The unique charm that Lisbon holds is not to be underestimated. Colour and vitality infused with a rich history cover the city’s old town, be it the beautifully decorated wall tiles, or the terracotta roofs giving the vista a higgledy piggledy look.
Lisbon is built on many hills on the side of the Tagus river. Crossing from one side to the other is something very confusing. Arriving at the impressive bridge you suddenly start to question your location as the Golden Gate Bridge rises before you. And to make it worse as you look across the river to your destination you find Brazil’s Christ the Redeemer holding His hands out in welcome!
Down at the river’s edge is Plaça do Comercio – the trading hub of Old Lisboa. This is the place where the grand voyage across the Atlantic Ocean, to the new world took place. The once great Portuguese Explorers are now memorialised by two large pillars in the water. I think they actually discovered the whole world!!
Is sensational and so so cheap in Lisbon. The fish markets are easily accessible to the public. Cafes and restaurants are full of fresh produce and speciality dishes. We took a photo (above) of the Sunday meat feast, full of pork done three ways, potato, rice, sausage and chops, just to prove how much there was served to us! We had to take it home and I forced myself to eat the rest later, even though i was ready to burst! All of that was €8! This was at Principe do Calhariz – a long, narrow historic grill restaurant with veal & cod as well as a traditional Portuguese menu.
Now – are you a cheese lover? Look out for the cheese pictured above – it is a sheep’s cheese from the north of Portugal. It stinks the house out but oh so worth it! At room temperature it is liquid, surrounded by the rind. It costs around €7 for the size above.
Also above is the famous Bacalhau – salted and dried cod. When it is cooked it resembles rice, with a fluffy texture. It is often mixed like you would mix various ingredients into rice. And We couldn’t leave Lisbon without trying Polvo in any form! My favourite was the Octpus Salad! The Lisboa Gran Reserva was and still is without a doubt a winner. Drink lots of it – it makes Portugal even better (if that’s possible)!
The Streets | São Jorge Castle
When I moved to the UK imagined castles to be long walls with curtain walls. They do – but just aren’t comparable to the Moorish castles of Iberia. São Jorge Castle stands proudly at the top of the tallest hill in Lisbon. There isn’t much inside, but it is still mainly intact, and the views over the city are beautiful. You can get a idea of what the early times were like, with the Moorish occupation, as well as a history lesson on the first King of Portugal, who defeated the Moors.
Walking back down the hill into the city we passed the old cathedral, with cracks from the Lisbon earthquake of 1755. Most of the buildings in Lisbon are from post this year, as it was devastating to the local infrastructure. Despite this there are little pockets of pre-earthquake shopfronts, some covered in tiles to hide repairs.
The number 28 Tram is an institution – although it is usually packed with tourists. There are plenty of other trams to get on, and given some of the hills to climb – it’s probably preferable to a vertical hike!!!
Lisbon is really just beautiful!