Portugal – Lisbon’s Edward VII Park

During our brief explorations in Lisbon, we stayed in the southern part of the city very near the Parque Eduardo VII (Edward VII Park). This is the largest park in the city and serves as a hub for many activities. It is well situated to the north of the Praca do Marques de Pombal (square) and the major Avenida da Liberdade with its inviting promenades. The park was named after King Edward VII of the United Kingdom to commemorate his 1902 visit to Portugal.

A large flag of Portugal flies proudly at the northern end of the park which is a very good place to start a walk.


large Portuguese flag

Here is a brief orientation via the photograph below… Just to the right of the flag (east) is a fountain. On either side of the large grassy area are walkways lined with trees. The large grey-roofed building on the left (west) contains three greenhouses which, unfortunately, were closed when we hiked through the park. The park was being readied for a large book fair.


aerial view of the King Edward VII Park

This is a closeup of the founatain which two dogs couldn’t resist as we watched them frolick in the cool waters.


Fountain at the north of the Edward VII park


dogs playing in the King Edward VII fountain

This is one of the tree-lined pedestrian boulevards that run north/south through the park. Like nearly every metropolitan park, there were groups of people enjoying the surroundings for a variety of activities. A number of people found the shaded benches a pleasnt place to read or visit with friends.


tree-lined, cobblestone walk of the Edward VII park

There were a couple of people who were tempted to take a nap on the grassy fields punctuated with maze-like manicured shrubs.


people napping along the grassy strip of the Edward VII park

The statue of the Marques de Pombal was clearly visible from the northern vantage points.


distant view of Alfama district and the Marques de Pombal statue from the Edward VII park

In the photograph below, the hilly area to the left is the Alfama district with the Tejo River in the background. The treed area south of the statue is the Avenida da Liberdade.


Closer southern view from the Edward VII park

The beautiful building below resembles a church, but is actually the Carlos Lopes Sports Pavilion located on the eastern boundary of the park nicely framed by the trees.


Carlos Lopes Sports Pavilion

As we left the park and headed farther south, I stopped to snap another photograph of the statue of the Marques de Pombal since other attempts were taken during less favorable conditions.


Marques de Pombal statue

We then began our stroll along the very cosmopolitan and attracitve Avenida da Liberdade


…To Be Continued.

 

Learn More:

Edward VII Park

Parque Eduardo VII

Marquis of Pombal Square


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Read previous posts about our adventures traveling in Portugal and Spain:

Portugal – Alfama District, Lisbon Part 1

Portugal – Alfama District, Lisbon Part 2

Portugal – Lisbon Streets & Garden

Lisbon Portugal – The Belem and Tejo River District

Sintra Portugal – National Palace and Quaint Streets

Portugal – Seaside Resort of Cascais

 

Read more Hiking and Exploration posts HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross 2014 – 2018 – JBRish.com



Sintra Portugal – National Palace and Quaint Streets

When traveling with a tour company, one thing to be expected is early morning departure times as a matter of the daily routine. The goal is to see as many sights as possible and when appropriate, leave time for independent exploration.

We were up early for breakfast and departure on May 10, 2018 when we left Lisbon, Portugal for Sintra. The morning was cloudy with scattered showers as the group disembarked the bus and walked to the center of town. The streets are very narrow and large vehicles cannot stay in the central area.


A gloomy morning in Sintra

A gloomy morning in Sintra


The main attraction for our group was the very well preserved National Palace of Sintra which dates back a thousand years or more. It is mentioned in many historical documents and fell under Portuguese rule in 1147 when the city was conquered by King Alfonso Henriques.

Like many of the old and ancient buildings in Portugal and Spain, there have been alterations and changes throughout its history as new residents took occupancy much like contemporary renovations for those who purchase a legacy house. After all, doesn’t everyone want the latest and greatest?


The National Palace in Sintra

The National Palace in Sintra


The Sala dos Cisnes (Swan Room) generally used for grand receptions, banquets, etc. is one of the largest rooms in the palace. Of special interest is the painted ceiling which is composed of 27 octagonal sections each containing a white swan and from which the moniker of the room is derived. Looking closely at the paintings, tourists will note that each of the birds is different than the others and wears a gilded collar perhaps indicating the privilege of wealth.


Sala dos Cisnes - Swan Room

While walking through the rooms at the National Palace, we also noted the nearby beautiful and colorful mountainside …


beautiful and colorful mountainside


beautiful and colorful mountainside

and exterior views.


exterior views

Portugal has been known for its Hispanic-Moorish tile work and there were abundant displays of this tile artistry throughout the building. Some depicted courtly events and hunting scenes.


tile work

Here is a closeup of one panel.


tile panel closeup

We cannot judge this art form by standards we have today because technologies and techniques are much different. The difficulty of working with tiles to create a scene is that the tiles don’t always meet in the most appropriate and best-fitting manner. The tour guide pointed out how the seam-lines in the section below somewhat mar the face of the woman in the panel.


example of a misaligned tile picture

There were many kinds of beauty to be viewed in the National Palace. Some of them were more subtle while others were quite opulent. The Coats of Arms Room (Sala dos Brasões) is said to be located at the highest point in the palace. The center section of the ceiling pictured below shows eight panels each of which contains one of eight coats of arms of Portuguese royalty. The gilded artwork was quite impressive


gilded ceiling in the Coats of Arms Room - Sala dos Brasões

The Palatine Chapel (below) captures visitors eyes immediately upon entrance as the offset square fresco pattern of white doves with olive branches resting on a light, reddish-brown background draw the eyes to the chapel’s altar.


Palatine Chapel with doves

The architectural artwork in the palace had numerous unique elements. Manueline Hall was obviously a very formal room with a sizable chandelier. Archived pictures show that a large table is often placed in the middle of the carpeted floor area although absent during our visit. What impressed me almost as much was the amazing stonework rope design around the entranceway.


stonework arch of the Manueline Hall

Another example of the tile work in the palace is shown below. The corn (on top) is used to symblolize success and prosperity. It may be hard to visualize, but sections of the tiles are created in relief, i.e. three-dimensional.


three dimensional corn tile work

Seeing the various rooms and learning about their history was interesting, but I was also drawn to look out a number of windows to view the colorful and aged courtyards with their planters, staircases and interesting designs.


outside courtyard with planters

One of the last areas visited in the Palace was the large kitchen which was restored in 2016.


the Palace kitchen

You may have noticed the huge coat of arms above the main archway leading into the kitchen.


Kitchen Coat of Arms

The kitchen was tiled in a manner that might be considered more traditional according to today’s standards and was the main focus of the 2016 renovation as the older tiles were not adhering well to the underlying masonry. Everything was large in scale. Notice the size of the pots.


kitchen tiles and large pots

When cooking large amounts of food to serve hundreds of guests with the tools available at the time, there must have been a tremendous amount of heat in the kitchen and thus there are two massive chimneys 33 metres in height. The photograph below was taken looking upward through one of them.


large chimneys in the kitchen

By the time the tour of the National Palace ended, the weather had changed for the better as indicated in the picture of one of the kitchen chimneys from across the street.


large kitchen chimney from across the street

The National Palace was not the only point of interest in Sintra. The town itself beckons tourists to explore. Even the doorways exude an aura of Portuguese history.


old, rugged doorway

The beautiful plantings outside and colorful displays in windows of the shops were very inviting. The streets were paved with traditional cobblestones similar to those used in Lisbon proper.


narrow street in Sintra


colorful merchant display

Here is a typical stairway in the central district of Sintra.


streetside stairway

Along the side were large planters with specimen plants.


specimen planters along the stairway

Geraniums were a favorite and festooned a number of walls along the pedestrian byways.


geraniums on the wall

Wherever one travels in the world, there are street vendors and performers. This gentleman had a cart and as I watched him unload, it became apparent that he had a conquistador-type costume with him.


Don Quixote street performer

He began to apply a dark brown skin tone and adorn the accoutrements of a Don Quixote outfit perhaps with the idea that tourists would stop by to take pictures with him and pay a fee for the privilege. Unfortunately, we were called to leave before the transformation was complete.


Don Quixote street performer


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Read previous posts about our adventures traveling in Portugal and Spain:

Portugal – Alfama District, Lisbon Part 1

Portugal – Alfama District, Lisbon Part 2

Portugal – Lisbon Streets & Garden

Lisbon Portugal – The Belem and Tejo River District

 

Read more Hiking and Exploration posts HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross 2014 – 2018 – JBRish.com



Lisbon Portugal – The Belem and Tejo River District


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It was time for us to join the tour company for further exploration of Lisbon and the sites near the Tagus River (Rio Tejo). Our fist stop was the Coaches Museum. This was quite a unique collection of a variety of coaches used for historical events in Europe.

Not part of the actual collection, but quite interesting was the huge elevator which was able to accommodate dozens of people at a time. Here is our very knowledgeable guide, Paula, commenting on the unusual shape and size of the elevator.


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The coach pictured below was fairly typical of the items on display. Notice the photographs projected on the walls. There was as much information as one could want about the various coaches and their history. Some of the more modern vehicles had videos to show them in use. In addition to being modes of transportation, these carriages were distinctive works of art.

An exhibition note found online about the coach below describes it as follows:

Car Infantas

Car of the apparatus used by Infantas (children) D. Maria Francisca (later D. Maria I), D. Maria Ana, D. Maria Francisca Doroteia and D. Maria Francisca Benedita, daughters of King D. José I.


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Read more about the coaches Museum HERE (click the EXPLORE button to see additional coaches and their history – some descriptions are in Portuguese)

A short ride by bus took us to the Monastery of St Jerome, one of the major attractions and UNESCO World Heritage site located in the Belem district (west Lisbon).

Mosteiro dos Jerónimos was built along the Tagus River and completed around 1600. King Manuel I decided to build a monastery in honor of the Virgin Mary and as gratitude for one of its premiere explorer’s, (Vasco de Gama), successful expedition to India. Precious commodities from Africa, Asia and South American expeditions plus spice trade taxes mainly subsidized the monastery’s construction.
via The World Is A Book

Vasco da Gama and his crew reportedly slept at the Monastery prior to leaving for their voyage to India.

The south portal (pictured below with the statue of Our Lady of Bethlehem) is perhaps one of the most stunning features of the monastery. It was designed by Spanish Architect João de Castilho (also known as Juan de Castillo). There is an abundance of sculptured filigree, statues of saints, noted historical figures and fine details. It is hard to believe that this is not the main door, however this is where visitors were entering the building on the day we visited.


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The details on the outside of the building were not the only impressive architectural element of the monastery. The vaulted ceilings of the attached Church of Santa Maria de Belem were massive, interwoven stone and masonry webs. It is an amazing and impressive structure bringing to mind descriptions from Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth.


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There is ample artwork to impress visitors as well. The alcoves were covered with paintings, statues and icons along with gold and silver ornamentation.


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This old, blemished wall looked its age and was a good foil for the stained glass window of the Virgin Mary.


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Perhaps the most famous Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama, is entombed in the Monastery of St. Jerome.


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This is a very popular site and there are often long lines so travelers should plan accordingly.


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Not far from the Monastery is the Tejo or Tagus River. There are a number of sites to be seen along this waterway. The Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge spans the Tagus River. Visitors may notice the similarity in constuction to San Francico’s Golden Gate Bridge

In the Alameda district across from Lisbon is another impressive attraction, the Cristo Rei Statue which is reminiscent of Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro. Those so inclined can walk across the bridge or take public transportation to within walking distance of the statue.


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Along the waterfront is the Monument to the Discoveries (Padrão dos Descobrimentos) which pays homage to the brave Portuguese explorers and navigators who risked their lives to find new lands and resources. There is a park-like area with the stylized pavements and decorative inlays.


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People can mount the monument to get a closer look at the artwork, nearby boats and the waterway.


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The main statue pays tribute to Prince Henry the Navigator who played a major role in the Portuguese Age of Discovery. Other statues call forth images of Vasco da Gama and Magellan among others.


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Read previous posts about our adventures traveling in Portugal and Spain:

Portugal – Alfama District, Lisbon Part 1

Portugal – Alfama District, Lisbon Part 2

Portugal – Lisbon Streets & Garden

 

Read more Hiking and Exploration posts HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018 – JBRish.com



Portugal – Lisbon Streets & Garden

Traveling in a foreign country is definitely peculiar because we generally find ourselves out of our comfort zone. If there is a language difference and a number of significant cultural differences, this can be even more pronounced. After a single day in Portugal however, we felt more or less at ease.

One of the first things we do when we arrive at our hotel in a foreign area, is to secure a business card with the name and address of the establishment. If we then get lost, we are only a taxi ride away and we can just show the card to the cab driver. We took two cabs during our stay in Lisbon and both experiences were positive. Interestingly, as we learned, the customary tip for taxi drivers in Portugal is to round up to the next highest Euro. At the time we visited, the Euro was about $1.21 USD (+/-) which means the largest tip would be $1.21. Of course, tourists can tip more if they like.

Lisbon is a hilly city. It is known as the City of Seven Hills so be prepared to walk uphill sooner or later or to hail a taxi.



As you can see the street above was a bit steep as we headed toward the Jardim Botânico da Universidade de Lisboa (The University of Lisbon Botanical Garden).

We walk and then we walk some more when we visit new countries or regions. We love to walk around town and get a good sense of the city or area we are visiting. Like most major cities, there were McDonald’s restaurants in Lisbon. As you will note in the center of the shot below, the golden arches are rather muted. No large red background here. We stepped inside to note the differences between American McDonald’s and those in Portugal and while we did not purchase anything, it was interesting to note that they served coffee in ceramic coffee cups for patrons who had their coffee in the restaurant.



Again we were walking downhill which we know from our hiking will be an uphill on the return trip.

We have visited many gardens in our travels and I have to comment that this particular garden is not what I would call a display garden. It appeared to be more of a research garden. There were few dramatic landscape areas and only a scattering of flowers at the time we visited. We were a bit disappointed, but found some sections of interest. The tree below had an amazing display of air roots.



The garden had resident cats probably serving as mousers. This tabby on the roof was spotted in several areas and had a friend or sibling that was remarkably similar.



On the walk back to our hotel, we encountered this happy drainpipe festooned with a floral array. I had to return the smile as I took the picture.



Pictured below is another interesting trash/recycle bin we encountered.



Street vendors made a variety of commodities available especially huge strawberries and the fruit dealers seemed to be popular with the commuters.



The main thoroughfare in Lisbon is the Avenida da Liberdade (Liberty Avenue). It is a very wide street with pedestrian walkways separating the lanes of traffic. The walkways are paved with an intricate design that we were led to believe were copyrighted and used just for the city of Lisbon. There were special work crews adept in repairing the swaths of walkways and maintaining the integrity of the artwork.

These pieces of intricate artwork were created with the use of limestones referred to as calçada Portuguesa (Portuguese pavement). The cobblestones are made into small squares and placed to create a design in black and white. Care should be taken when it is raining as these tend to be a bit slick when wet.

The “Avenue” is a great place to walk and window shop. There are also nice areas with water features, plants and restful benches. It is worthy of a stroll if you have time.



Our home base in Lisbon was near the Marquis de Pombal neighborhood which seemed to be a more or less central location relative to areas we were interested in investigating. It was a nice, but long-ish walk to Rossio Square, the Tejo River and shopping areas.

A Statue of Marquis De Pombal, the Portuguese Prime Minister from 1750 to 1777, is one of the highlights in this area of the city.



As you can see, the statue is in the middle of a large rotary which can be very busy at times, but there were plenty of traffic lights and ample opportunities to cross the roadways.

Here is a more picturesque shot of the statue. This is a popular stop for tourist buses because of its central location and proximity to the Edward VII Park (more about the park in a following post).




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Read previous posts about our adventures traveling in Portugal and Spain:

Portugal – Alfama District, Lisbon Part 1

Portugal – Alfama District, Lisbon Part 2

 

Read more Hiking and Exploration posts HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018 – JBRish.com



Portugal – Alfama District, Lisbon Part 1

Breaking away from our routine of traveling to national parks in the United States, we decided to journey overseas with a noted tour company to see a part of the world in which we have been interested for a long time. So off it was to Portugal and Spain.


Map of Portugal with Lisbon noted

Map Via

We arrived in Lisbon relatively early in the day. After we checked in at our hotel, we were anxious to get out and about to visit some of the sights we researched. High on the list was the Alfama district in Lisbon.

One of Alfama’s distinctions is that it is the oldest neighborhood in Lisbon. It is located along the Tejo river and is very picturesque. The concierge at the hotel explained that we needed to take a taxi to the tram stop and then take the number 28 to Alfama.


Tram #28 headed to Alfama

The #28 tram’s route traverses the city’s center thus making it a very busy mode of transportation as tourists use this to arrive at many of Lisbon’s popular attractions. It is less expensive than a tour bus, but there is no guide to point out the sights. We had to be careful as there were two different #28 trams. We determined we needed the one with the destination noted as Prazeres.

You can read more about it HERE

This popular tram usually operates from 7AM until 11PM daily. Check out the current schedules to be sure.

NOTE – Pickpockets often frequent this tram so be careful and keep your valuables close. We had no problems at all (besides the usual language barrier).

Little did we understand that the tram was going to drop us off quite a distance from the main section of Alfama and that we also needed to board a small van to take us to Alfama’s central location; no extra charge. Streets are so narrow in places that cars cannot navigate them. Bicycles and smaller motorized transports are plentiful on these narrow side streets.

As we were walking to board the jitney, we passed a trash can that was quite unique. We didn’t realize that this was customary in Portugal and Spain. Trash/recycle receptacles are sometimes painted and serve as a work of contemporary art. The city sponsors some to the container art. Apparently a number of other European cities have adopted this colorful method of camouflaging these streetside bins.


Art covered trash=recycle bins

We managed to find our way to the small van and disembarked near the Miradouro das Portas do Sol (Viewpoint of the Doors of the Sun) which is a large terraced area with an elevated point of view looking over Alfama. The first thing visitors are going to notice is the famous red roofs. This is Alfama’s trademark!


Landmark red roofs of Alfama seen from Miradouro das Portas do Sol

In the picture above, the river is barely visible, but some of the prominent buildings can be clearly seen. The large building in the upper left (with the two towers) is the Church or Monastery of São Vicente de Fora which Wikipedia translates as “Monastery of St. Vincent .” Just off to the the right of the Monastery is the dome of the National Pantheon.

Saint Vincent is Lisbon’s patron saint and a statue to honor him stands as a sentinel at the Portas del Sol close to where most visitors will arrive at one point or another during their explorations. There are several vendors and street merchants at this location trying to capitalize on the crowds that often gather in this area.


Statue of Lisbon's patron saint, Saint Vincent

Here is another photograph of Alfama taken from the Miradouro de Santa Luzia which is another great viewing area. The Tejo river is located along the horizon. More central with a single tower visible is the iglesia de Santo Estevao (Church of St. Stephen).


Another view of the port of Alfama seen from Miradouro de Santa Luzia

As we began to make our way through the old streets of Alfama on the way to the Thieve’s Market, we passed by ancient structures. Here is a crossover near the Campo de Santa Clara (market square).


crossover near the Campo de Santa Clara (market square)

The Thieves Market is similar to flea markets around the world. It is only open on Tuesday and Saturdays in the square near the Panteão Nacional and São Vicente de Fora dating back to the late 1880’s.


Vendors at the Thieves Market in Alfama

There was a large variety of goods for sale including books, crafts and other typical flea market wares.


Wheelbarrow with dishes for sale

Read more about our Alfama excursions HERE!

 

Read more Hiking and Exploration posts HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018 – JBRish.com