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lysdor Lisbon - A travel report by Tiina
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Lisbon,  Portugal - flag Portugal -  Lisboa
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lysdor's travel reports

Panoramas, up & down walking and good food!

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Lisbon travelogue picture
The heart of Lisbon is a relatively new area called Baixa. After the 1755 earthquake this part was rebuilt as a trade center by Marquês de Pombal, thus earning the name of Baixa Pombalina. It is also one of the city's biggest traditional shopping districts. The main street is called Rua Augusta and has many cafés, restaurants and shops. The original uniform, rectilinear architecture is still evident today. The names of the streets parallel to Rua Augusta still allude to the traders and craftsmen based in the area since the Age of the Discoveries There is still that feeling of a genuine OLD TOWN with cobble-stone narrow streets and beautiful houses, not to forget the pigeons flying all over you ;-)!! Not a bad idea to come here before lunch time, do some shopping and stop to rest and taste some delicious Gambas à l'ail!

Favourite spots:
Lisbon travelogue picture
THE BEST WAY TO VISIT LISBON IS ON FOOT Even if Lisbon is located on hills, the best way to get to know the city is to walk if you feel fit enough! Otherwise take the tram nbr 28 to have an overview of the capital. During a not-so-hot-day (temperatures were up to 32C while there - and journeys were a bit tough!!) but it's a MUST to walk to Castelo de São Jorce (or take the tram 28 East from Baixa). THE FORTRESS This used-to-be a multipurpose building (fortress, royal residence and prison) and it offers splendid views in all directions. Little remains of the palace are still left. There is a restaurant and a small café where refreshments can be taken before moving on. PRACA DO COMERCIO Usually all visitors start their visit at Praca do Comércio, so did we (but arrived with the metro, not with the boat!!) The huge bronze statue of Dom José I welcomes everybody.!).

What's really great:
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ALFAMA Below Castelo there´s Alfama disctrict which atmosphere was created by the Moors. During that time it used to be an upper-class residental area but after earthquakes this area has been a place for fishers. We were here during the daylight as there are not so many interesting restaurants to be courageously explored in the dark evenings on these narrow alleys. BAIRRO ALTO Laid out in the 16th century, its name means literally high quarter. It was the first district to have straight streets. Nowadays it looks like a maze where you probably will think first you don´t want to get lost during the night. However, it´s relatively quiet, but only during day time. At night this area becomes a night life scenenery with many clubs, bars and local restaurants worth to get lost! Get to Bairro Alto and Chiado by using this nearly 100 years old Elevador de Santa Justa....Art Nouveau?

Lisbon travelogue picture
It is a must-see, even if it is probably the most photographed monument in Portugal. This tower used to locate out in mid-stream of river Tagus when Vasco da Gama left to India and other sailors of the Age of Discoveries left to other destinations to be explored.

Belém is linked to Portugal's Golden Age of Discoveries as the site where the famous navigators set sail to discover the world. Today it is a spacious green suburb with many gardens, parks and monuments that are well worth a visit. Amongst Belém's attractions are the Jerónimos Monastery, the Monument to the Discoveries, the Torre de Belém, the Belém Cultural Centre and Rua Vieira Portuense.

Originally it served as a fortress. Nowadays local people seem to gather here around the park during the summer weekends. Wishing I had some sparkling in my backbag...

Because of Vasco da Gama´s return, the monastery - Mosteiro dos Jerónimos - was orderded to be build by Dom Manuel I.

Lisbon travelogue picture
There are couple of good view points (Miradouros) in Lisbon.

One of them is Miradouro Santa Lucia from which the roofs of Alfama and the white top of the impressive Mosteiro de San Vicente can be seen.

From the hills of Castelo there´s also a good view to this Igreja de Santa Graca, once the greatest church in Lisboa. From the church itself there´s a great view towards the city.

Another splendid view is from Bairro Alto over the city and the Castelo.

In order to get there take this tram-like Elevador da Gloria from Praca dos Restauradores.

FUN but don't expect a long journey it's an EXTRA-short trip, lol!

Lisbon travelogue picture
Chiado was at the end of the 19th century, a fashionable meeting place for intellectuals such as Fernando Pessoa, Almada Negreiros and Eça de Queiroz.
Their most famous haunt was the café A Brasileira (see below at restaurants tips), which is still today favoured by the city's art students.
This famous café is located at Rua Garret in Chiado and is a good place to have a light lunch brake or an aperitive before dinner. The sitting bronze statue is a frequent customer, poet Fernando Pessoa, who must have had such good service and decided to stay a little bit longer, lol!!

Much more interesting place is the bar named Pavilhão Chinês - Chinese Pavillion, at Rua Dom Pedro V 89 near Bairro Alto.

DOCA DE SANTO AMARO is a very popular place for bar life and outdoor dining.
Doca 6 turned out to be a quite ok place for fish dishes.
Pricing wasn´t that cheap but the view to the bridge was great and the harbour was full of silly fishes!

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RESTAURANT X at Baixa at Rua dos Porreeiros.
Superb Gambas à l'ail and white fish! The bread was excellent even though the ice cream cup was taken straight out the fridge...
... but price-wise it was a real bargain!

RESTAURANT PARIS at Rua dos Sapateiros 126.
The place is said to be an institution, just like the Brussels-Vincent-like-old-gentlemen-style restaurant but was a big disapointment. Nothing indeed to compare with its 'Brussels' cousin'!!
Gambas were shrimps and the cover charge was OVERprized, and we even didn´t touch the cheese!
Don´t believe everything books and Internet are telling you!

Definitely, the best (lunch) restaurant at Rua da Portas de Santo Antonio 58.
Most of the restaurants are real tourist traps in the Restauradores area, but this one makes a difference. The entrance is not very appealing but once inside you discover the wonders of this old mauresque building with many different oldish rooms and fabulous azulejos

Other recommendations:
Lisbon travelogue picture
When you continue by walking upriver (somebody said it´s not so far away, but it took a lot of time!) from Belém towards the city center, you reach the Discoveries Monument with figures of all the famous portuguese explorers, poets and painters.

...Maybe somebody had an idea to have here a SanFrancisco-RioDeJaneiro mix!

The Park of Nations, was built for the Expo 1998.
Today this area is a good place for shopping and leisure time.

Vasco da Gama is the largest bridge in Europe with a length of 17.2 km (10 miles), 10 km of which are over the Tagus river. It was inaugurated on the 4th of April 1998. Located right next to the Nations Park (former site of the Expo 98) it got its name on the same year of the 5th centenary of the arrival of Vasco da Gama to India

Published on Tuesday October 14th, 2003

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