We took a guided bus tour of Lisbon today with our new guide, Felipa. Sadly, we had to let Igore go to his next group and adventure.
Felipa speaks perfect English, is very well organized and knows all of us by name already. She is a font of information.
Sept.24 – We left our hotel this morning and traveled down to the Tagus River passing many interesting sights along the way. We always take the business card of the hotel we are staying and carry it with us. If we get lost, we simply grab a cab and show the driver the card.
We passed one of the very old funiculars that take residents and tourists up to the higher region of the city with its wonderful views.
We went by the Parliament building where soldiers were on duty guarding the building.
Something was happening there of some importance, or so it seemed to me.
We drove past the Prime Minister’s official residence. It is a fine mansion tucked back from the road and behind several giant trees for privacy.
The large and busy Tagus river flowed past us and toward the Atlantic on our left as we drove down the wide road heading west.
Lisbon sits at the mouth of the Tagus River where it flows out into the Atlantic Ocean. Today, a good deal of the wide Tagus River has been reclaimed by the city and buildings stand where water once flowed and ships were tied at anchor.
Years ago, sailors went to pray in Jero’nimo’s Cathedral and Monastery near the river for a safe journey and return to their homes. It is one of the most prominent buildings designed in the late Portuguese Gothic Manueline style in Lisbon. It was built in the late 1500s.
After prying, the sailors were taken by skiff past the beautiful Belem tower sitting on an island to board their ships. Now that wide area of the river has been reclaimed and turned into a park. The Belem tower is now at the edge of the river. We can walk where the sailors once had to be rowed to their ships.
Belem is the point where we left the bus and toured this UNESCO World Heritage site dating from the 16th century.
Vasco de Gama, 1st Count of Vidigueira, was the first European to reach India by sea. He made two voyages to India. He was appointed Viceroy of India and advised the Portuguese government on India’s and Portuguese relations for the next twenty years He died in Kochi, India on Dec.24, 1524. He is buried at Jeronimo’s Cathedral.
“The Monument to the Discoveries” a huge stone carving in the shape of a Caravel sailing vessel has several larger than life statues of sailors and explorers Carved into its large base. It was designed by the architect Cottinelli Telmo and sculptor Leopoldo de Almeida and built in 1940. In 1960 it was given “permanent status” to celebrate the fifth centenary of the death of Henry The Navigator.
Magellan and Prince Henry the Navigator are both represented here on this colossal monument. There are 33 Portuguese explorers and artists depicted here.
Henry the Navigator, Duke of Viseu, was born in Porto in 1394. He was a central figure early in the history of Portuguese maritime discoveries. He died on November 13, 1460. He saw and accomplished much in his lifetime. Don’t we wish we could say the same?
We had a great lunch at a restaurant where we met a young Napoli woman and a Bengal man who worked as waitstaff. We love seeing people from countries we have visited and always mention to them how much we loved the countries of their origin.
It costs nothing to be pleasant and polite while traveling. Remember, you represent your country wether you like it or not. These countries of the far east seem to be where much of the local work force comes from.
Most of the shops seem to be owned or operated by people from India and the like. We have seen this in many countries as we have traveled the world.
We had a great dinner with the group this evening and met another Napali woman working as well.
We walked through another park on the way to the cafe. It was a pleasant evening and the weather here in Lisbon is perfect. A little warm with a slight breeze to cool it down just a bit.
There are more modern and tall hotels wiht in walking distance of our hotel with bars on the upper floors if you want great views of the city.
We had a long and pleasant dinner visiting with our new “travel family” about past adventures, new adventures coming in the future and life in general.
The restaurant was near our hotel. Our guide made the reservations for us and joined us for the fine meal.
Our guide Felipa lives outside the city with her husband and two children.
If you love history and sailing adventures as much as I do, read my two novels about 18th century England. They are “The Adventures of the Smith Family” and the follow up novel, “Sailing Away.”
As always, thanks for stopping by.