Portugal – Lisbon

A week ago, I sadly said goodbye to the Bhadare family for now. Saying goodbye to Dalip in university was bad enough, round two wasn’t much better. I’m so fortunate that they welcomed me in for the 3 weeks I spent in the UK, I became comfortable with the British lifestyle pretty quickly. Anyways, they were kind enough to drive me to the airport last Saturday where I took off for Lisbon, Portugal, where I was reunited with my dad and sister for a week!

This was the first and probably last hotel stay in the trip. The lobby had a piano that looked like the batmobile, so I managed to play piano in Portugal!

Canadian music reached me again quickly, as the hotel really liked playing k.d. lang in the lobby.

Now, Lisbon is a city that was built on 7 hills. (There are a surprising number of cities built on 7 hills.) Seeing a level road in Lisbon was like seeing the sun in Manchester, it just doesn’t happen. 

It makes for a nice view as you contemplate the burning in your legs and feet. 

The roundabouts all seem to have pillars and statues. Maybe Kemptville should invest in some pillars.

On the first day we walked 21km, since we wanted to see Belém Tower across the city. Despite the distance, there was always something to see.

We ended up walking along the waterfront to the tower, which is built slightly off shore and was meant as a welcome into Lisbon. 

Nearby were parks and fountains leading to the Jerónimos Monastery.

The entrance was beautiful, but one lady was determined that she should be right in the middle of everyone’s picture and thought sitting directly in the middle of the stairs was the best way to accomplish it. 

The inside had some impressive pillars, with no perches for tourists to obstruct the picture. 

The Portuguese are famous for the discoveries and advancements they made through their navy. Portuguese is an official language in countries as diverse as Brazil, Cabo Verde, and East Timor. One of the most famous explorers in their history was Vasco da Gama, who opened up the sea route to India. The largest city today in the Indian state of Goa is actually Vasco da Gama. The monastery had his tomb.

In order to properly experience Portuguese culture, we dutifully embraced the local specialty known as Pastel de Nata.

Excellent, and available everywhere!

On the next day we visited the Moorish Castle in Lisbon.

We spent the afternoon drinking port in the courtyard of the castle overlooking the city.

Lisbon really helped me remember how good port is. It pairs excellently with this view.

To the left of the bridge is a giant statue similar to Cristo Redentor in Brazil, called Cristo Rei. We made it up there another day and got the reverse view of Lisbon.

The castle itself was beautiful.

Always with a good view.

In a different courtyard of the castle was a cafe with some unusual inhabitants.

So we had coffee in a castle with some peacocks.

She’s happy because there’s ice cream in her coffee.

After the castle we stopped at a restaurant on the way down to the main plaza for tapas and sangria.

Luckily the walk after lunch was downhill, ending in the Praça do Comércio.

The centre of the plaza features a statue of King Joseph I of Portugal.

We visited an art museum and were lucky enough to see an original Andy Warhol portrait of Judy Garland.

As requested by friends who love desserts, I have a picture of our visit to a pastry shop called L’eclair.

We finished our visit in Lisbon with a trip to the Naval Museum and finally figured out the significance of a symbol we had seen everywhere in Portugal. 

The armillary sphere, also featured on the Portuguese flag, is a symbol that represents how Portugal is one of the greatest seafaring nations the world has ever seen.

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