Sunday, December 9, 2007

Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal is a wonderful city. It is very easy to navigate on foot. For the few times we needed, the taxis were plentiful and cheap. We did all of our touring self-guided, with information I had brought from home.

Lisbon is built in a valley, with many of the older sections rising up along the adjoining hillsides. We started our day by taking a taxi to the top of the Alfama district and walking down. This is a very old part of Lisbon with a lot of Moorish influence. The Castle of St. George is well worth a visit for the spectacular views of the city and surrounding area.

After working our way to the central area, we continued to wander past monuments, through pedestrian streets, and along the waterfront. We made our way to the Gloria Elevador, which would take us up to the Bairro Alto district. Finding it closed for repair, we did what everyone else was doing....we walked and, at the top, discovered the Lisbon Port Wine Institute. After our long day, it was delightful to sit in air-conditioned comfort and sip port wine.

On our second day, we visited the Belem district, a historical area to the west of Lisbon, easily accessible by bus or taxi. Our first stop was the National Coach Museum. I found the different styles and decorations of the coaches quite interesting. Other worthwhile stops in this area are the Belem Tower and the Monument to Discovery. At the Jerónimos Monastery we visited the chapel which has the crypt of the explorer Vasco de Gama but the high point here are the Cloisters. This is an absolutely magnificent setting and, like the city of Lisbon, well worth visiting.

Lisbon links:
Portugal Official Tourism Website
Tours For You - they arranged a wonderful custom tour for us

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