May 2015 – June 2015
Lisbon, the capital and largest city of Portugal, was my first stop in this Portugal. The population within the city is about 560,000, but including the urban outreaches, the population is about 2.8 million, one-fourth the population of Portugal. Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in the world, but it was almost wiped out by the 1755 earthquake, which also produced fires, and a tsumani.
In Lisbon, I stayed with a family on the outskirts of the old town. The walk into the old town was a little lengthy but easy as it was all downhill. You can guess what that meant when walking back!
There was a small park around the corner from where I was staying.
Lots of baby hens and rosters.
At the end of the park was a statue, a memorial, “Monumento ao Doc Sousa Martins”. Jose Tomas de Sousa Martins was a physician specializing in combating tuberculosis. On March 7 and August 18 of each year, anniversaries of his birth and death, thousands of devotees visit and pray at his grave and at this monument.
As I came out of the buildings, down a long hilly trek, I came upon a festival in progress. June is a month of festivals in Lisbon. This particular one was the “Sumol Summer Fest”.
I continued on down to the shoreline until I came across “Commerce” Plaza or Commerce Square.
There were plenty of outdoor restaurants at the plaza, so I enduldged. It was more of an American plate, but very good. Thin sliced roast beef, spinach puree, and seasoned potatoes. Oh, and a Margarita! They were actually good, so I had another!
In the distance, you could see the statue of Jesus, “Christ the King”, on a hillside, across the bay. Unfortunately I never made it over to the other side of the bay.
This was my preliminary walk to figure things out. Walking back, I ran across a large fire. The fireman were busy trying to get control of the blaze.
As I stated earlier, June is a month of festivals and celebrations. I could hear a celebration going on for most of the night, well after 2:00 am with horns constantly honking in the distance, and fireworks exploding every few minutes. I scoured the internet to try to determine what the celebration was for, but didn’t find anything particular although I did keep running across the violent protests and riots that happened just a week or so before I got there. Glad I missed that!
Lisbon was a big town with lots of hills, so I decided to take the Hop-On Hop-Off City Bus Tour to get a lay of the land. I purchased the four-in-one tour so that I got both large routes covering each end of the city, the tram up through the castles and hills, and the Belem bus, which took a specialized route.
I had 48 hours to use the buses, starting at 11:25 am, to develop my strategic plan to see how much of Lisbon I could visit. The bus tours are good for this, but not great for taking pictures, unless you get off the bus. After the Belem tour, I walked down towards the shoreline through Jardim de Belem,
I got lucky and stumbled across the changing of the guard at the Royal Palace. That was fun to watch.
Next I headed for the Torre de Belem.
Following the shoreline, I passed this Replica of Fairey 17, the first plane to make the south Atlantic crossing.
Continuing down the shoreline.
The Monument to the Discoveries, originally built in 1940 for the World Exhibition. It was designed to be a temporary structure, and was demolished in 1943. In 1958, the government promoted the reconstruction of the monument, finishing in 1960 for the 500th anniversary of Henry the Navigator’s death.
There was quite a view from the top of the monument.
After 2 days of riding around, getting a horrible sunburn in one spot on my leg, I had my game plan. I used the last 2 ½ hours I had left on the buses to head up to Parque Eduardo VII. Once off the bus, I walked through the park with the plan of catching the bus at the top of the hillside where the bus looped back, taking it all the way out to the museums, and then walking back about six or more miles over the course of the day.
Of course I missed my bus, ran after another, missed that one, but did catch one out to the museum area right as my ticket expired.
Here I went to the Museu de Arqueologia and the Jeronimos Monastery Mosteiro dos Jerominos in Belem.
I had been told that while in the Belem district, you had to try the “Pasties de Belem” at 84 Rua Belem.
There was a line out the door. I grabbed four of these delicious little treats for the road. The filling of the “cake” reminded me of Mart’s family custard, in a very crisp shell. Very tasty, and you were to add the final ingredients, powdered sugar and cinnamon, sprinkled on top.
After a few “Pasties de Belem”, I headed for the Jardim Botanico Tropical.
It was a nice garden, although there were a few spots in need of a manicure and haircut, but still a beautiful garden.
Once again I head the call of a Peacock.
I had never seen a white Peacock, but there she was with her chicks.
From the Botanical Gardens I headed towards the Palacio Nacional da Ajuda.
The Palace is now a museum of decorative arts. I didn’t venture in.
Just off the palace grounds I ran across this small church bell tower.
On my walk through the neighborhoods you would see some old homes/buildings with the tiles that go back to pre-earthquake time.
Some were still lived in, and some were not.
Some date back to the 15th Century.
I had missed seeing the Estrela Basilica (Royal Basilica) the day before as it was closed, so that was next of the stop.
As you see, it was hard to get a good picture with all of the cable/tram electric lines.
Crossing the street I found another quaint little park, Jardim de Estrela, inaugurated in 1842.
Earlier that morning I had noticed what looked to be some type of greenhouse by the Parque Eduardo VII. I thought I would check it out. It was the Estufa Fria, or the Cold Greenhouse, inaugurated in 1933.
I guess by know you can tell I like my parks, gardens, and plants.
Cutting back through the Parque Eduardo VII, there was a book festival going on. Let me tell you, books are alive and well in Portugal. There were at least one hundred tents or booths, and they all had books, and only books.
After walking through the park and the book festival, I headed down toward Avenida da Liberdade. In between the park and the start of the Avenida da Liberdade was the Monument to Marquis of Pombal, the prime minister responsible for the rebuilding of Lisbon following the Great Earthquake in 1755.
After the earthquake of 1755, the avenue was built and styled after the wide boulevards of Paris. It was named Passeio Publico (public street) which was far from the truth as there were massive gates at both ends back in the day. At that time, it was a park for the rich.
The following day I bounced all around. Initially I was out towards the east end of town, the modern end of town.
The bridge in the background is the Vasco de Gama Bridge, and it is the longest bridge in Europe stretching over 17 km crossing the River Tagus.
Up into the hills of Lisbon I headed to Igreja da Graca. Wikipedia indicates that the convent began construction in the late 1200’s, but other sources indicate differently. One thing for sure is that the building was severely damaged in the 1755 earthquake, and what you see know, is the reconstruction from the 18th century.
There were great views from the hilltop of the Igreja da Graca.
Some of the many beautiful old tiled housing in Lisbon. The picture doesn’t do them justice.
From the hillside you can see Castelo de Saint George.
This is the entrance to Castelo de St. George. It wasn’t as easy to find as I thought it would be, nor was it the shortest trek to the entrance.
View from the courtyard.
The first fortification was erected sometime around 48 BC as part of a Roman municipality. Sometime around the 10th century, the Muslim forces rebuilt the fortification, Castelo de St. George. Lisbon was later freed of the Moorish rule by Afonso Henriques and the European knights, in the Seige of Lisbon in 1147, as part of the Second Crusade. The castle was later used as a fortified residence for the governor Afonso III in 1255 once Lisbon was the capital of the kingdom.
Once again, more peacocks! Gorgeous birds! First time I have caught them in the trees!
The archeology dig was a little disappointing. Everything was poorly marked, with most signs unreadable due to the sun. The handout indicated that there were 3 different discoveries: 1) Dates back to the 7th-3rd century B.C. This appeared to be a kitchen area due to the pots, pans, bowls, and jars.
2) Dates back to the 11th-12th century, the Moorish Quarter – two houses.
3) Dates back to the 15th-18th century – Ruins of the ground floor of the Palacio dos Condes de Santiago.
Walking the walls of Castelo de Saint George,
I got this pretty shot of the Monastery of Sao Vicente de Fora, and the Church of Santa Engracia.
Walking down from the castle, I headed down the tram track to Se Cathedral, the oldest church in Lisbon. Of course, impecible timing, closed.
Last stop, the Santa Justa Lift or Carmo Lift. This is another great way to see the city.
The Santa Justa Lift brought me to a building I had been meaning to get to from day one in Lisbon, the Carmo Convent and Church. The convent was primarily destroyed in the 1755 earthquake. It is now the Carmo Archeological Museum.
I want to share a few pictures associated to the beautiful plazas (squares) I walked through each morning walking down to the old town area to get my day started.
Lisbon was great! I enjoyed every minute of it. Even with everything I saw, there was still plenty left to discover in Lisbon.
Next stop, Porto Portugal!