Archive for the ‘Placa do Comercio’ Tag

Winter Break in Lisbon – Belem and Evening Sunset Walk   10 comments

Back on to the rather disorganised chaos that is a Lisbon Tram and onwards to the Belem district that holds plenty more of Lisbon’s famous sights. We hopped off at the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos.

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It’s a massive and truly stunning building, blindingly white in the winter sunshine. I’m told its equally stunning inside but we’d save that for another day and earlier time as it was thronged with people.

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The gardens outside were equally grand and the views were superb.

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I had a day in Lisbon on my schools cruise in my youth. I remember liking Lisbon and this is one of the sights I remember from that day, Padrão dos Descobrimentos, a monument to Henry the Navigator, whoever he was.

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An impressive structure with great views across the water front to the bridge.

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We were here for lunch but all the restaurants looked full until we found one that looked expensive but I was tempted in because I was hungry and because the stunningly attractive waitress beckoned me in and found us a table. It was expensive but the food was really good (and we had another custard tart for pudding!)

The Belem Tower is one of the most famous sights in Lisbon and on a clear and sunny winters day it does gleam in the sunshine.

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Its very ornate and its position right by the waterfront is a fine one.

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We declined the offer of a long queue and headed back to the flat.

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We stopped off at Placa do Comercio which looked very fine under in the afternoon sunshine. We would have lingered a while but they were testing out the sound system for New Years Eve with bass so loud and low my kidneys were vibrating.

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We could still hear it a couple of levels down in the Metro station. Last shot of the castle to bring the day full circle.

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Well almost. Me and TBF decided there was enough daylight for another stroll so we headed out to the Miradors from the day before to watch the sun go down.

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The white buildings and red roofs were especially fetching in the low sun.

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The views from the Miradors were superb.

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We wandered back to the flat past the Igreja de São Vicente de Fora.

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And the Pantheon.

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Both just catching the last of pink glow of the setting sun.

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Our walk back took us through more wonderful narrow streets packed with tiny restaurants. Lisbon seemed to have more of these than any other place I’ve been. I wanted to eat in every one.

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Many of the houses has this tiled effect on the outside.

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And one final shot of our flat and the lovely little square it sat in.

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A fabulous day in the sun and we all agreed Lisbon is a fine city and pleased we decided to explore as part of our New Year trip.

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Onwards and southwards to the Canaries!

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Winter Break in Lisbon – Miradors and Trams   10 comments

After the delights of Yorkshire it was time for more travels. We were headed for our usual dose of winter sun in the Canary Isles but due the vagaries of flight times and costs we choose to fly via Lisbon. May as well spend a couple of days there and have a look around then!

We were staying in the old district of Alfama, a maze of narrow streets and red roofed moorish houses. After a brief look round and fine meal the evening we arrived we set out the next morning for a proper explore.

Lots of small squares with orange trees in the neighbourhood.

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Lisbon has lots of old style trams and this is one of the tours versions at the first square we came to.

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As you’ll see from the many photos, Lisbon is a very hilly city. It has numerous squares and platforms for extensive views across the city called Miradors. We chose to take a look at a few on our first morning to get a feel for the city as it were. These first few photos are taken from the Largo das Portas do Sol and the Miradouro de Santa Luzia.

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Our little flat is just to the left and below the left hand church tower in the photo below.

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One of the regular trams.

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Onwards and upwards to the second view point at Miradouro de Graca. Fine views across the city.

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And onto the final and highest one at Miradouro da Nossa Senhora do Monte.

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Down through some typical narrow Lisbon streets to the plaza at Martin Moniz with its splendid fountains.

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Back to the apartment for some lunch. This is our little block.

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Onwards for more walking down to Lisbon’s most famous square at Placa do Comercio.

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Its a huge open space down by the river which they were clearly preparing for New Year festivities.

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Another Metro trip across town to pick up one of the Funicular railways that plough up the narrow hilly streets. This one is the Ascensor da Gloria.

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In truth this one and its incline had been badly affected by graffiti but it was still fun.

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It took us up to our final viewpoint of the day at Miradouro da Sao Pedro da Alcantara, looking back across the city from the opposite side to where we’d looked out in the morning.

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Lisbon’s trams are somewhat curious in that they are very small, crowded, infrequent and not very clear as to where they go (we did find a map after a couple of days). We hopped on this one hoping it would take us down to the waterfront but it terminated after just one stop!

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A walk down through the city to one of the more odd features the rather grandiose Elevador de Santa Justa.

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There was huge queue to ascend the lift for a fee which is odd as you can walk to the viewing platform at the top for free (we tried to find the top but failed and never got chance to go back). Very impressive to look at from the bottom though.

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We walked through Praca Rossio with its fountains (turned off by the time we got there) and then picked up a tram to take us back to Alfama.

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A quick look inside the Se de Lisboa cathedral.

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A huge building, as much castle as church.

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This is the Igreja de Sao Miguel opposite our flat, viewed from the lounge window before we headed out for a meal and some music.

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And a nighttime view of the flat.

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It was actually raining when we set out which was something of a surprise but it stopped by the time we’d donned jackets. We walked back up to the mirador we visited in the morning for a night view across the city.

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And the cathedral.

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We had another fine meal out this time accompanied by some traditional Portuguese and Lisbon music called Fado. Its a very intense, emotional sort of folk music and whilst its not my sort of thing was very enjoyable and is an essential part of any visit to the city. A very short clip from my phone below.

Fado is normally just a singer and a guitar and this young lady was very talented and had one hell of a voice. It was a contrast to watch her really fill the restaurant with her voice and yet be so quietly spoken when she introduced the songs. It was a great accompaniment to a fine meal and well worth finding a Fado restaurant when you visit regardless of your musical taste.

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A whistle stop tour of the city in a day covering many sights and views and one of the city’s cultural experiences. A great start to a great trip.

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