Lisbon

Trip Start Jun 22, 2012
1
15
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Trip End Aug 08, 2012


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, Lisbon,
Thursday, July 5, 2012

Lisbon

I'm choosing to write this now, exhausted after another long, yet rewarding day, because it is unlikely there will be time in the next couple days to record what is now fresh in my mind. Tomorrow morning I will fly to Berlin where the next leg of the dash across the eurozone will begin.

But for now... the last European city the Beizers spent time in before departing to America, was Lisbon. We took an overnight train from Madrid to Lisbon last night and arrived this morning, which enabled us to get in a full day wandering around the city.

The one major spot we hoped to find was the old port, where the SS Siboney was likely to have departed from, and blind luck had us stumble on it early in the day. We then made the mistake of taking a three-hour quintessential air-conditioned, minimal-walking, site-seeing tour of an area outside of the main part of Lisbon. And did I mention 70 percent of it was in Portuguese with my mom and I being the only English speakers?

Despite this set back, the rest of the day was well-spent getting lost in the small alleyways and old, almost-verticle streets that make up Lisbon. Another highlight was climbing to the top of St. Jorge Castle, which had some of the greatest views I have ever seen. Lisbon also has a network of old electric trams that somehow manage to make it up incredibly steep hills (and that's coming from someone born and raised in San Francisco). Riding them was rollercoaster-esque.

In one of the interview clips, Boris recounted an anecdote in which his father reprimanded him when he grew excited at finding a gold coin on a street in Lisbon. The Beizer parents were always worried about attracting too much attention. I found myself thinking about this anecdote a couple times when walking down some of the windy, stone streets.

It was hard to find many Jewish areas in the city. We came across an Inquisition memorial, however only discovered after coming back to the hotel a couple hours ago and looking online, that some of the areas we had visited earlier in the day had been largely Jewish. There are few Jews left in Lisbon. This sadly seems to be a recurring theme throughout many of the European cities we have visited.

We finished the night by having dinner with live Portuguese Fado music, and I encourage you to watch the uploaded video to get a feel for this atmosphere.

I feel we got a small insight these past couple weeks into what the escape journey was like for the Beizer family 71 years ago. Something remarkable I may have forgotten to mention earlier was that the SS Siboney departed Lisbon on May 11, 1941--exactly one year after the Beizers left their home in Brussels.

I would like to extend a special thanks to Boris for sharing his story with us and I'd like to thank you for taking the time to read these posts. I hope you found them of interest and I hope to continue this blog in the coming weeks.

Boa noite,

Elijah Jatovsky
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Comments

Vivian Silver on

Kol Hakavod to you Elijah, Boris and Naomi. A very moving piece of history. Safe continued journies.

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