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November 24th 2014
Published: November 24th 2014
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LISBON. 21,22,23,24 November, 2014.

Our hotel is well situated, one street from the Plaza running down to the waterfront. A huge square with a spectacular entrance gate to the city.

We very much like Lisbon. There are bars and open air cafes on most corners and the atmosphere feels like you should live for today, as who knows what tomorrow may bring. This seems to be the feel of the Mediterranean Europe.

Lisbon feels poorer than Barcelona however has a real seafaring feel. The buildings are shorter, maybe 5 storeys, some a little past their prime, in marvellous shades of pink, yellow, cream and blue. The city is very hilly, right down to the waterfront. There are small trams plying the streets, maybe 30 feet in length in bright yellows and reds. There are also tuk tuks, generally much better cared for than than the ones in Asia and Thailand. Not so much used as taxis but as tourist transport.

The food here has been delicious. Mostly tapas style. The wine and beer are also excellent! They even conduct tastings on the street at 10 am, so different to Morocco.

Looming over the city is the Castillon, old fort. We walked up a very steep hill to it and were treated with exceptional views over the city and harbour. Lisbon is another city that welcomes cruise ships, and whilst we have been here a number have arrived and departed.

Portugal is strongly Catholic influenced and there are many churches, monasteries, nunneries and Cathedrals.

We have walked miles and miles here in Lisbon. Yesterday we walked to Belem at the harbour entrance, walking along the port esplanade, under the bridge of the 25 April. Similar in style to the Golden Gate.(27th largest suspension bridge in the world, opened in 1966 and renamed to 25.4 to commemorate the Carnation revolution in 1974, being the peaceful overthrow of the communist government, no shot was fired! Belem is the port from where Vasco de Gama departed to discover India in about 1497. There is an incredible cathedral at Belem, not tall but with a stone vaulted ceiling. Was raining so caught the train back to near our hotel. Lisbon has a wide variety of public transport - trams, buses, metro, ferries, taxis, tuk tuks, and lifts ascending the hills.

Today we thought we would visit Sintra out of Lisbon. Purchased the train tickets and then discovered the trains were on strike. Not very happy, and no refund. So we then walked miles to the bus station to purchase tickets for tomorrow's departure to Faro on the Algarve. We intended taking the train, but after today's fiasco, thought the bus may be more reliable.

Walked up Libertad, an imposing boulevard, tree lined with central divider between traffic lanes, populated with gardens and cafes. Also the home of the international expensive shops, which it was refreshing not to have seen in the main part of town. On the walk we spied an incredible viaduct style bridge stretching across a deep valley. Saw it on the map, but never expected to walk past it!!

The are also monuments to the 12 October. Apparently this is a significant date due to King Pedro appointing his son as Emperor of Brazil on this date some centuries ago. So both our birthday days have Portuguese significance - no wonder we like the place!!


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