Saturday, October 28, 2017

Old Town Lisbon:Heart and Soul of Lisbon (Lovely Lisbon Series 17)

 Old Town Lisbon 
Heart and Soul of Lisbon
Lovely Lisbon Series 17

It was the first day of the European Congress of Endocrinlogy
and I attended the medical convention the whole morning,

…and later joined my family by noontime
at the Praça do Comércio where we would
begin our visit to the Lisbon’s old town district.

The Praça do Comérciois the largest of Lisbon’s
plazas located at the edge of the Tagus estuary and  
 was center of commerce in the past where the most of
Portugal’s main business establishments  are located.

My family admired the grandest of Lisbon’s squares,  
surrounded with neo- classical buildings that houses
shops and restaurants and the city’s main tourism office.

We exited at the ornate Arco da Rua Augusta,

…and strolled leisurely at the Rua Augusta,

…where we chanced upon Fabrica Das Enguias.

Fabrica Das Enguias is located a few steps away
from Rua Augusta, near the Praça do Comércio,

...housed in an ancient building,

…along the main road and a block away
from the iconic Tram 28 metro station.

The store sells nothing but their popular canned eel
and  has been producing this exotic delicacy since 1942.

The store offers free tasting of bite sized bread topped 
with the chunky bits of canned eel, and it tasted very good.

We bought several cans which came with
a certificate of authenticity and a Fabrica
Das Enguias passport souvenir for tourists. 

We then walked uphill intending to visit the
Lisbon Cathedral as our next destination,
and when we saw a church about a block
about away, we  mistook it as the Lisbon Se,

…so we went in. 

I was armed with a guidebook, but we began suspecting
that we were in the wrong place as the book description
does not match of what we are seeing on real time.

There were a lot of Filipinos in the
as there was a christening going on,

..and I asked one of them if this is the Lisbon Se,
it’s the Mary Magdalene Church was the answer.

It was an awesome church nevertheless, and despite 
being situated at  the historical centre of Lisbon, the  
Igreja da Magdalena has not been a popular tourist 
destination, and we were fortunate for this visit  when
we mistook it for the more popular Lisbon Se.

From the Igreja da Magdalena
we hopped at the crowded Tram 28,

…and got down at the
Miraduro de Sta Luzia,

where the  Elevador de Sta Luzia
was located at Alfama’s upper district.

It was another case of mistaken identity.
We had the ancient Elevador de Sta Justa
but ended at Elevador de Sta Luzia  instead.

It was perfectly alright as the Miraduro de Santa Luzia,
was a lovely view deck that provided an awesome 
view of the beautiful city of Lisbon downhill.


The ancient Viana do Costelo accress
that served as a rustic scenic shortcut,
to the Costelo de Sao Jorge uphill.

The walk to the castle was draining,
as the old cobbled road was steep,

…but we  had a slow and leisurely
stroll  in an ancient neighborhood,

…with centuries old buildings
of quaint Moorish architecture.

But the effort was all worth it.

The majestic Castelo de Sao Jorge
also known as the Lisbon castle,

… built at the top the hill had an awesome
view of the ancient city of Lisbon below.

Much of the present structures are in ruins,
but continues restoration is being undertaken.

Some parts of the ruins of the former
Royal Palace of the Alcáçova has been
restored and converted to a museum,

…called Nucleo Museologico.

The massive 11th  century Moorish Castle
has been restored to its original glory

Castelo de Sao Jorge is the
fortress to Lisbon’s history,

…it is Portugal’s top tourist attraction,
and not to be missed by anyone
visiting this old, beautiful country.

It was already late in the afternoon when 
we left Castelo de Sao Jorge, we were 
starving as we didn’t had any lunch yet.

We caught the sight of Comidas de Santiago, a rustic-
looking roadside restaurant few blocks away from the castle.

We perused the menu and it looked interesting
so we decided to dine at the al fresco section.

They initially served us several loaves of warm
bread and a platter- full of olives for appetizer
and we gobbled then fast as we were all hungry.

Everything tasted very good from
the velvety Vegetable Cream Soup,


… to the Roast Lamb with Roasted Potatoes,

…and the Cod with Cream.

Comidas de Santiago is a nice roadside restaurant  
that serves excellent traditional Portuguese cuisine
that comes in massive portions, yet very affordable.

After a sumptuous dinner, we admired the
paper money collection coming from different
countries, displayed on the restaurant’s wall,

…and I fished out a twenty peso bill from my
wallet and gave it to the waiter when we noticed
that they had no Philippine money on display.

After dining at the Comidas de Santiago,
we walked down a steep cobbled alley
and ended at the Largo das Portas do Sol.

The Largo das Portas do Sol is a street in
Alfama named  from the old Puerta del Sol,
a part the Moorish fence that existed here but
was destroyed by the great earthquake of 1755. 


The statue of the city's patron saint, St. Vincent,
holding the symbols of Lisbon, a boat with two
ravens serves as a centerpiece of a small square.

Largo das Portas do Sol is surrounded
by beautiful earth-toned ancient buildings ,

…and on one side of the street is
the Miraduro das Portas do Sol,

...offers a s stunning view of Lisbon’s
ancient brick- roofed houses and
the historic Tagus River at a distance.

From the Portas do Sol/we again took the Tram 28,
to the Lisbon Cathedral located few blocks downhill. 

We earlier mistook the Igreja da Magdalena for this church, 
 but this time we finally got it right. The monolithic façade of 
this ancient church with two imposing bell towers looked
 more of a fortification than being the city's center of faith.

Sé de Lisboa or the Santa Maria Maior de Lisboa and 
simplycalled the Lisbon Cathedral in English,is the oldest 
church in the city and the see of the  Archdiocese of Lisbon,

Classified as a National Monument, the church had
 beautiful gothic arches, with high vaulted ceilings, 

…while numerous medieval statues and
elaborately designed altars fill the alcoves. 

The Se de Lisboa is steeped in history
as it is the city’s ancient center of faith,
and no holiday in Lisbon is complete
without visiting this religious monument.

From the Lisbon Cathedral, we leisurely walked downhill,
bought refreshing gelatos from a roadside ice cream parlor,

…and walked our way back
to the the Praça do Comércio,

...before heading back to the hotel.

Touring the old town Lisbon is
easy and could be done half a day, 

…as the city’s main attractions are located close
from one another and could be accessed by foot,
by tram and even roadside elevators and funiculars.

Read my other blogs on 
Lovely Lisbon Series

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