Everyone says Lisbon is a beautiful city. I guess I'd agree, but I don't buy into the contem- porary Romantic vision of Lisbon as a city that's managed to preserve some sort of stamp of authenticity because it's seen less urban renewal than other European capitals. Tourist nonsense. What struck me on this visit was how amazingly uncrowded a city it is. Maybe some of that impression was due to the fact that we were there on a weekend and the locals were staying off the streets. Still, Lisbon on a Saturday evening is nothing like Madrid, where you can barely move on some of the downtown streets. After visiting with the students the big monastery built during the reign of Manuel I in the early 16th century and the Bailem tower on Saturday afternoon; then Sintra on Sunday morning, Asun and I had a nice walk around the Alfama neighborhood, followed by a walk down to the Plaza del Comercio right as the sun was setting over the mouth of the Tagus. In the photo, the Bailem tower, built to defend the entrance to the city in the 16th century.