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Champions in Lisbon

sunny 29 °C

On reaching Lisbon, we are soon lost as the maps we have show either Portugal or the small area around our hotel. We park in taxi zone to talk to a policeman. Ignoring the taxis that seem to appear from nowhere to protest our cheek, he gives us directions in Portuguese which we have neglected to learn. The waving of hands is a start and we head off and are soon lost a bit closer to our hotel. We follow a few signs to the bigger hotels, when we suddenly appear on our small map and we can be guided in. We are at the Hotel Botanica which is very welcoming and we park the car out the front just before the street fills with all sorts parking, delivering and arguing.
We get a map which shows where we got lost, then walk down into the city. Well we walk as far as a funicular railway which we just have to go for a ride on.
A funicular

A funicular

This takes us into Barrio Alto, where ther is a huge concentration of restaurants, bars, pubs and Fado singing shows. Given this is the night of the UEFA Champions League final, L has to suffer watching the game in a bar while we have tapas. We are in the Bar Artis and the food is good, L loved the octopus, G loved the flaming sausage (more to watch I think) and I loved the smoked ham and sausages. The game was good, but the result was not what I wanted.
hot sausages

hot sausages


We walk back to the hotel, arguing about various routes until I am once again triumphant (but cannot claim it)
After our hotel breakfast we head up to the Castello. We take the tram. We get off too early. We have to walk half way around the Castello to reach the entrance. We are in.
Where the tram goes

Where the tram goes

On the tram

On the tram


The castle is well situated on the local high point. The battlements are well preserved, and a few of the towers further up. This means you get an atmospheric walk with some great views over Lisbon. Not that the views are that much to look at. Lisbon has quite a bit of urban sprawl and it starts very close in. There is some interesting antiquities in the museum, and they have been excavating some of the older areas of the castle with Moorish and medieval remains. I thought it was well worth the trip.
Next to the public toilets

Next to the public toilets

Cannon boy again

Cannon boy again

In the Castello

In the Castello


We take the little old rattler tram down the hill to pick up the flash new tram out along the river front to Belem. First stop is Pasteis de Belem where we buy their world famous Portuguese Tarts. And they are nice – very nice. Nearly as good as the ones in Johnstone St, Fitzroy.
Go Car do it yourselfguides

Go Car do it yourselfguides


We cruise to the waterfront (once we have found the underpass) and have a look at the Memorial to the Discoveries, a massive commemoration to the various navigators, captains and adventurers who covered the globe and made Portugal rich back then because they had a flag and the locals didn’t (see Eddie Izzard). I remember reading about this when I was a kid, and it had stuck in there at the back of my brain somewhere, so I had to see it.
The monument to discoveries

The monument to discoveries

Quickly up to the Torres De Belem, but no time to go in.
Torre de Belem

Torre de Belem

I want to get back to the Science and Technology Museum to see the World Press Photography exhibition. This is full of fantastic images from news, sports, reportage or projects. There were some very disturbing ones from Gaza, Iran and Iraq, showing a small bit of what really happens. There were some beautiful wildlife ones and some more uplifting people photos. Overall very powerful and moving.
We get back to the tram and head back in. We then get on the Disco funicular up to Barrio Alto and have a tapas dinner and some local wines at the Alfaia Garraferia (wine bar) in R. do Diário de Notícias and bloody good it was too. Back at the hotel, we finish off the Pasteis for desert.
The other funicular coming down...

The other funicular coming down...


In the morning we pack the car and wait for the parking area to clear so we can leave. We have really enjoyed Lisbon and would have liked to spend a few more days here. We almost get lost leaving town, but manage okay.

Posted by lostagain 11:22 Archived in Portugal

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