Iberia…No, Not Siberia


Country/State Continent Population Language Latitude/Longitude Distance Apart
Howard Co, Missouri North America Unk English 39.106/-92.906 4,330 miles
Portugal Europe 480,766 Portuguese 38.713889/-9.139444


Lisbon, Portugal

As the capital and largest city of Portugal, which is located on the Iberian Peninsula (commonly called Iberia),  Lisbon is the westernmost metropolitan city in Europe, the westernmost capital city and the only capital city along the Atlantic coast.

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A major economic and financial center, Lisbon has close to 550,000 people and is the seventh-most-visited city in Southern Europe, after Istanbul, Rome, Barcelona, Madrid, Athens, and Milan. It is also one of the oldest cities in the world. In fact, it  predates London, Paris and Rome by hundreds of years. Ruled by the likes of Julius Caesar, a series of Germanic tribes and even the Moors, Lisbon was eventually taken over by the Portuguese in 1147. In 1755, a massive earthquake destroyed many of the it’s great monuments.

Oddly enough, Lisbon’s status as the capital of Portugal has never been officially declared,  but is considered the de facto capital as part of the Constitution of Portugal.

Lisbon is situated on seven hills and a century old system of funiculars (ascensors) and trams connect them. One of the best places to see in the entire city is the Miradouro da Senhora do Monte. Today, Lisbon is also a wealthy city: 32nd of the highest gross earnings in the world.

Some funky things in Lisbon:

1. The Clown School (Chapitô-School for Performing Arts), is a state funded school for circus entertainers.

2. The Doll Hospital, complete with emergency and operating rooms, has been taking care of broken dolls since 1830.

Of course, for those of us who can’t make the trip, there’s always…

Lisbon, Missouri

Lisbon, MO road sign
Following our departure from Glasgow, we take 87 south about eight miles until we get to what is referred to as Missouri Secondary State Route K (which is a mouthful). We turn west onto K and travel towards Lisbon, a bit over 3.5 miles. I have to admit, our expectations for Lisbon were not very high. To begin with, Missouri.HometownLocator.com lists the population as unknown, which says volumes right there. But it wasn’t always this way.

The Lisbon area was originally settled following the War of 1812, when settlers rushed to this part of Missouri once the problems with the Indians had subsided. By 1874, Lisbon was a thriving river town with about 100 residents, two stores, a mill, a tobacco factory and several shops. But overtime, the Missouri River shifted south and west. As the river left, so did the people.

Today the Missouri River is about ½ mile from Lisbon. in fact, just west of the town, the Lisbon Bottoms Unit, located in the Big Muddy National Wildlife Refuge, occupies a large bend in the Missouri River floodplain totaling 2,013 acres, which today consists mostly of young cottonwood and willow trees. The Lewis and Clark expedition actually camped a few miles north of the Lisbon Bottoms on June 9, 1804 where they note that a hard rain from the night before caused the river to fill with so many logs and trees, their keel-boat narrowly escaped disaster.

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Though Lisbon history is pretty interesting; our visit, not so much. Even getting there, there  is little to see on K . The only commercial property I see for miles, (if I’m using the term appropriately), is the Rose Hill Cemetery. Yet, even though it’s in the middle of nowhere, it appears well-taken-care-of. But as we sail past, I think about the people who live in this area – who take care of the cemetery for instance – and I can’t help but wonder what it’s like to live so far removed from basically…everything. Like grocery stores, gas stations, other human beings.

As we get closer to Lisbon, the road goes from not-so-bad, to so-so, to what-the-hell-are-you-doing-driving-on-this-thing. Before long, we drop down into a what the locals would call a “holler” and we seem to have arrived. But where, I’m not sure.

Before us there’s little more than an old Baptist Church. So we pull into the dirt lot and get out to read the sign which has seen better days. Unfortunately the church is closed up, but from the outside looks to be in good shape, considering it was built in the late 1800’s.

Lisbon, MO Church Lisbon, MO church sign

Aside from the church, there’s very little else. Even the road seems to peter-out in all directions. The only other building we notice is across the road. Dilapidated and covered with creepy vines, it’s like something from a Hitchcock film. It’s also deathly quiet, so I’m getting a bit freaked out and soooo ready to leave Lisbon.

Lisbon, MO spooky dilapidated house

We gather up our dog Shadow, who has “marked” everything in sight, and pile back into the car. Paul pulls the car out onto the iffy road as Shadow hangs his head out the window.  We begin our climb back up the hill and look forward to our return to civilization.

But before we get very far, about a half a dozen mangy, snarling dogs appear out of nowhere. I yank Shadow’s head back into the car and hurriedly close the window as the angry dogs surround our vehicle, snapping at our tires. Paul immediately floors the accelerator and we make a clean get-away. But I’m pretty shaky and I hug Shadow tight.  I couldn’t help but think the dogs were set on us, as if someone thought we were a threat. (This might be a good time to mention, that in some circles Missouri is also known as the meth state.)

Overall, there wasn’t a lot to see in Lisbon, and frankly I don’t think we will be going back anytime soon. However, even in this tiny community, we didn’t see everything. Through internet research we discovered about 1/2 mile down the road to the right of the church (county road 317) is a boundary sign that marks the entrance to Lisbon Bottoms Unit. The Fish and Wildlife Service says this is a great place to hike around (as long as you bring lots of water, and a GPS).

Also, it’s probably a good time to mention that it is never our intention to speak ill of any town, or municipality (or creepy out-of-the-way location) that we visit. So, although Lisbon wasn’t our favorite destination thus far, perhaps they’ve changed since we were there – cleaned up the neighborhood, so to speak.

But for now, it’s enough to say that on this trip we didn’t find a lot of comparisons between these two cities with the same name. With the exception that they both started out on the water, and one is still there.

Our next destination: The City of Lights!

One thought on “Iberia…No, Not Siberia

  1. […] an interesting mix of Canadian and Spanish named locations. We’ve talked a bit about Iberia before – which is an area, rather than a city per se. Toronto. on the other hand is a teeny tiny place […]

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