Lisbon summer holiday – a photo essay

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The Castelo, the Marinha and the earthquake

The last week in June, Mrs SC and I visited Lisbon – my first visit, her second. In my two most recent blog entries here I focused on a couple of of Lisbon’s “sights” and their history. First off was the Alfama, the oldest part of the city dominated by the Castelo de Sao Jorge. That article retold the story of the 1147 Siege of Lisbon.

Baixa - Looking up to the Castelo

In my second article I wrote about our visit to the Museu de Marinha in Belém and how the museum presents the story of the Portuguese Age of Discovery… and what it leaves out. We didn’t spend the whole day in the Maritime Museum, though, and here’s a picture of an ancient fig tree in the Jardim Botânico Tropical, which turned out to be another good place to rest in the shade.

Tuesday - Belem - fig tree in the tropical botanical gardens

My final article was going to be about the great Lisbon earthquake of 1755, but I’ve had second thoughts. I love history, but I know I can run on a bit. The last couple of entries have been rather wordy, so today’s will be mostly photos. I’ll hold the earthquake over to a later date – or perhaps till after I revisit Lisbon, which I’m tempted to do. We did have a very good time.

“Discovered America”

But first, allow me just a little more history. I took the next photo on the morning of our first day. We were out scouting for breakfast, walking down the tree-shaded Avenida da Liberdade when I saw this. As you probably remember from school, Christopher Columbus “discovered America” in 1492.

Monday - The Discovery of America 1472 - Avenida da Liberdade, Lisbon


  • The aboriginal peoples of America actually discovered it tens of thousands of years earlier,
  • Leif Eriksson was the first certain European visitor and he was there around the year 1000,
  • Columbus probably went to his grave believing he’d actually found India,
  • The Waldseemüller map – the first to actually name the continent America – didn’t appear till 1507.

Still… 1472?

I really thought it was a mistake. The sort of thing that happens sometimes when street painters doze on the job and paint SLOM on a road where they ought to have painted SLOW. But, no. It seems there’s this theory in Portugal that a Portuguese explorer called João Vaz Corte-Real discovered the New Land of the Codfish (Terra Nova do Bacalhau) in 1472. So put that in your pipe and smoke it, you Spanish and American Columbus lovers!

Lisbon’s Bairro Alto

And while you’re doing that, enjoy these photos from a tram ride we took through Lisbon’s Bairro Alto district.

Wednesday - Tram 28 at Martin Montiz

Above is tram number 28 at the Martin Moniz stop.

Below is from the interior of a number 25 tram heading up to Bairro Alto.

Wednesday - inside tram 25

Wednesday - Bairro Alto, Lisbon - street scene - reading the news

Above: Two gentlemen in the shade by a news kiosk – taken from the tram window.

Below: On the phone with the washing – also taken from the tram window.

Wednesday - Bairro Alto, Lisbon - street scene - on the phone

Wednesday - Bairro Alto, Lisbon - trams 28 and 25 passing

Above: A number 25 and number 28 tram passing on a corner in Barrio Alto. In places the tram lines are so steep I wonder how the trams manage to climb and not slide back.

Below: A Lisbon street seen through a tram window.

Wednesday - Bairro Alto, Lisbon - Through the tram window 2

The Oceanário de Lisboa – Lisbon’s Aquarium

That was how we spent the morning of our final day in Lisbon. For a complete change, we took the metro to the ultra-modern district Parque das Nações and spent the afternoon at Lisbon’s Aquarium. The Oceanário de Lisboa is probably the most child-friendly place we visited on our trip. It was pretty entertaining for two older people without kids too. Here’s one of the sharks.

Wednesday - In the aquarium - shark 3

And here is a panorama of silhouettes transfixed by the main ocean tank.

Wednesday - In the aquarium - silhouettes 2

A final couple of pictures to round this off.

Monday - Fado performance

Above: The first evening we went to a Fado bar…

Below: …and I had a glass of sangria. Cheers!

Monday - John, sangria and Fado

So that was our visit to Lisbon. A very packed schedule, but we had a great time and certainly hope to return one of these days. On the way to the airport the taxi driver asked where we’d been and what we’d seen and then said: “Oh, but you haven’t see Sintra. Sintra is the best.” (It turned out Sintra was where he lived.) So we promised to put Sintra on our list for the next time.

This article was written for the #Blogg52 challenge.

I originally published this article on the separate Stops and Stories website. Transferred here with a little polishing for SEO and a new featured image 6 July 2017.

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5 thoughts on “Lisbon summer holiday – a photo essay”

  1. Cheers John! Just have to ask: how do you manage to take perfect photos from the tramwindow? My experience is that everything looks perfect when I take the picture but when I look at it later it is usually not the same at all.

    • Ha! Practice? Actually I never know till I see the pictures on the computer whether they are any good – and then I only share the photos that turn out well. (I take a lot of photos.)

  2. Tack för ännu ett fascinerande inlägg. Spännande med Lissabon. Min nästa bok utspelar sig där och handlar om jordbävningen 😀

    Jag lär mig mycket av dina inlägg, speciellt genom alla dina foton som tar mig med till platser jag kanske aldrig hade fått uppleva annars. Tack!

    Kram Kim 🙂

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