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

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.


Continue reading about our trip to Portugal and Spain.


Read more Hiking and Exploration posts HERE


Read more Hiking and Exploration posts HERE


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Jeff’s Cup of Joe – The Pour Over Method for Coffee

Anyone who knows me is aware of the fact that I like my morning coffee. Let’s make that “love my morning coffee!” And if the truth be told, I have a lot of it. I don’t want to tell you how much, but trust me on this one; it’s a lot!

Picture Courtesy of a screen shot from Starbucks video below.

Anyway, my favorite brew is 100% Colombian coffee. Unfortunately when I am away from home, this commodity is hard to find so I then make sure to bring my Starbucks Via packets of the Colombian and lately I have been able to purchase it in larger quantities at COSTCO with a related savings.

In the morning, I must confess, I use an automatic drip coffee machine (don’t stop reading yet) and over the years I have learned how to tweak it so I get a very good cup of coffee. It isn’t a great cup, but a very good cup. When I only want a single, somewhat smaller cup, I do use the pour over method similar to the one described in the videos below.

A concept that may not be familiar to a number of people who like coffee, but have not read much about the brewing process is the bloom. In the video below, Sky Mountain Coffee explains this important aspect of the brewing process and what it can teach us. Thank you Sky Mountain Coffee!

In the next video, Starbucks presents what they consider the best way to brew a single cup of excellent coffee using the pour over method which I use for a one cupper!

Here are the key points from the Starbucks video:

  • Pre-wet the filter to get things warm and remove some of the paper taste!
  • Get Rid of the water used in the “wetting step” mentioned above.
  • Put the coffee in the filter; cone grind similar in texture to granulated sugar.
  • Recommended amount of coffee – 2 Tablespoons for every six ounces of water.
  • Water should be hot, but not quite boiling.
  • Pour a little water into the grounds and let it “bloom.”

From my experience (your mileage may vary):

  • I find it helpful to pre-heat the cup so that it is warm, not hot, and it does not cool the coffee as it is poured. You can do this by pouring some hot water in the cup and letting it stand a minute or so.
  • Prior to the pour over, I let the water rest for twenty seconds or so after it has come to a good boil. I don’t want to scald the grounds.
  • After letting the coffee bloom, I do not pour all of the water into the filter at once. Instead, I do the brewing using several pours so that the grounds have a chance to be thoroughly mixed by the water being poured.
  • I pour the water in a slow concentric circle starting at the outside of the filter working my way to the middle. I believe this equalizes the exposure of the grounds to the water and thus extracts maximum flavor.

I hope this helps you enjoy your morning Joe!