I’m not really sure whether I ought to share photos of Lisbon, after all this is a gardening/photo blog. It’s taken me a couple of weeks since returning to finally decide whether to post; I’ll try to keep it short and sweet because you can’t really be all that interested in seeing every single photo since you weren’t there at the time!

Our first day was spent at ‘Orientale’ at the Marina and Oceanarium.

Unknown fountain and Lisbon Oceanarium

Jardim da água

Jardim da água

On entering the Oceanarium the first ‘room’ you come to is the Arctic area; this area as well as the Antarctic are both kept cool – you can see the spray/misting in one of the photos.
The Antarctic had Penguins in it… Most of our time was spent here as we waited for the Penguin feeding… and eventually gave up after standing around for an hour… We became part of the furniture to the beautiful Inca Terns who thought nothing of sitting less than a metre away from us.

Lisbon Oceanarium Penguins

Beautiful Inca Terns – was was pestering the other and I was hoping it wasn’t about to copulate in front of us… As it happens, the other eventually regurgitated a fish instead!

Inca Tern

The Oceanarium was set out with one massive tank seemingly in the centre – although it might well not have been! And then smaller areas and tanks for each Ocean – Pacific for example.

Various fishes

Various fishes including the weird Sun fish

Sharks; there were a few species, I believe these are black tipped reef sharks

Black Tipped Reef Shark

In addition to the sharks there were Rays and Sea Turtles.

Fishes, Sea Turtle and Rays

The Sea Turtles were in an exhibition of their own, and included seating areas where the tank went overhead and you could sit and watch as they glided over.

Sea Turtle

Onto the city…
View from our hotel room:

Parque Eduardo VII and view

I included a shot with the plane on it, not to moan about the noise (I don’t actually remember thinking they were noisy tbh) but rather when coming into Lisbon you’re right in the centre of the city… and you think you’re going to hit a building! Then, on the way home coming into Manchester I thought we were going to miss the runway because all I could see were trees and fields. Poles apart!

We decided to buy a city bus tour ticket to enable us to see the city easily and quickly… Only I wouldn’t say they’re worth the money to be honest! They’re not frequent enough, nor is the commentary good/interesting enough to make it worthwhile. The tickets do last 48 hours though, but that also meant we were tied to the tours for two days unless we wanted to lose our money. So personally I’d say make your way around on the metro, tram or buses. There’s plenty of public transport around Lisbon so it’s much more worthwhile.
Also the metro is a pleasure to travel in comparison to the hell that is the London underground! As with most other things Portuguese, it’s far more relaxed, the carriages aren’t rammed and it’s just, nice. Same old in terms of being nasty and underground (unless you’re lucky enough to use Westminster or Canada Water tube stations, for example) it’s pretty much like any other tube station except with Portuguese tiles on the walls. The system is also smaller and far less confusing than the underground, but also relatively poorly signposted in English, but since you won’t be shoved, pushed and mown over like in London, it doesn’t matter if you dither around a little.

So, anyway, after spending the first day in ‘Orientale’ at the Oceanarium and Marina, the second day was spent at Belém where we had intended to visit a well-known Patisserie type place with apparently the best Pastel Nata (Portuguese version of an Egg Custard). Only it seemed every other tourist was in there, so we went next door but one to Starbucks… Haha. A real taste of Portugal. Next time. Next time.

Within a relatively small area we have Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, Torre de Belém and Padrão dos Descobrimentos. However, these are divided by a rather fetching motorway and train track. Making it very difficult to get across – only via an underpass or bridge. As a planner I was ranting and raving about the ridiculousness of this; one of Lisbon’s biggest tourist attractions and assets and they literally cut it in half with a motorway. But like with many cities, car is king. Let’s hope they soon catch on to more modern thinking in countries such as the Netherlands, Germany in to some extent, the UK (although we have a long way to catch up). Anyway, rant over. It’s still beautiful.

The rather beautiful Monastery… I also didn’t discover until I got home that the long building to its left (on the left of the photo) is actually an Archaeology museum! Had I known I would probably have gone in.

Mosteiro dos Jerónimos

Mosteiro dos Jerónimos

Torre de Belém

Views from the Torre de Belém

Torre de Belém

Ever seen a photo of Portugal or Lisbon? Well, it’ll likely have been off this building; the Torre de Belém

Torre de Belém

Padrão dos Descobrimentos

Padrão dos Descobrimentos

Padrão dos Descobrimentos and ponte 25 de Abril

I’ve had to cut this short a little because otherwise you’ll all be here until next year reading about various things. So here’s a little montage to give a general feel for the city, its streets and the lovely windows you come across. Even the run-down buildings are beautiful in their own melancholic, decrepit way.
Needless to say we didn’t get to see everything, and the photo on the top right is showing an area I passed only by bus, it was a viewing cliff if you like and had amazing views across the city. It’s an area I want to explore properly next time; as you can imagine it’s up a very steep hill (the tram in the shot next to it takes you only part way up the hill, and there’s more to go before you get there). I’d like to spend some time sitting and watching the city and I bet it would be amazing up there to watch the sunrise.

Lisbon streets, Trams and Windows

Copyright 2013 Liz.
All rights reserved. Content created by Liz for Gwirrel’s Garden.


11 thoughts on “Lisbon

  1. Liz I am glad you posted about your trip to Lisbon as I was looking forward to it…my mom said Portugal was one of the best places she has been in Europe. I hope to visit one day! Fabulous photos even under water 😉

    • Hi Donna,

      Lisbon is quite a cheap city – I believe the cheapest major/capital in Europe. I actually really enjoyed Rotterdam tbh, although not very historical as it was heavily bombed in the war thanks to its huge port.
      Anyway, we’ve booked Lisbon again, this time to get to the Bull fight that we didn’t manage this time because they start late at around 10, and our flight home was at 7:45 so we had to be up at 4 the next morning. Also, we might even get to a football game (grumble, moan, boo hiss), but it’s unfair of me not to let Pete see Benfica if he has the chance and they play on the weekend we’re there. I’ve never been to a football game and never planned to – look how nice I am to him; boy will I expect payment for suffering through a game.

      The Oceanarium is well worth the visit, I plan on going back there again. I’d also like to explore the Marina more as we didn’t see a great deal of it. Apparently lots of very nice sea food restaurants around… Shame I don’t really like fish! 🙂

  2. Beautiful, Liz. Glad you shared. Your photography style makes photos of buildings look great, just as you do with flowers and foliage. We’re planning a trip to Seattle and the aquarium there this summer – it will be the first one we’ve planned with the kids giving input. Not *quite* as exciting as LIsbon, but the sharks will still be cool. And we could viist the original Starbucks shop while we’re there, if we wanted.

    • Hi VW,

      I hope you enjoy your trip to Seattle! Is their Aquarium good? I hope so… Been to too many that were disappointing. This is definitely worth the money and I think I’ll go back in September.

      Original Starbucks huh? Now, that *would* be exciting!!! hahaa. Serious. You have way more options in Starbucks in the US than we do in the UK. In Europe (Lisbon at least) the options seem pretty much the same. But there’s far fewer stores – only two – and perhaps that’s a good thing. As much as I love them, I also hate them for what they are. Bit of a love-hate thang going on.
      Plus, when in Lisbon I’d rather try the local places. Although, it does seem Portugal is sponsored by Cola and Wall’s ice cream! They.are .every.where.

  3. My goal is to go to both Spain and Portugal; your wonderful photos really helped push that up on the priority list. I especially enjoyed the Oceanarium and the garden photos. The contrast between the past and the present was pretty amazing as well. Thank you so much for sharing.

  4. So glad you decided to share your photos, Lisbon looks a beautiful city. I do like looking at architecture while away, and carvings/sculptures too. Loved the shots of the fish and turtles, will look forward to your next visit, but not the bull fight!

    • Hi Pauline,

      I’m not generally someone for architecture… Or, am I? I should be really. Ok, so I like to look at beautiful buildings and mostly get excited by modern, sexy buildings! 🙂

      Bull fight… Well in Portugal it’s different to Spanish fighting. They don’t kill the bull (not in the ring, at least), and its horns are cut and have caps over them so they don’t kill the matador. Also, in Portugal it’s more about the horse riders than the matador… They also have some guys who try to hold the bull still and one has to jump over the bull’s head… They look like Gnomes in their outfits! V.funny. Perhaps I shouldn’t laugh at tradition. When Pete was younger he wanted to be one of the Gnome guys!!
      Don’t worry, I wouldn’t go if they killed the bull either.

  5. Hi Liz, apparently you had a beautiful trip to Lisbon, I’ve never been there. You posted beautiful pictures, I like the last one in particular but I have to admit the pictures of the oceanarium really caught my attention for some long moments! I love those kind of things, I guess I could have been there watching in disbelief for ages. We have something similar here in Italy, in Genova, I always say I’d like to go but at the end I’ve never been… yet.

    • Hi Alberto,

      The large tank in the Aquarium really is massive… I think it’s like three floors high, so you see it when you first enter, then the areas take you round and I’m pretty sure you come down, and then go down yet again and finally get to the bottom because I can remember thinking to myself I want a bottom shot. Then by the time we got there my feet were aching and needed to sit (and to hide from the school kids I could hear coming). It just happened that someone decided to stand in front of me and I figured I might as well snap them. (It’s Pete btw, but shhhh 😉 )

      We also have one here called the Deep in Hull, but it’s nothing in comparison to the one in Lisbon. I was most impressed and pleasantly surprised because I’d be disappointed with the deep after all the reports of how amazing it is, and it’s got this huge tank. But you could barely see anything in it!

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