April 23rd-26th, 2004
Arriving in Lisbon around 3:00 in the afternoon, we decided to explore
some on foot. It was a beautiful day! A little warm on the street and a
little cool by the water. The streets are very hilly... at times it's almost
like you're walking on people's roofs when you look down the street. There is
plenty of public transportation, though, if the hills scare you :) Just jump
on the metropolitan subway, trams, or buses! That evening we ate at a place
down by the water (Rio Tejo) and then headed back to the hotel.
Saturday morning we slept late and missed breakfast downstairs. The grand
plan for the day was to walk around Lisbon. So after a quick stop at the cafe
for coffee and pastry, we headed toward the center of town. This tree was in
a park on the way.
First stop was at the Ascensor de Santa Justa (elevator). We purchased an
all day pass for transportation and this was included. The wrought iron
elevator was built in 1902 in a gothic style. At the top is a little cafe
serving fresh orange juice, along with other refreshments, and a great view!
Next we continued east through some neighborhoods and came upon a musuem
for an old Roman theater. According to the travel books, beginning around
205 BC the Romans reigned in Lisbon for about 2 centuries. However, there's
not a lot that remains due to subsequent occupation by Moors in 714, Christians
in 1147, Felipe II of Spain in 1580, major earthquake in 1755, Napoleon for 4
years, coup in 1926, revolution in 1974, and a major fire in 1988. It's surprising
the city is still standing!
Anyway, on one side of the street there was the rubble of the old theater and on the other a little museum showing relics discovered in the rubble.
A little further east and we arrived at the Castelo de Sao Jorge (castle). Not much is left of the castle today, only the walls and stairs. The castle was built by the Visigoths and then later expanded by the Moors.
Some of the best views of the city were from the castle.
On the walk back down from the castle, we stopped at the Cathedral.
In comparison to the other cathedrals I've visited around Europe, this one
is modest. It was built in the 12th century by the first king of Portugal,
Dom Afonso Henriques.
Jumping on the tram for 10 minutes, we headed west along the Rio Tejo
to Belem (basically a suburb of Lisbon). The Mosteiro dos Jeronimos,
pictured below, was established in 1502 by King Dom Manuel I for Vasco
da Gama's successful Indian voyage.
The park in front of the monastery had these cute statues in the
middle of a little fish pond...
Padrao dos Descobrimentos was a monument built in 1960 to commemorate
the 500th anniversary of Henry the Navigator.
Torre de Belem (Tower of Belem) was built early 16th century to help
defend the river.
On Sunday we went to Cascais, which is a short train ride west of Lisbon.
***Click here to go to Cascais page***
Monday's flight was in the afternoon, so we had plenty of time to relax in Lisbon.
We found a nice little patio outside and had cappicino's and pastry mid-morning.
Then we wondered through the Parque Eduardo VII (park) and Marques de Pombal
(roundabout with statue).
We were joking that it seems like the people of Lisbon just go from one coffee shop to the next. There's a little cafe on every corner and there are always people in them. So we joined in of course!
Anyway, as we waited at the bus stop to go to the airport I started to get a little worried because it took forever to show up. Just as I said "if it doesn't come in the next 5 minutes we're taking a taxi", the bus came rolling around the corner. Yeah! Homeward bound once more.
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