Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Lisbon

I found out again that it is nearly impossible to find time to write a blog while traveling with friends because of course we want to use every moment for exploring, sight-seeing, shopping or just relaxing and watching the city express itself. So now that I am home I finally have time to write about all we saw in Lisbon. Don't be surprised, I took so many photos that there will be probably more photos than text.

In total we actually only spent two full days in the city, the other time we explored some places outside the city. So the first day in the city we first had a ride on the popular yellow tram that goes through the old city where you can have a look at the most important sights.


The tram took us over all the hills of Lisbon - there are really plenty of them. It is like you are never walking just straight along, always uphill or downhill.


At the end we got out and found ourselves in front of a big white church. It turned out that we could go on the roof of that church which we certainly did.


There we not only had a great sight over the city and the river Tejo but also inside the church.



I always like to compare churches in different countries because they always tell a lot about the culture and the history of a region. In Lisbon, the churches look a lot like those in Austria, but without all that golden decoration everywhere. In all the churches I saw there was no gallery where people can sit, just the ground floor. Also, the illuminated areas are like altars for different saints. Here you can light up candles for the saint you like the most - it remembered me a lot of Mexico. There, they also like to praise the saints and pray for them. Here in Portugal there is no praying, just lighting up candles.


Then we visited a park just across from the church - there seem to be small parks everywhere in the city. In the park we heard music, so we followed the sound and found a band playing on two in the afternoon.


The next stop was Belém, a part of the city that is a little bit outside but also has pretty much to offer. Very special was the Torre de Belém, a tower that was originally guarding the river and showing the wealth of Lisbon. But after the big earthquake of 1755 the tower was suddenly surrounded by water. I don't know whether you heard about that earthquake but it was the strongest one recorded in Europe and it even caused small tsunamis in England and France. After the earthquake, the following Tsunami and the fire caused by the earthquake that went on for 5 days, about 85 % of Lisbon was destroyed. This earthquake also triggered the portuguese people to start "researching" the causes of the catastrophe which lead to the creation of seismology.

 
  
In the whole city of Lisbon we always saw beautiful grafitty, but in the district of Belém we found the most beautiful one.




 They even hat their own palace there.


In the evening we decided to go out and ended up at a concert again. It was like people in Lisbon really like to spend their nights outside.


Since it was still quite early we first headed to the river to relax before looking for somewhere to go out.


The brightly lit up thing on the left is a small replica of Cristo Redentor on a big socket. The bridge is called bridge of the 25th of April but for some reason we always forgot the date so first we called it just "Datumsbrücke" (date bridge). In daylight it is actually red so it looks a lot like the golden gate bridge which lead us to the name "golden date bridge". There is another big important bridge in Lisbon, the porte de vasco da gama, which is the longest bridge in Europe, but we only saw it partly from the castle and once from the plane when leaving.


When heading to the bairro alto to go out we found out people mostly have fun on the streets and just get into the bars for getting something to drink. So there was one band playing just on the corner of a street and people were actually dancing to the music - not dancing like in a disco but really dancing! And the music was great, people living there opened the windows to enjoy the songs as well.



The second day in Lisbon was also the last day there, therefore we wanted to go by elevator into the upper city. The elevator was opened in 1902 and constructed by a student of Eiffel like all the other elevators in the city. It is 45 meters high and the only one going straight upward - the other ones are more like mountain railways.


On the top of the elevator there is a viewpoint with a great sight on the pedestrian areas of the city as well as all the red roofs. In Graz we have those red roofs in the inner city as well, but the buildings there are not that high.


Directly next to the elevator there was this church without a roof. It was destroyed in the big earthquake and they started rebuilding it but after the religious orders were ambolished and the church was more or less disempowered, they could not finish it. So now it is a archeological museum and when the weather is good there is absolutely nothing wrong about not having a roof.


On the street we found this two guys that were really creative.




After a successful shopping day we decided to finish the day on the castle where we had a marvellous view over the inner city of Lisbon and all the red roofs I already wrote about. In the distance you can see the golden date bridge and the cristo redentor replica and on the right side there would be the atlantic ocean if we could see that far.


So for the last time we watched the sunset and then, like everyday so far, we went to the river to finish off our vacation with a nice vinho de porto.