Wednesday, 23 October 2013

On The Tourist Trail In Lisbon 13 - 14 October 2013

      The next 3 days were to prove exhausting but worthwhile as we became professional tourists visiting all the key features of Lisbon and Sintra armed with maps, guide books and camera. Our first visit was a bit of an accident but very worthwhile and strongly recommended. It was to view all the famous old carriages in the Carriage Museum at the Palace Riding School. The building was fantastic and the carriages large, ornate and glamourous. Who says that bling has just been invented?

The Palace Riding School And Carriages
Ginny Wants One Of These As Kisti Two's Figurehead!
Carriages In The Old Riding School
      We then viewed the Maritime Museum set in a lovely old building at the end of the Monastry of Hieronymites. The Portuguese were the first great navigators of the world and if they had managed to keep the countries of all their discoveries, they would be a very rich nation.  Guy has always admired the early navigators of Portugal for the fantastic achievements of discovery they made, especially Vasco Da Gama under the leadership of Henry The Navigator. They were great navigators but not good administrators or fighters. The Maritime Museum is excellent and makes our Falmouth Maritime Museum that we visited earlier look like a small annexe! 

Guy Admiring Statue Of Vasco Da Gama
Complete With Seagull On Hat
Hieronymites Monastry Entrance
Henry The Navigator
Map Of Portuguese Discoveries
The Royal Barge. QE2 Was The Last To Use It
Maritime Museum Entrance
     After a quick Ronnies Burger, it was time to explore the magnificent Hieronymites Monastry built from the rewards of the navigators discoveries. A stunning building with a very peaceful priory for meditation. We also found time to visit the Monument To Discoveries and the Bethlehem Tower, both large landmarks as you come up the river to Lisbon. This first day of tourism was exhausting but fascinating. It was early to bed that night with very weary feet.
Maritime Museum & Hieronymites Monastry
Hironymites Monastry In Belem Area
Monument To The Discoveries With Lisbon's April 25 Bridge
Monastry Interior
Vasco Da Gama Tomb In The Monastry
Monastry Cloisters
Monastry Dinning Hall
Cloisters Walkway
The Bethlehem Tower
     Day 2 of tourism and it was to prove another interesting day. Our aim was to spend a day discovering old Lisbon visiting Alfama, Medieval Lisbon, the Baixa and its squares. The first was the Praca do Comercio with the equestrian statue of Jose 1 and the Triumphal Arch all at the original site of the Royal Palace before the fateful earthquake of 1755 which did much tremendous damage to the city. We walked through the straight lined streets of Baixa (designed by a military engineer of course) to the Praca Dom Pedro IV, the heart of present day Lisbon.

Ginny At The Praca do Comercio
Guy At The Praca do Rossio.
They Love The Wavy Floors
     The next was a hard climb up zig zagging streets to the Castelo de Sao George. This castle is of Arab origin and sits on top of the highest hill providing outstanding views. It was attacked by a French noble who became King Afonso Henriques in 1147 with the help of a powerful army of British Crusaders and Franks to help snatch it from the Moorish troops. The battle lasted 17 weeks but was instrumental in pushing the Arabs out of Europe. It is a must visit if in Lisbon

Monument To King Afonso Henriques
Ginny Inside The Castle St George
The Ramparts Of Castle St George
The View Of Lisbon From Castle St George
    Next was a walk down through the narrow winding streets of Alfama (a contrast to Baixa's reconstruction) to Lisbon's Cathedral. Another stunning building dating back to 1195. They have been digging up the cloisters and found Roman and Arab settlements hidden under the central courtyard garden. This visit was to conclude our second day in Lisbon, so with weary feet again, we caught the train back to Cascais to recover on Kisti Two.

Archeological Priory Dig
The Cathedral Interior From Above
Cathedral Interior From Ground Level