Walking from our apartment in Alfama, the twisty-turny, up and down, old quarter to the center takes about 25 minutes. But for most of it, we are walking on cobblestone sidewalks that look like wonderful, polished carpets. The patterns change from street to street and, I read, come from some big master book of approved patterns.
The stones have been worn to a softly shining patina, which is lovely and treacherous. They can be very slippery even on a dry day. Some people think the cobbles should be removed and replaced by concrete as a safety measure but, so far, more people want to keep the charm of the old. I think I have to come down on the side of the preservationists even if the pattern in Rossio Square makes me queasy.