Lisbon May 2013
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.
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.
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!
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.
Sharks; there were a few species, I believe these are black tipped reef sharks
In addition to the sharks there were Rays and Sea Turtles.
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.
Onto the city…
View from our hotel room:
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.
Ever seen a photo of Portugal or Lisbon? Well, it’ll likely have been off this building; the Torre de Belém
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.