After the trials and tribulations of Angola, we flew to Lisbon where we parted company, Phillip to go on to Madrid, me to stay in Lisbon for … well, was it for a visit? That’s for the next blog. But since I had to be there anyway, I did go for a visit.
The title image with its welcome sign Bem-Vindo a Lisboa is obviously a luggage carousel, an empty one to symbolize my lack of luggage. My goodness, it’s easy to travel when you have nothing to check on one end and nothing to pick up on the other! I breezed through.
When your luggage gets stolen, things get real basic real fast.
#1 Toothbrush and Toothpaste. Fortunately this was supplied for me by a friend in Angola who gave me one of those travel pouches they hand out on airplanes. It had a minibrush and paste, a comb, a pair of socks, razor and body lotion. Good start.
#2 Underwear. I figured I’d wait until Lisbon to deal with the underwear situation. On Day One the first stop was El Cortes Inglés:
It’s a big huge shopping center. Once I went inside I had absolutely no idea where I was. I could have been anywhere in the world, including the Nishinomiya Gardens shopping center in Japan. There were all the big global name brands. I made an effort but got overwhelmed and eventually left with nothing.
Mostly I wondered why no soap opera has ever been set in a shopping center. It would be perfect setting for all sorts of drama between the merchants, the sales people, the customers. Too difficult to stage, I suppose.
#3 Exercise Clothes. I wasn’t going to do any real exercise in Lisbon, so those purchases could wait until Bucharest.
So what to do, since I really can’t shop? On Day Two I strolled downtown and took a hop on-hop off bus to sightsee.
As you see Lisbon is situated on the Rio Tejo, and it’s a lovely setting.
You pick up the bus at traffic circle Marquês de Pombal:
There are three routes traced on the tourist map above: red, blue and green. The green are all the historic downtown sights. I figured I could do those on foot. I chose the red-blue combo, mostly because it was the longest and would kill the most time.
So I got on, but I don’t like being in the sun so I sat inside:
You see lots of interesting architectural details:
And lots of azuleijos, the blue tiles that are so distinctively Portuguese and that I saw in Angola
The trolleys still run:
You get glimpses down charming alleyways:
And spectacular vistas:
The bus first went to the suburb of Belém, where you see a cool tower:
I was curious about Belém only because I knew it as a coastal city in Brazil that I referred to in The Emerald Hour and that played a role in the rubber trade. It was interesting to me to see the namesake.
Otherwise when the red line tour was over, we passed through city center, and I took a few photos of main squares. Here’s one:
I can’t say I cared who the statues were of. I can say that I enjoyed the balmy, maritime atmosphere wafting around downtown, since Lisbon is nestled on a bay that opens onto the Atlantic.
Then the red line merged seamlessly with the blue line … and we were off in parts of the city that I could not believe had any tourist appeal. Docks, industrial stuff. Interesting in and of itself, but not picturesque.
Then we got to what I suppose is New Lisbon, and I perked up. It’s chock full of glass and steel structures, and everyone of them looks to be some kind of biotech company.
Then there’s this very cool train station that I took a bunch of picture of. This one should give you an idea:
So all the tourists are downtown in the green bus zone. The really happening part of town is the north east where the new economy seems to be booming. Here’s an example.
So that was it for me and touring Lisbon. Here’s an example of what I saw but didn’t visit.
See: All Europe Blogs
This post was written by Julie Tetel Andresen