Portugal – Lisbon Streets & Garden

Traveling in a foreign country is definitely peculiar because we generally find ourselves out of our comfort zone. If there is a language difference and a number of significant cultural differences, this can be even more pronounced. After a single day in Portugal however, we felt more or less at ease.

One of the first things we do when we arrive at our hotel in a foreign area, is to secure a business card with the name and address of the establishment. If we then get lost, we are only a taxi ride away and we can just show the card to the cab driver. We took two cabs during our stay in Lisbon and both experiences were positive. Interestingly, as we learned, the customary tip for taxi drivers in Portugal is to round up to the next highest Euro. At the time we visited, the Euro was about $1.21 USD (+/-) which means the largest tip would be $1.21. Of course, tourists can tip more if they like.

Lisbon is a hilly city. It is known as the City of Seven Hills so be prepared to walk uphill sooner or later or to hail a taxi.

As you can see the street above was a bit steep as we headed toward the Jardim Botânico da Universidade de Lisboa (The University of Lisbon Botanical Garden).

We walk and then we walk some more when we visit new countries or regions. We love to walk around town and get a good sense of the city or area we are visiting. Like most major cities, there were McDonald’s restaurants in Lisbon. As you will note in the center of the shot below, the golden arches are rather muted. No large red background here. We stepped inside to note the differences between American McDonald’s and those in Portugal and while we did not purchase anything, it was interesting to note that they served coffee in ceramic coffee cups for patrons who had their coffee in the restaurant.

Again we were walking downhill which we know from our hiking will be an uphill on the return trip.

We have visited many gardens in our travels and I have to comment that this particular garden is not what I would call a display garden. It appeared to be more of a research garden. There were few dramatic landscape areas and only a scattering of flowers at the time we visited. We were a bit disappointed, but found some sections of interest. The tree below had an amazing display of air roots.

The garden had resident cats probably serving as mousers. This tabby on the roof was spotted in several areas and had a friend or sibling that was remarkably similar.

On the walk back to our hotel, we encountered this happy drainpipe festooned with a floral array. I had to return the smile as I took the picture.

Pictured below is another interesting trash/recycle bin we encountered.

Street vendors made a variety of commodities available especially huge strawberries and the fruit dealers seemed to be popular with the commuters.

The main thoroughfare in Lisbon is the Avenida da Liberdade (Liberty Avenue). It is a very wide street with pedestrian walkways separating the lanes of traffic. The walkways are paved with an intricate design that we were led to believe were copyrighted and used just for the city of Lisbon. There were special work crews adept in repairing the swaths of walkways and maintaining the integrity of the artwork.

These pieces of intricate artwork were created with the use of limestones referred to as calçada Portuguesa (Portuguese pavement). The cobblestones are made into small squares and placed to create a design in black and white. Care should be taken when it is raining as these tend to be a bit slick when wet.

The “Avenue” is a great place to walk and window shop. There are also nice areas with water features, plants and restful benches. It is worthy of a stroll if you have time.

Our home base in Lisbon was near the Marquis de Pombal neighborhood which seemed to be a more or less central location relative to areas we were interested in investigating. It was a nice, but long-ish walk to Rossio Square, the Tejo River and shopping areas.

A Statue of Marquis De Pombal, the Portuguese Prime Minister from 1750 to 1777, is one of the highlights in this area of the city.

As you can see, the statue is in the middle of a large rotary which can be very busy at times, but there were plenty of traffic lights and ample opportunities to cross the roadways.

Here is a more picturesque shot of the statue. This is a popular stop for tourist buses because of its central location and proximity to the Edward VII Park (more about the park in a following post).


Continue reading about our trip to Portugal and Spain.


Read more Hiking and Exploration posts HERE



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©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018 – JBRish.com

Zinnfully Amusing and Creative Art

I like to think that I am a creative person. I enjoy experimenting with ideas and styles in several different formats, but I admit that I am only moderately creative. That is why I appreciate someone who is creative in the extreme, i.e. an “extreme creative.”

David Zinn is, what I would consider, an “extreme creative.” It is obvious that he is probably one of those people who has a mind that, for lack of a better term, is just wired differently. Let me explain…

Look at this picture below:

Hair Today, Lawn Tomorrow

The title of this print, which is for sale HERE is: “Hair Today, Lawn Tomorrow.” Obviously this is a play on the words “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow.” I am a punster and self-proclaimed wordsmith so I appreciate this type of creativity (even though my friends may not concur).

I could have seen the path in the picture and those patches of green, but I never would have imagined a patch of grassy weeds as a hair piece; obviously David did!

Another nice touch is the patch of dried vegetation which serves as a modesty cover or article of clothing. This is just “thinking different” to paraphrase Apple, Inc.’s slogan.

Let’s examine some additional artwork from David Zinn…

Fall Cleaning – Notice the use of what appears to be a twig that bridges the real and the artistic as well as the intentional placement of leaves.


In The Cat Prisoner we once again see the mix of the artistic with the real. And that mouse, that mouse is little, but adds so much.


A Little Light Reading – I could have walked past this light a dozen times and never have envisioned this as an element of an art installation. And how about the planning to get the torso positioned just right!


Looking at Snowman Mishap, we see the detail to which David Zinn goes to render his masterpieces. That is a real miniature snowman on the wall with what is left of its head on the sidewalk. The green character, Sluggo, peers over the edge indicating that he most likely had something to do with the “mishap” while Philomena, a flying pig, stares back angrily with a snow-filled eye – cute!


Sluggo and Philomena are two recurring characters in Zinn’s artwork which helps to build recognition and perhaps a small army of groupies.

David hails from Ann Arbor, Michigan so obviously this type of outdoor artwork is limited during some seasons, but he does manage to work in areas that provide “chalk-friendly tabletops.”



Here are a few more images that I found especially interesting and/or whimsical.




We can all salute David’s art work and appreciate his creativity, but adding to our admiration has to be the fact that these are temporary chalk creations that will be swished away by the first rain or snowstorm or perhaps some over energetic budding street artist wannabe. He has referred to his street art as “pointless” art, but I disagree. Any art that evokes a smile, joy or appreciation is far from pointless. Thank you David Zinn for the smiles and snickers you have added to our days.

Read more about David Zinn at his website HERE.

Learn more about David’s artwork from the video below where he explains his work and philosophy.

David Zinn Art from Create Michigan on Vimeo.

If you like the work of Artist Zinn, his book, Temporary Preserves, contains quite a collection and is for sale HERE.

Follow David Zinn on facebook and Instagram

Credit where credit is due: I first came to learn about David Zinn via this article on This Colossal webiste –
Quirky New Chalk Characters on the Streets of Ann Arbor by David Zinn

NOTE: I am not a relative or personal friend of David Zinn’s. I have no vested interest in writing this post except to recommend his work as a source of joy and inspiration for others who appreciate creativity and whimsical art. I have found his craft very imaginative and I hope you do as well.


JBRish.com originally published this post

See previous Creative and Inspirational Stories HERE

Amazing Street Art (Streetart)

I have always been a sucker for optical illusions and street art (or streetart). I am not talking about graffiti although that has become a more acceptable genre nowadays since it is currently producing some nice art pieces around the world.

When I mention street art, I am addressing those illustrations done with chalk on sidewalks and roadways which create optical illusion to make them appear that passersby are interacting with the artwork.

Leon Keer demonstrates his mastery of this genus by creating a sidewalk Pac-Man display. In the images below, you can see people walking through it and there is one shot of Keer creating the illustration by exaggerating the elements so they look correct when viewed from afar and above. How do they do that?!


Pac-Man Streetart by Leon Keer

Pac-Man Streetart by Leon Keer

Pac-Man Streetart by Leon Keer


Below is another of Keer’s creations (shwoing the artist’s perspective) which appeared at the Malta Streetart Festival. Can you tell what it is? Visit his website to see.

Mystery Streetart by Leon Keer

NOTE – ALL pictures are from www.streetpainting3d.com and are placed on JBRish.com via their courtesy.

Artists Create Street Side Illusions for Your Enjoyment

For lack of a better term, I will refer to the picture below as illusional art; perhaps even Trompe-l’œil although I don’t think it quite meets that standard, but I’ll let you decide.

I enjoy seeing how artists can visualize art work using what is available and creating such interesting illusions. If you enjoy this type of art as well, I encourage you to visit the linked website to see other examples. Being a cat lover, I like that one as well.

Via Stencil Works of Street Artist JPS