0116 Eat your Heart out, Madrid… (Por 005—new)

Lisbon Travel Blog

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How lazy people get up the hills

As soon as my bus reaches the magnificent suspension bridge that crosses the bay to Lisbon, I know that I’m on my way to an extraordinary city… From the bridge I got a great panoramic view of the steep hills with beautiful orange tiled rooftops crammed in between. And it seems that around every bend the Lisbon never ceases to surprise and amaze me…

 The highway squeezes between through a ravine that suddenly opens up… to the most amazing Roman aqueduct that I’ve ever imagine… rising up to a dizzying height above the valley below.  An extraordinary engineering feat that shows the amazing capabilities that people had at that time…

(correction: the aqueduct was built during the Enlightenment, 250 years ago)

Although, I can’t help but wonder… Couldn’t they have built used a tightly sealed pipe along the valley floor and accomplished the same thing?  That would sure have been a lot simpler!  But certainly not as breathtaking as a towering aqueduct….

I get off at the bus station and head back towards the bay where it seemed the heart of the city was.  I’ve had pretty good luck finding cheap places to stay so far in Portugal—hopefully Lisbon won’t be the exception… I end up heading down a boulevard through another deep valley lined with modern hotels and office buildings.  Then to a huge traffic circle with a gentle sloping hill with a carefully manicured garden and enormous Portuguese flag blowing in the wind… I’ll have to come back and explore that more later…

On down a tree lined boulevard towards the real heart of the city.  On the way I sneak down a couple of sidestreets in search of a cheap hotel… Sure enough, I find a shabby place directly above the police station.

  The friendly receptionist from Cape Verde is eager to tell me all about her country.  Then I head up to my room way up in the attic—with windows straight out of Peter Pan overlooking the city.  I can even climb out on to the tiled roof to get a better look…

I’m really going to like this city…

I head out to explore the city.  I soon reach the Main Plaza with its regal architecture and monuments… and a train station suitable for royalty…

To get up the neighborhoods at the top of the hills, you have three choices:  enormous public elevators, angled trains, or, of course, by foot… I wander up to the top, through the winding streets… past magnificent neo classical government buildings that seemed to pop up in the middle of nowhere… on down to a lively bar district over near the bridge across the bay…

And that’s how Lisbon became one of my favouritest cities… I’m a sucker for cities with steep hills, huge bridge—not to mention aqueducts… Beautiful architecture, cheap lodging, the best all you can eat buffet in the world… and did I mention there’s a castle on top of one of those hills?

And perhaps the coolest thing about Lisbon is the surprise effect… I mean I know Paris, Rome, Venice are amazing cities, so the expectations are big before I get there.

But I didn’t really have any expectations when I came to Lisbon.  All I knew was that it’s the capital of a relatively poor and often overlooked European country.

The next couple of days…

Then next day I head down to take some pictures and video clips around the Main Plaza.  Then I get the urge to check out what’s on the other side of the bay, so I head across to see what there is to see…

Later on, I come back and set out to explore some more Lisbon neighborhoods.  To the north of the Main Plaza is the “Old City” with a labyrinth of pedestrian only alleys with stairways snaking up and down the hills.  Little cafes offering delicious homestyle Portuguese lunches are hidden around every bend… I even happen on an archaeological dig—right smack in the middle of the road.


I pack up the next day… it’s time for me to head on my way.  I grab another ferry to explore yet another couple suburbs across the bay.  But afterwards, I feel Lisbon pulling me back like a magnet… I still need to revisit that flag park and get a closer look at the aqueduct across town… So I decide to stay on yet another day…

nathanphil says:
Thanks for the correction. Sorry, I guess I just automatically connect aqueducts with the Roman Empire.
Posted on: Mar 29, 2014
Crow1147 says:
"most amazing Roman aqueduct that I’ve ever imagine… rising up to a dizzying height above the valley below. An extraordinary engineering feat that shows the amazing capabilities that people had at that time..."

(!) The aqueduct was built in the XVIII century, 1250 years after the fall of the Western Roman Empire.

Who told you that all aqueducts have to be "Roman"?

"the amazing capabilities that people had at that time" ... yes, 250 years ago.
Posted on: Mar 28, 2014
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How lazy people get up the hills
How lazy people get up the hills
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