Lisbon and Belem

Arrived in Lisbon without a plan. Doing a free fall every once in awhile is exciting and one never knows where it will go. Rising early with breakfast 2 hours away I took a walk to the beach. In my walk I met a man who swims in the sea every morning with a buddy. We spoke of America and his work related visits. Here they are getting ready for a swim..

As I continued to walk I came across a young woman in her senior year at Salesianos High School in Estoril where I stayed. She was interested in becoming a surgeon. Wow! What a brilliant young woman with a plan. Nice to see and meet the future. The locals were fascinating.

Once back at the hotel I reviewed a Hop On, Hop Off bus pamphlet, however, only 2 day tickets were available. Decided to take the train into Lisbon and explore on my own. Upon departure from the train I saw various sites along the sea walk.

Some stone art work on the walk.

Then I came upon several squares and took a donation based tour of Lisbon.

Rossio Square

In Rossio Square our tour began. This lively square has been one of Lisbon’s main squares since the Middle Ages. The National Theater which was formerly a palace lies behind the Column of Pedro IV, which is a monument to King Peter IV.

Lisbon is known as the City of 7 hills, however there are actually 8, and to explore it appropriately one needs much energy and good shoes. Besides the walking tours there are also Toto’s available for tour. Tours in these small vehicles are pricey but a fun ride.

A Toto doing a night tour.

Trams are also available. The 12E for 1.35 euros takes tourists up the winding streets. This is a particularly beautiful way to capture Lisbon at night.

Driver’s View
Inside the Tram. Gosh, doesn’t that guy look bored??????

There are outside restaurants and stores along the tram route..

Sardine Store

Back to the tour…

In Lisbon’s early history it was ruled by Moors and this park pays tribute to them. Many multicultural festivals occur here. Note the modern castle facade to the right of the fountain.

From Moors to modern day art work made from plastics found in the ocean. This fish represents global concerns.

Next, we start our hilly climb courtesy of an elevator.

Lisbon has specialties to try when visiting. Bacalau is a cold water cod fish, and then there is aginjinka. Aginjinka was developed by a priest, has 23% alcohol, and a sweet sour cherry taste similar to cough medicine. While our group didn’t try the cod, we did sip the aginjinka. Mixed reviews.

Lisbon streets are charming, narrow, and pebbled. Along the way there is much to see. Here is a site where laundry is done.

Then there are the artists at work explaining musical history.

And pictures of residents..

These pictures which appears on building exteriors are a project done by a British woman to draw concerns to the regentrification of Lisbon. Many elderly are being forced from their homes with investors moving in. Lisbon has become an attractive real estate market with its climate and tax laws.

St. Anthony’s Church

While 90% of Lisbon is Catholic, few practice, however, on June 13th, the feast day of St. Anthony, all of Lisbon comes out to celebrate. The celebrations last all night. The city gives free weddings to couples wishing to marry on St. Anthony’s Feast Day. Perks for the selected couples include everything from payment of the wedding dress to 2,000 euros. They take this Feast quite seriously with some leaving their decorations up all year.

Following are pictures of St. Anthony’s Church interior, his birthplace, and baptismal fount.

In closing Lisbon views from the top of the “hill.”

Worth the hike, wouldn’t you say?

Next: Belem

A short train ride from Lisbon is the town of Belem. Besides McDonald’s, it provides more breath taking sites.

Then there is the lovely Jeronimos Monastery which was closed on the day of visit.

And the spectacular waterfront with its Discoveries Monument,

as well as the Belem Tower.

This Tower of the 16th century was the ceremonial gateway to Lisbon. As Portugal navigated the world this tower was the first and last site seen when sailors journeyed.

There are many souvenir shops in this area as well as small venues which serve food and drink while enjoying the waterfront.

This concludes Portugal and what a finale.

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