Lisbon Travel Blog› entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
July 17th, 2007 – by: ms_travelr
Of course we didn't understand a single word but luckily there was a Dutch guy standing next to us who lived in Lisbon and was nice enough to translate for us. A very sad but beautiful melody. And exceptional way to end our evening and begin my first visit to Portugal.
The next morning was exactly what I expected from Portugal...blue skies and a warm breeze.
First stop was to the Castle of Sao Jorge (Castle of Saint George) which is located on the highest hill of the historic part of the city.
Leading down from the castle are small narrow streets winding through the old quarters of the city. Some of the buildings are in poor shape while others are covered with beautiful century old tiles. It was like walking though an art gallery.
Then it was time for lunch and some window shopping in Baixa (downtown). It was such a big contrast from the old quarters. This part of the city was rebuilt after the earthquake of 1755 and was one of Europe's first example in neoclassical design. Despite the wide boulevards (many pedestrians only) lined with shops and cafes, the charm of the city can be seen with the appearance of street vendors and occassional tramcars as well as the tiled facades of the boutiques. I could have spent the whole day just sitting and watching people go merrily on their way.
But I had a mission. On my list of things to see was the Tower of Belem and according to the map, it would take some time walking.
The Tower of Belem was built in the 16th century as a gateway to Lisbon and part of the defense system to the river and the Jeronimos Monastery both placed on the UNESCO world heritage list in 1983.
And it is here, close to the western portal, where one can see the tombs of Luis de Camoes (1527-1570) and Vasco da Gama (1467-1523). Being a big history buff, this was pretty exciting to me.
Dinner was in Cascais which is a coastal town about 30 km west of Lisbon and is very popular for beach goers. We took a taxi there and the train back. The train trip is inexpensive, takes about 30 minutes and probably the most convenient way to travel between the two. A 'nice to know' for the next time....and there will be a next time.
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