On Lisbon

Given that neither of us had ever been to Portugal and we’ve heard many good things about it, we were looking forward to our 2-days in Lisbon. My initial plans was a 2-day exploration of the different neighborhoods and city center, but the one-day in Sintra throw the plan out the window. But our overnight stay on the ship gave us these views of the day ahead.

Our Scottish dinner friends (Alex and Evelyn) took a hop-on hop-off tour of Lisbon. It was a two-day ticket, and they unexpectedly gave it to us. The overview was good, and we still had some time to walk and explore. Here’s your quick tour of our beautiful day in Lisbon.

I’ve always thought Lisbon was on the coast, but it actually sits on the Tegas (Tejo) River, a short distance from the Atlantic Ocean. Praça do Comércio (Commerce Square) is a grand square along the river leading to the gates of the city (Baixa district – BYE shah). On our walk to Rosario Station to get our train to Sintra, we saw a lively city center.

Of the neighborhoods, I was most likely forward to Alfama, on old neighborhood a small hill east of Baixa. Dating back to the 6th century, it remains a bustling neighborhood with narrow streets and alleys. Lisbon still uses a few classic trolleys, and one accesses Alfama. Although we got to Alfama, the time was too short for me.

Belem is a district 3 miles (5 km) west of city center. It served as the send-off point for sailors, many who prayed at Monastery of Jeronimos – a very long structure with a beautiful church that houses the tomb of Vasa da Gama.

Belem anchors one end of a bridge that resembles San Francisco’s Golden Gate – yes – the same architect. The Belem Tower guarded the port and the Monument to the Discoveries (a salute to the early Portuguese explorers) are in a park along the water. The large Praça do Império (Empire Square) with a beautiful fountain sits in front of the monastery.

At 5 pm on the second day, it was time to sail away. Great weather and great views touched the heart. Son long Portugal, and may we meet again.

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70 thoughts on “On Lisbon

  1. I guess I mentioned to you before that I spent quite a bit of time in Portugal some years ago. While in Lisbon, we made it a practice to frequent the “fado” bars in the Alfama. Fado from the word “fate” are quintessential folk songs in which the singer sings about the twists and turns, good and bad, that fate has dealt him/her. Lisbon is a wonderful city.
    So is the south of Portugal, on the Algarve, with its beaches of red sand. We rented a car and discovered that we shared the narrow, winding country roads with horse drawn wagons and that there was a law that you must beep your horn whenever you approach a curve in the road. Unfortunately, the car we rented was a British model, unfamiliar to us and we couldn’t find where the horn was, for several days. We bought a plastic bike horn and took turns tooting it out the window! Do go back, sometime; you’ll love it!

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  2. Its not Cinci, is it. From a visitant view point, looking at the images and I imagine for the two you experiencing for the first time, the white of it all is very inviting and striking. A warm and friendly feeling comes to mind.

    BTW, I was on a Equinox’s sister ship a year +++ ago, while I was away to parts unknown.

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    • Calvin,
      Interestingly, your eyes caught the white building, but mine catch the contrast with the terracotta roofs … and warm & friendly it was. If you ever make it, get a serving of Ginjinha (a local drink).

      This was my first time on this class of ship. Enjoyed it, but may enjoy the other class that Celebrity has more. Besides, I knew were the ship was going on both counts. 😉

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      • I had Ginja once, along long long time ago in the only local Portuguese restaurant that tried to make ago of it. They served as part or prior to the meal of seafood paella I see commercial versions at Christmas time in the LCBO’s. But local anything always remarkably superior. I take you had more than one.

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        • Awesome story. I only had one … actually toward the end of the second (last) day, I realized that I hadn’t had it yet. Good news is I had it in a neighborhood bar. Bad news is the day before (in Sintra), I passed having it served in a chocolate cup. …. now that’s a dumb move.

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  3. I hope to visit Belem someday and the Monastery of Jeronimos with the church that houses the tomb of Vasa da Gama. Da Gama’s famous voyage around Africa, I just found out on Wiki, was in 1497-99 – five years AFTER Christopher Columbus’ first voyage to the “New World.”

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    • E-Tom,
      This was a great itinerary! … When in Lisbon, a side trip to Sintra (previous post) is worth the time … but do it my way (not the ship’s) … However, that meant we had to short-change Lisbon.

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  4. It’s definitely a beautiful city! I have some lovely pottery from Lisbon. My mother-in-law didn’t travel much over her 90 years, but in her 60s had a rare opportunity to take a trip with a friend to Portugal and she jumped at it. I still have her photographs and the items she brought home with her. It pleased me to see your photos and to see the city through your eyes. It definitely holds appeal for me…maybe one day. 🙂

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  5. Pingback: On the Rest of the Journey | A Frank Angle

    • Sue,
      Absolutely … but to be honest, we only had a touch, so we tried to maximize the time into an overview. The church interior in Baixa is that of the old Lisbon Cathedral. Maybe you can find cheap airfare to Lisbon!

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