Wednesday, 25 January 2017


Monday 14 November

Our taxi collected us at 4.30 am to take us to the airport, for our early morning flight from Seville to Lisbon via Madrid. We were blessed with another clear sunny day, affording us great views over Lisbon, as we came into land. 

This blue sky was clearly seen as we entered our room at the Hotel Olissippo Castelo, about midday.

Day / night view from our window - just perfect.

The Hotel Olissippo Castelo was perfectly positioned. It sat just below Sao Jorge Castle [St George] and just above the Old City of Lisbon. We had the option of a steep walk,  tram ride or a walk plus use of a nearby carpark lift, to get to the old city. We made use of all three.

Sao Jorge is a Moorish castle with a strongly fortified citadel, dating back to the medieval period of Portuguese history. The catastrophic earthquake of 1755, contributed to its decay over many years and it is merely the skeleton of a time past.

The area around the castle is the oldest district in Lisbon and is known as the Alfama. It is the home of Fado music, a traditional music of Portugal. The songs of love, woe, pain and sadness are sung by a solo performer and are intensely melancholy.

Fado sculpture at the entrance to one of the Alfama's narrow streets.

One of the many things I loved about Lisbon was its tram system. A 'quaint' mode of transport and with Lisbon's narrow streets, a source of much entertainment for me.

Progress was often quite slow.

We sat in this queue of vehicles for quite some time. Once we finally moved on, the cause was discovered - a delivery of boxes to a shop, as per photo below. It must happen all the time.

On our 2nd evening, we managed to find our way along many narrow streets to Restaurante O Carvoeiro, recommended to us by our hotel reception.

An interesting walk in the night light.

We were thrilled with the recommendation - sensational food,  lovely surroundings, entertaining and helpful waitress, plus a gratis glass of port and chocolate cup liquor. We returned the following night.

Street views. Ours wasn't the only hill in Lisbon - city of seven hills.

There were several funiculars to whisk one from the lower city to the upper city.

The Portuguese azulejos tiles are seen everywhere in Lisbon - churches, palaces, ordinary homes and park seats.

             Urban art

Walking down the beautiful Rua Augusta, one can't help but be drawn towards its triumphal arch.

This photo is looking back to the arch from the vast waterfront square, Commercial Plaza.
Prior to the 1755 earthquake, this is where the royal palace stood for over 2 centuries. The bronze statue is of King Jose , wearing his emperor's mantle.

Elevator de Santa Justice - an example of post-Eiffel,  [Paris] iron architecture, built at the turn of the century. Another means for getting from one city level to another.

A short, gentle walk from our hotel took us to the Largo das Portas do Sol, an open plaza giving fabulous views east, over the Alfama and across the Tagus River. On our 1st evening, I made sure we had positioned ourselves well, [by 5.30] to watch the 6 pm rise of the November super moon! It did not disappoint. I just wished I had had my tripod with me.

We had a 3 day hop on hop off, bus pass. It allowed us on trams, buses and ferries so we were able to cover most of this vast beautiful city.

Opened in 1966, the Ponte Salazar is a 2 km suspension bridge across the Tagus River. In 1974 the peaceful Carnation Revolution, deposed the dictator Salazar on the 25 April. The bridge was immediately renamed - Ponte 25 de Abril or 25 of April Bridge.

The Christ the King statue overlooks the bridge and Lisbon. Completed in 1959, this Catholic, concrete monument was inspired by Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janerio. It was built by the Portuguese to express gratitude for being spared the effects of World War 11.

Our choice of afternoon for our ferry ride along the Tagus, was just perfect. Views of the city and notable landmarks were wonderful.

Middle photo below - the Belem Tower, built 1520 as a river defence.
Bottom photo - Monument to the Discoveries celebrates the Portuguese Age of Discoveries during the 15th and 16th centuries. At this time, Vasco da Gama found a sea route to India.

The Monastery of Jeronimos, completed 1604, has ornate decoration and had close ties with the early great Portuguese explorers.

One can't visit the Belem area of Lisbon, without a visit to the Pateis de Belem, to sample their famous Portuguese egg tart, Pasteis de Nada. It did not disappoint. The bakery opened in 1837 and today they still use traditional methods to create this mouth watering delicious tart, from a secret recipe handed down from the monks of the monastery.

Parliament House and an unusual building at its base.

Pedro IV Square or Rossio Square

The viewpoint of Sao Pedro de Alcantra, with its lovely fountains and Greek busts, gave us wonderful views across the city and to Castle Jorge.

The stunning, modern Lisbon Orient Train station, NE of Lisbon is in contrast to the 19th C, Rossio Station in the old city..

Campo Pequeno - Portuguese bullring.

From the top of the Eduardo VII Park, one can see all the way to the Tagus River. It took us some time, but we covered the distance on foot. On leaving the park, you enter the Marquess of Pombal Roundabout. Situated in its centre is a large statue of the Marquess who was the powerful Prime Minister at the time of the 1755 destructive earthquake and  is renowned in Lisbon for getting the city back on its feet.
Leaving the roundabout we walked down the Avenue of Liberation, modelled on the boulevards of Paris.

At the top of the Eduardo Park is this bronze, 'Mother and Child' sculpture by the Columbian artist, Fernando Botero.

 One of the many things I have loved in all the cities we've visited on this holiday, has been the volume of choices for relaxed, out door eating. In Lisbon the choices were endless. It seems such a natural way to dine.

A sloping street wasn't going to deter this eatery. The tables were set up on tiered levels.

Cobblestones, old buildings, sunshine, fantastic food, good friends, begs the question "Where's my table?"

Plenty to choose from here in the Commercial Plaza.

Our stay in Lisbon was all too short. We barely scratched the surface of its amazing history, architecture, culture and places of interest. The friendly warmth of its people also increases my desire to return.

I would love to read your comment.


  1. Your photos show obvious reason why you have a desire to return! You captured the essence of this place beautifully. I especially like your photos as you get ready to watch the super moon appear.

  2. Wow! What a spectacular place! I can't believe how narrow the streets are. They were definitely designed for another time.

    It looks like a wonderful place to visit. Thanks for "taking me" with you!

  3. Helen, you can schedule a return and so can I! It's amazing but I spent a week in Lisbon and didn't see half of what you saw and if your photos are representative there are lots of other things that I saw and that you didn't see. A truly amazing city.

  4. Oh you had such a marvelous trip! Loved all your photos of the architecture, streetscapes and food.

  5. Your pictures from this entire trip have been go good! But this batch is beyond that. I will probably never get to Lisbon, but now I feel like a part of me has been there. Really--- An amazing set of pictures.

  6. Great shots of Lisbon - it's such a lovely city!

  7. You have filled up my holiday plans for the next few years with this trip to Spain and Portugal :)
    Lisbon looks stunning. I visited on a schools cruise when I was a teenager but just for a day and remember liking it. They have those custard tarts in Tenerife as well. We ate several a day! Great photos

  8. Me again.... Yep, the same walkway and location as January 17th's picture. Glad I came back today-- I love your shots of Lisbon.