Sunday, 27 July 2014

Lisbon - Explore the city of explorers



After enjoying  the stunning southern coast of Portugal, it was time to hit the capital. I slept on the way. When I woke up, the sight was beautiful. When I looked out of the bus window, we were on a huge suspension bridge. The bridge looked exactly like the Golden gate bridge of San Francisco. Before I could comprehend the existence of this Golden gate resembling bridge, I saw a statue that looked exactly like Christ the Redeemer of Rio. For a moment I thought to myself, am I dreaming or is this the real world - Christ the Redeemer in San Francisco? Makes no sense to me.

Actually, I was in real world, and this was Lisbon. The bridge that we crossed, to reach Lisbon is suspended over the Tagus river. Its built an American company, funnily enough not by the company that built the Golden gate bridge in San Francisco. The statue of Christ standing with open arms, dominating the skyline of  is actually a replica of Christ the Redeemer statue of Rio. Its called the Cristo Rei statue.


I had only 48hrs in Lisbon, but I made sure I utilized this time in the best way possible.Capital and the largest city of Portugal, Lisbon has great historical significance. Vasco da Gama, one of the most celebrated explorers in the world, set sail from Lisbon, and reached India after crossing the Cape of Good Hope, which lead to the establishment of the great Portuguese empire.
 Lisbon, also the only European capital on the Atlantic coast, is home to over 3 million people.

Walk, walk and walk.
Its the best way to know the city. Start from the Rossio square and walk up to the Praca the Comercio.
 A lot of hustle and bustle - guaranteed. You will cross a huge arch which is beautifully carved - Augusta Rua. Don't be surprised if you cross a drug peddler. A polite no, will give the signal.
Walk to Chiado, Browse shops or just indulge in some retail therapy.


Walk to Alfama - the oldest district of Lisbon. Slightly run down, but historically very rich. A walk in this old fashioned neighbourhood is without a doubt, essential for a Lisbon visitor. Just wander and lose yourself. Walk upto the castle. The views are breathtaking. Enjoy a cup of coffee or a beer while enjoying the gorgeous views.


Soak in the vibrancy of the city. Enjoy street performances, eat, drink, shop, just have fun.


TIP: Lisbon is hilly plus the streets are made of cobblestones. Advisable to wear the most comfortable footwear you have.


    Hop on the Legendary Yellow tram of Lisbon



The experience of riding this tram should not be missed. Purchase a day pass (Eur 4) and you can travel anywhere, on the tram, metro or bus. Its definitely not the fastest means to travel, but a great way to enjoy the landmarks in the city. Tram no. 28 covers the most picturesque route. I would say a visit to Lisbon is incomplete without a ride in these trams.

TIP:  Pickpockets look like you and me, so beware. Pickpocketing is common in Lisbon, especially in the trams.

Visit Belem
Belem has some of the most important historical sights of Lisbon. Some of them are from the Age of Discovery. Hop on to a tram, and reach Belem and let the magic begin.

Jer├▓nimos Monastery
A UNESCO World Heritage site, its an example of Portuguese Late Gothic Manueline style of architecture. The Great Vasco da Gama is buried here.
The architecture is stunning. A visit to this monastery will take you back in time.

The Discoveries Monument
It is, perhaps Lisbon's most emblematic structure. It was built in the honour of Henry the Navigator. The structure has more than 30 statues of people who played an important role in the discoveries of important lands in the World.

The Belem Tower
Its a symbol of the Age of Discovery. It was built in 1515, and served as a fortress to guard Lisbon's harbour. Its made of Lioz limestone and the architecture style is Portuguese Late Gothic Manueline.



Appreciate the amazing mosaic tiles of Lisbon
Its very rare that the piece of art that we are admiring is under our feet. Thats the case with these tiles. They are all over Lisbon, on the sidewalks , on the pavements, just everywhere. These tiny pieces of tiles are put together to form stunning art. They are a combination of black basalt and white limestone. Truly stunning!





Eat the local specialities

Pastel de Nata - Portugese Egg tart

They are delicious. Remember tasting them in Macau. Macau was once a Portuguese colony, the reason why these tarts are also a local speciality there. A sprinkle of cinnamon and powdered sugar adds magic to these tiny beauties. These custard tarts are truly heavenly. Bet, you won't be able to stop at one.

    Seafood

Fish is staple in Portuguese diet. Most dishes in Portugal are fish based. The most popular is the salted cod - Bacalhau  in Portuguese.Other fishes which are widely eaten are sea bass, sardines, octopus, squid, swordfish etc. Baked, grilled, fried and even in a stew form - choose what you like and dig in.

Beautiful & charming in more ways than one, this city definitely deserves another visit. Obrigado Lisboa !


5 comments:

  1. Lisbon looks so cute and full of history!

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    1. Its a wonderful historic city. Thanks for reading :)

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  2. Great post, I'm going next week and will deffo be checking all of these out :)

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    1. Thats wonderful! Have fun! :) Thanks for reading:)

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  3. I have not been there, but I want. By the way, Portugal has the most quantity of castles on square kilometer in Europe. It is a very interesting country with very decent cuisine.

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