Lisbon Portugal, a Town of Ups and Downs

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!

One of the many ups and downs in Lisbon
One of the many ups and downs in Lisbon

There was a small park around the corner from where I was staying.

Jardim Braancamp Freire
Jardim Braancamp Freire

Lots of baby hens and rosters.

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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.

Saint T
Monumento ao Doc Sousa Martins

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”.

The Festival
The Sumol Summer Fest
The Plaza
A Plaza where part of the festival was being held

I continued on down to the shoreline until I came across  “Commerce” Plaza or Commerce Square.

Commerce Plaza
Commerce Plaza
The
The Commerce Plaza
The Commerce Plaza
The Commerce Plaza

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!

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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.

Christ the King statue
Christ the King statue

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.

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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.

Riding the Bus down towards the bay
Riding the Bus down towards the Tagus River

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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,

Jardin
Jardim de Belem
Fountain in Jardim de Belem
Fountain in Jardim de Belem
A little friend at the fountain in the Jardin de Belem
A little friend at the fountain in the Jardim de Belem
Bird of Paradise
Bird of Paradise at Jardim de Belem

I got lucky and stumbled across the changing of the guard at the Royal Palace.  That was fun to watch.

Changing of the guard at the Royal Palace
Changing of the guard at the Royal Palace

Next I headed for the Torre de Belem.

Torre de Belem
Torre de Belem

Following the shoreline, I passed this Replica of Fairey 17, the first plane to make the south Atlantic crossing.

Replica
Replica of Fairey 17

Continuing down the shoreline.

Old Belem lighthouse on Tagus River
Old Belem lighthouse on Tagus River

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.

Monument of the Discoveries
Monument to the Discoveries

There was quite a view from the top of the monument.

Sailing on the Tagus River
Sailing on the Tagus River
Bridge over Targus River
The Ponte 25 de Abril “25th of April Bridge” crossing the Tagus River

 

Jardim CC with the CC Futbol Stadium in the background
Jardim de Belem with the Os Belenenses Stadium in the background
Christ the King statue on the Tagus River hillside
Christ the King statue on the Tagus River hillside

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.

Beautiful old fountain in the park that was shut down and vandalized
Beautiful old fountain in Parque Eduardo VII that was shut down and vandalized with graffiti
Art Structure in the Park
Monument of the Carnation Revolution commemorates the 1974 Revolution that took place in Lisbon
A view of the park looking down from the Art
A view of Parque Eduardo VII looking down from the Monument of the Carnation Revolution

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.

Museu de arqueologia lisboa
Museu de Arqueologia (Belem District) Lisbon, and Jerominos Monastery on the far end
Museu de Arqueologia courtyard
Museu de Arqueologia courtyard
Neomanueline tomb of navigator Vasco da Gama at Jeronimos Monastery Mosteiro dos Jerominos in Belem
Neomanueline tomb of navigator Vasco da Gama at Jeronimos Monastery Mosteiro dos Jerominos in Belem

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Walnuts from the 15th - 17th Century
Walnuts from the 15th – 17th Century

I had been told that while in the Belem district, you had to try the “Pasties de Belem” at 84 Rua Belem.

Very tasty!
Pasties de Belem – Very tasty!

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.

Jardim
Jardim Botanico Tropical
Fountain within the grounds of the Jardim Botanico Tropical
Fountain within the grounds of 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.

Jardim Botanico Tropical
Jardim Botanico Tropical
Jardim Botanico Tropical
Jardim Botanico Tropical

Once again I head the call of a Peacock.

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I had never seen a white Peacock, but there she was with her chicks.

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From the Botanical Gardens I headed towards the Palacio Nacional da Ajuda.

Palace
Statues on the roof of 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.

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On my walk through the neighborhoods you would see some old homes/buildings with the tiles that go back to pre-earthquake time.

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Some were still lived in, and some were not.

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Some date back to the 15th Century.

An old cemetery I passed on my walk
An old cemetery I passed on my walk

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.

Estrela Basilica, Lisbon
Estrela Basilica, Lisbon
E
Inside the Estrela Basilica

Crossing the street I found another quaint little park, Jardim de Estrela, inaugurated in 1842.

Mother Goose
Mother Goose and company in Jardim de Estrela
Jardim
Jardim de Estrela
Jardim de Estrela
Jardim de Estrela
Jardim de Estrela
Jardim de Estrela

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.

Lisbon & Estufa Fria Garden
Lisbon & Estufa Fria Garden
Lisbon & Estufa Fria Garden
Lisbon & Estufa Fria Garden
Lisbon & Estufa Fria Garden
Lisbon & Estufa Fria Garden
Lisbon & Estufa Fria Garden
Lisbon & Estufa Fria Garden

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.

Book Festival in Parque Eduardo VII
Book Festival in Parque Eduardo VII

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.

Monument to the Marquis of Pombal, the prime minister responsible for the rebuilding of Lisbon following the Great Earthquake in 1755,
Monument to the Marquis of Pombal

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.

Avenida da Liberdade
Avenida da Liberdade

The following day I bounced all around. Initially I was out towards the east end of town, the modern end of town.

Expo Tower from Lisbon Expo (98)
Expo Tower from Lisbon Expo (98)
MOE Arena
MOE Arena
Expo 98 commemorative sculpture
Expo 98 commemorative sculpture
Oriente Railway Station
Oriente Railway Station

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.

Vasco de Gama Bridge
Vasco de Gama Bridge in the background

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.

Igreja da Graca
Igreja da Graca
Igreja da Graca
Igreja da Graca
Igreja da Graca
Igreja da Graca

There were great views from the hilltop of the Igreja da Graca.

View of Lisbon, the Tagus River, and the blank Bridge that looks similar to the Golden Gate Bridge
View of Lisbon, the Tagus River, and the Ponte 25 de Abril Bridge that looks similar to the Golden Gate Bridge

Some of the many beautiful old tiled housing in Lisbon.  The picture doesn’t do them justice.

Pasted this on my way to the Sao Jorge Castle
Pasted this on my way to the Sao Jorge Castle

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From the hillside you can see Castelo de Saint George.

Sao Jorge Castle (Moorish Castle)
Sao Jorge Castle (Moorish Castle)

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.

Entrance to Sao Jorge Castle
Entrance to Sao Jorge Castle

View from the courtyard.

São Jorge Castle
São Jorge Castle – 1824 Cannon

Castle grounds.

Sao Jorge Castle
Sao Jorge Castle
São Jorge Castle
São Jorge Castle

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.

São Jorge Castle grounds
São Jorge Castle grounds
São Jorge Castle is a Moorish castle
São Jorge Castle is a Moorish castle

Once again, more peacocks! Gorgeous birds! First time I have caught them in the trees!

Hello Mr. Peacock!
Hello Mr. Peacock!

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.

Kitchen - Not a great view as I was looking down through a small opening
Kitchen – Not a great view as I was looking down through a small opening

2) Dates back to the 11th-12th century, the Moorish Quarter – two houses.

Moorish Quarters - 11th-12th Century (archeological dig within Castelo St. Jorge)
Moorish Quarters – 11th-12th Century (archeological dig within Castelo St. Jorge)

3) Dates back to the 15th-18th century – Ruins of the ground floor of the Palacio dos Condes de Santiago.

Ruins of the ground floor of the Palacio dos Condes de Santiago
Ruins of the ground floor of the Palacio dos Condes de Santiago

Walking the walls of Castelo de Saint George,

Castelo St Jorge
Castelo St Jorge

 

I got this pretty shot of the Monastery of Sao Vicente de Fora, and the Church of Santa Engracia.

Monastery of Sao Vicente de Fora, and the Church of Santa Engracia
Monastery of Sao Vicente de Fora, and the Church of Santa Engracia
Ready set go - Stairs on the backside of Castle St. George
Ready set go – Stairs on the backside of Castle St. George
Plaza
View of Commerce Square from Castle St. George

Walking down from the castle, I headed down the tram track to Se Cathedral, the oldest church in Lisbon. Of course, impecible timing, closed.

Se Cathedral
Se Cathedral, Losbon

Last stop, the Santa Justa Lift or Carmo Lift. This is another great way to see the city.

View from Santa Justa Lift - St George Castle
View from Santa Justa Lift – St George Castle
View from Santa Justa Lift - Se Cathedral with Tagus River in background
View from Santa Justa Lift – Se Cathedral with Tagus River in background
View from Santa Justa Lift - R Square
View from Santa Justa Lift – Russio Square

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.

Carmo Convent and Church
Carmo Convent and Church
The Carmo Convent, ruins of the Gothic Church
The Carmo Convent, ruins of the Gothic Church
The Carmo Convent, ruins of the Gothic Church
The Carmo Convent, ruins of the Gothic Church

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.

Plaza de los Restauradores
Plaza de los Restauradores
Praça do Rossio
Praça do Rossio
Praça do Rossio
Praça do Rossio
Monument to the People's and Heroes of the Peninsular War
Monument to the People’s and Heroes of the Peninsular War

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!

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