In an interesting little bit of synchronicity, an article appeared today in the International New York Times, talking about those shiny blue and white sidewalks I’ve been carping about. Well, it turns out that they are actually, black and white, and they aren’t tile, they are polished limestone. Now recognized as a national treasure, they have been use in Lisbon since 1842.
Known as Calçadas, these murderous little rocks are so popular that following their 19th century introduction, the Portuguese wanted them everywhere. Here, other cities, Macao, Angola and every other colonial location. Over the course of the last 170 years, they have spread throughout Lisbon, making it (in my opinion) virtually impossible to walk. But they sure look nice.
In order to maintain the art, there is a school here that trains Calceteiros, the artisan who lay the rocks and creates the patterns. The school has attendees from across the world and turns out around 20 graduates per year.
Far more detail than I can type can be found in the article, here is the link –
We took a walk around the neighborhood after reading the article and took some shots (specifically) in Praça Rossio to capture the wave patterns mentioned by author. In addition to those, I found a couple of representations of sailing ships. I also tried to get some reflective shots to give you an idea of just how slippery these things are. Now, one place where the author and I are in disagreement – repair. There is none going on and you really have to pay attention when you’re walking because otherwise, you are on your face.