Lisbon, Portugal – Walking the Avenue to the Rossio District

Near the end of our stay in Lisbon, we learned that the Four Seasons Hotel Ritz situated on top of a hill overlooking the King Edward Park and the Marques de Pombal square, had a rooftop viewing area. We had to walk through the gym/spa to get there, but were graciously welcomed to take our time to look around the observation deck. Our eyes were quickly drawn to a colorful Mariner’s Compass which seemed to house a mechanical device. In a communication from the hotel’s Concierge Office, this is their explanation:

The piece pictured is the Rosa dos Ventos – A wind rose. It indicates “the North” The design is decorative over what was initially the Hotel’s access to the shopping galleries below.


Rosa dos Ventos – A wind rose

As a way to orient viewers, this is a view of the statue of the Marques de Pombal mentioned in several prior posts. To the right is the Avenida da Liberdade where we would soon be heading. There are a number of banks in this area with popular ATMs. The centrally located buildings and popularity of the streets convinced us to use the Santander Bank ATM. There is always a need for caution when using these conveniences wherever they are located. We experienced no problems during our entire trip.


Marques de Pombal statue

Below is an “aerial view” of Alfama, the hilly area, which is the oldest district in Lisbon. It is well-juxtaposed against the modern buildings in the foreground giving readers an idea of how the old mixes with the contemporary side of Lisbon.


Alfama from the air

After several photographs and ample admiration of the wonderful rooftop views, we exited the hotel and headed toward Avenida da Liberdade boulevard. The 90-meter wide boulevard has parklike walkways bordered on one side by automobile traffic and contemporary luxury stores such as Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Gucci, etc. on the opposing side. The sidewalks themselves host the familiar decorative cobblestone patterns.


cobblestone decorative pattern

A meandering garden and canal adds a point of interest to those who stroll along. Nearby benches were occupied by those who wanted to relax, take time for a snack or perhaps foster more romantic intentions.


garden and canal along the Avenue

The “avenue” brings tourists to the Rossio Square area sometimes referred to as Pedro IV Square. This square has been a historical meeting place for citizens of Lisbon during political or cultural events. Now tourists mix with the residents to take advantage of the nearby popular attractions, stores and festive atmosphere.


Rossio Square

One of the more curious attractions was the The Elevador de Santa Justa originally designed to help residents make a connection from the lower streets with the elevated Carmo Square. This was one method used in several different areas of Lisbon to deal with the hilly terrain. The Elevador has also become a popular tourist attraction. Interestingly enough, it can accommodate twenty people as it ascends, but only fifteen on the return trip. This device has an intersting history. You can read more about it at the link below.

Elevador de Santa Justa


Elevador de Santa Justa

Starbucks Coffee has become a nearly universal sight wherever one travels and this particular Starbucks stands apart from most because of its beautiful location in the historic Rossio Train Station which connects the capital city to Sintra; less than an hour away. The architecture was impressive and provided quite a contrast to the green and white signs. Note the ornate word “Central” above the arch in the foreground. This was originally named “The Central Station.”

Learn more about the Rossio Train Station


Rossio Train Station


Map of our Walk

Map courtesy of Google Maps; numbers added by JBRish.com

To review our walk, I have placed markers on the map above:

      1 – The King Edward VII Park. The Four Seasons Hotel Ritz was just northwest of the park.
      2 – The Marques de Pombal square
      3 – The Avenida da Liberdade sometimes just called Avenida (the Avenue)
      4 – Approximate location of Rossio Square
      5 – The Elevador de Santa Justa

NOTE – The water on the southern part of the map is the Tejo river which has many interesting places to explore. There was a music festival near the Praca do Comercio and it was blocked off at the time of our walk.

This was our last day in Lisbon and while we did not get to see everything on our list, we certainly gained an appreciation for the city and what it has to offer both residents and visitors.


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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

Portugal – Lisbon’s Edward VII Park

 

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



Photography: My Shot — Aged Doorway – Sintra, Portugal


An Old Historic Doorway in Sintra, Portugal

If you have done much traveling of any kind, you might have seen posters, T-shirts or other artwork that depicts interesting doorways of a particular city. Perhaps they were doorways of Boston, doorways of Georgetown or doorways of San Francisco, etc.

I am a sucker for old or unique doorways. The picture above is of a doorway we came across in Sintra, Portugal in the vicinity of the National Palace of Sintra. This doorway is reminiscent of a bygone ancient era. The wood is old, cracked, discolored and partially rotted. The metalwork is well-used and rusted, but still attractive in design. The doorway exudes character!

The craftsmanship is enhanced by the cementwork frame and the ornamental details increase the beauty of the entranceway. Onlookers quickly come to understand that this building has been an eyewitness to history.

 

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Metadata

File Name: DSC_2646.NEF
Capture time: 11:18 AM
Capture date: May 10, 2018
Exposure: 1/60 sec @ f/9
Focal Length: 18mm
ISO: 180
Camera: Nikon D3300
Lens: 18.0 – 55.02mm f/3.5-5.6
Edited in Lightroom & Photoshop

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See more photography posts HERE and visit Jeff’s Instagram site 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