent beach, a mere 20 minutes from Lisbon, where we ate at the Beach Club (kindly arranged by Vince), drank Sangria and local white wine, and I slept on the beach, a perfect afternoon after the last month of cycling.

All in all, a very pleasant day, and a chance to unwind and rest after a very vigorous month. 

Please don't forget why we are here, go to and donate to help us save lives. 

Postscript on the day: Serge and Isabelle are leaving today, they will bring the van back to Madrid and fly home. To celebrate a great trip Vince had bought a superb bottle of 40 year old tawny port, which we opened at the great restaurant called Minibar where we feasted on very modern, innovative tapas like dishes. The port was exquisite and capped off a wonderful meal - thanks to Vince.

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