Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sunday, October 26, 2014 – Pre-Cruise – Lisbon, Portugal – Sunny – 77F

The weather continues to be fabulous in Lisbon…

20141026_contrails galore (Small)

(The lines in the sky are airplane contrails – planes taking off from Lisbon airport all seem to take the same route and the contrails persist due to the calm air)

Daylight Savings Time Ends – Clocks move back

We must still be jet lagged because, once again, we got up at around 9:30 AM – we are sleeping away some of our time in Lisbon.

The breakfast was essentially the same – still good with plenty of options.  My main staple is turning out to be corn flakes but I do check out the other items, as well.  Still experimenting with the coffee.

Expedia sent me a customer survey about my experience at the hotel – I like the universal rating system.  No need for explanation or any numbering system.

20141026_easy rating system (Small)

We have a grand plan today – we are going to take public transportation of the Praca do Commercio


This square sits on the Rio Tejo (Tagus River) and is the focal point of the Lisbon Downtown Area.  We have maps and bus directions so we are all set as we head out.  Our bus stop is only a couple of blocks away and Bus 760 will take us the Praca.  We are told that the busses do not run as frequently on the weekend but that’s OK since we have all day to get there and check out the downtown area (some of the literature I read about Lisbon was to avoid being in the downtown area after dark).  We were also told by the hotel desk that if we wanted to walk to the Praca, it will take us at least 45 minutes. 

Finding the bus stop was easy but after a few minutes and no bus, we weren’t sure about the buses on a weekend. 

We decided to walk to the Praca.  We once walked over two hours to grab a hamburger in Rome so this was nothing.  Besides, it looked like the walk there would be downhill so it would be a piece of cake.  And the sites were always better viewed while walking (much harder through the windows of a bus).  The 3.60 Euros we would save might translate into an ice cream cone later.

We started our journey on Rue Gomez Freire and followed that street until it turned into something else (the streets in Lisbon morph frequently so we used the Castelo de San Jorge which sits high atop a hill as a landmark).  Our first stop was a park with a playground and ponds – Campo Martires de Patria (“Field of the Martyrs of the Homeland”).  This park had chickens running free as well as the ugliest ducks I have ever seen (I thought they were turkeys).

  20141026_ Campo Mártires da Pátria and ducks (Small) 20141026_ Campo Mártires da Pátria (Small)

Campo Martires de Patria

Just beyond the park and in front of the Faculty of Medicinal Sciences (New University of Lisbon) there was a square containing a statue of Jose Tomas de Sousa Martins.  De Sousa Martins was a late 19th Century physician who treated the poor for tuberculosis.  His cures were deemed “miraculous” by many and a cult developed around him.  It is thought that he was poisoned by a rival physician jealous of his notoriety.  Today, the base of the statue is surrounded by hundreds of marble plaques thanking him for these miracle cures.

20141026_ Statue of José Tomás de Sousa Martins (Small)

20141026_ José Tomás de Sousa Martins 1 (Small)

20141026_marble plaques of cured (Small)

Statue of Jose Tomas de Sousa Martins and Plaques

The next site we encountered was the Parco Martim Moniz – a large green space with vendors (selling everything including chunks from a whole pig).  Today, the fountains were turned off but the park was still teeming with people.  The Castelo can be seen on the distant hill from the park.

20141026_parco moniz-1 (Small)

Parco Martim Moniz

Martim  Moniz, a 12th century knight was a key figure in the Reconquista (against the Moors).  He was killed when he threw himself at the doors of the San Jorge castle as they were being closed.  The invading forces could then enter the castle.  That gate is now called Porta de Martim Moniz. 

There is an interesting art installation (looks like a serpent) worth capturing.

   20141026_Parco Moniz dragon (Small)

Ellen and the Dragon 

The next large square on our route was the Praca da Figueira

20141026_ Praca da Figueira (Small)

In the center of the square is an equestrian statue of Dom Joao I (King John I).

20141026_Dom Joao 1 Praca da Figueira (Small)

Dom Joao I of Portugal

As we made our way down the Rua do Ouro (and its shops) we arrived at our next stop and our planned destination, the Praca do Comercio.  This large square, which sits next to the Rio Tejo, is notable for its equestrian statue of King Jose I.  Across the square sits the massive Arco da Rua Augusta.  This monument was built to commemorate the rebuilding of Lisbon following the devastating earthquake of 1755. 

That’s me and a persistent random person in front of the Praca.

20141026_Praca do Comercio (Small) 

The Arch reaches a height of approximately 100 feet. There are three huge statues at the top of the arch – the large one standing is Glory flanked on the left by Valor (in the form of an Amazon) and on the right by Genius

 20141026_ Arco da Rua Augusta (Small)

Arco da Rua Augusta

20141026_King Jose 1 Praca do Comercio (Small)

King Jose I of Portugal

From the Praca do Comercio, you can get a nice view of the Castelo de San Jorge

20141026_Castelo de San Jorge on hill-1 (Small)

We walked down to the river bank – there is a very small beach there – so we could get a look at the Ponte de 25 Abril (the last time we were here the guide told us that this bridge was built by the same company that did the Bay Bridge in San Francisco – even though this bridge is more of a clone of the Golden Gate Bridge).

20141026_Rio Tejo and Ponte 25 de Abril (Small) 

Rio Tejo and Ponte de 25 Abril

It was getting near or past lunch time so we (against our general travel eating guidelines) bought a vegetarian (mozzarella cheese, tomato, and pesto) Focaccio from a street vendor.  We split it (it was OK and we did notice that gloves were used) as we were still on the lookout for a nice lunch in Lisbon.

20141026_quick snack (Small)

Snacking on a street vendor Focaccio

We walked through some of the shopping areas near the Praca and then headed toward the Biaxa Chiado area, the central part of Lisbon.  We were looking for “The Lift” (Elevador St. Justa), where, according to the desk clerk at our hotel, the best pizza can be found.  We did see the lift but kept going toward our hotel with the idea that we would stop at a nice restaurant for lunch.  We did spot some nice examples of Lisbon architecture along the way.

20141026_lisbon theater (Small)

20141026_downtown lisbon (Small)

We noticed a restaurant called “Quinoa”, which claimed to be a veggie place and checked out their Sunday Brunch – there were a lot of veggie items but they were essentially what our buffet back at the hotel offered.  Besides, the buffet was 16 Euros per person.  Not going to happen.

20141026_Quinoa veggie restaurant (Small)

Pricey Quinoa Restaurant

A block or two from there (and I should mention that this was all uphill from the Praca), we came across “nood” an “Asian Fusion Restaurant”The place looked bright and clean and had some veggie options so we decided to have lunch.  We sat at some couches, which were comfortable but hard to eat at.  We managed and I did not deposit my lunch on my shirt.

We ordered some Vegetarian Soba Noodles, Teriyaki Salmon, and a side salad with ginger dressing.

20141026_Nood Largo Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro (Small)    20141026_veggie soba teriyaki salmon ginger salad (Small)

Lunch at “nood”

The portions were generous and the food was delicious.  In fact, we took half of it home for dinner (BTW, they charged us 50 Eurocents for the take away box). 

Since the map was confusing, I used my phone’s GPS to guide us to the main street for our walk to the hotel.  The route took us past a nice square I couldn’t identify (below).

20141026_square near nood (Small)

and past a store with a “Superman S” in the window – I couldn’t resist that photo op.

 20141026_Superman in Lisbon (Small)

The Man of Steel in Lisbon

Our next destination was Praca de Dom Pedro IV or Rossio Square, a spot popular with both locals and tourists.  The Square was down several flights of stairs so I thought I would get a nice shot (not knowing that I was being shot shooting).  The shot was taken from what I though was a train station.

20141026_Shooting the photographet (Small)

20141026_ Praça de D. Pedro IV Rossio Square (Small)

Praca de Dom Pedro IV - Rossio Square

20141026_ Statue de D. Pedro IV (Small)

Statue of Dom Pedro IV

20141026_ Rossio Square, Teatro de Dona Maria II (Small)

Teatro de Dona Maria II

 20141026_Rossio Square (Small)

Rossio Square Fountain

The Starbucks below is located on the Ground Floor of the Rossio Train Station overlooking Praca dos Restauradores

20141026_Starbucks (Small)

Praca dos Restauradores located on Avenida da Liberdade commemorates the restoration of Portuguese independence from the Spanish in 1640.  The obelisk below (1886) depicts the battles fought in gaining independence.

20141026_Praca dos Restauradores (Small)

We continued our uphill trek and spotted an unusual fountain – the statue had been overgrown with plants giving it a unique look.

 20141026_Fountain Avenida de Liberdade (Small) 

Fountain covered with plants

We finally reached our destination, the Praca Marques de Pombal.  This Praca is home to a huge roundabout.  This roundabout shoots out to important avenues including Liberdade, and Duque de Louie (the road that will take us back to the hotel). 

The Praca is named for Sebastiao Jose de Carvalho e Melo, 1st Marques of Pombal.  He was Prime Minister of Portugal from 1750 to 1777.  The statue of the Marques was built between 1917 and 1937 and faces the downtown area of Baixa Pombalina, that was rebuilt under his guidance following the big earthquake of 1755.

20141026_Praca Marques de Pombal (Small)

Praco do Marques de Pombal

Behind the statue is the Parque Edwardo VII – the King of England who visited Portugal in the early 20th Century to forge an alliance between the two countries.

From the Praca, we walked uphill several more blocks until we reached the familiar purple sign for the Neya Lisboa Hotel.  We walked along the Police and Judiciary Building, turned left at our street and there was our hotel.

Our walking for the day was over.

We had our “nood” leftovers for dinner (still good) and read in our room for the remainder of the evening.

Quite a day…check out the pedometer statistics.  Even with a correction of 1.4 high, that’s a lot of steps.


Pedometer: 15450 steps; 6.72 miles; 784 calories

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