Lisbon, or Lisboa, was my last stop on this leg of my RTW trip. I realize, even though I haven’t traveled outside of the U.S. for a few months, I still can’t say that my RTW trip has stopped. It’s just paused.
So why Lisbon? I guess it’s one of those things…. while you are long haul traveling. I kept hearing people all over the world gushing about how amazing Portugal is. About how beautiful Portugal is, how mild and sunny Portugal’s climate is, and how great Portugal’s wine and port is. And the food, the fresh seafood and grilled meats. And the rugged cliffs by the ocean. And the cobblestone streets. And the architecture.
The toughest challenge I faced was deciding between Lisbon and Porto. Porto is a smaller town, and it’s supposedly equally beautiful, if not a bit more charming, because it’s still not a high traffic tourist destination. Porto is still a bit undiscovered. But for now, Lisbon won because I got an amazing one-way fare on TAP Airlines back to NYC, and my time was limited. Though in the future, when I go back to Portugal, I’ll make sure I hit Porto as well.
Lisbon is a gorgeous and slightly glamorous seaside city with an ancient town-like feel. It’s all hills and valleys that lead down to the Tagus river and towards the ocean. Historic homes with tiled roofs are scattered all around, and everyone has a nice view of the city, its cathedrals and the ancient hilltop Sao Jorge castle. Beneath the castle, alleys weave all throughout the city and lead to elaborate churches, local artisan shops and tiny local cafes. Town squares with massive statues, fountains and monuments seem to be around every other corner.
The city has all the ingredients of beauty, history, mystery and intrigue. Even it’s painful history is a draw, with its corruption, murder, assassinations, repression, bankruptcy, a dictatorship and military coup.
There are many stories of Portugal and I’ll research details and post more about those soon. But the one story that I heard the most about was of the strong soldier on a horse in statues all throughout the city. The young royal son who killed all his older brothers off so he could rightfully become the heir to the throne. He killed his older brothers just for power, to be king. Historically, his murders seemed irrelevant, and it appears instead, that he was respected for his strength, power and good looks. In fact the modern people of Lisbon admire him and compare his strength and good looks to Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the world’s leading Portuguese soccer players.
I took a walk one day and got lost in the city. I actually started with a free walking tour, but wanted to photograph everything I saw, so I let the group go on without me so I could explore. Here is a photo from the streets and alleyways of Lisbon.