Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Portugal - Last day in Lisbon

From Rossio, we walked to Chiado a few minutes away.
Chiado is one Lisbon's inner suburbs with several shopping establishments, museums and theatres and the University of Fine Arts. 

In 1988 there was a huge fire in this area, which started in Armazens do Chiado, a modern shopping centre in Rua (street) do Carmo. The area then underwent a renovation that lasted 10 years. 

We went past Santa Justa Lift (Elevador de Santa Justa), which we gave a miss, as we had been there before, but if you climb it you get wonderful views over Lisbon.
Rua do Carmo with Armazens do Chiado a shopping centre where the fire started , at the bottom of the street
In front of the shopping centre, is Rua Garrett, and at at nr. 19 you will find a courtyard sheltered from the street noise, with a couple of restaurants and cafes.
We chose the first one on the right - Aprazivel - the interior was quite nice, with a kitchen behind a glass partition. Pleased to say that I ordered mint tea and I was also served the tea with mint leaves just like in Amsterdam!

19 Rua Garrett, courtyard with restaurants

Climbing Rua Garret at nr. 120 there's another  famous art-Deco Cafe with a terrace full of tables - A Brasileira  (the Brazilian) - opened since 1905, known to be frequented by Portugal's intellectuals, artists and writers, including the famous Fernando Pessoa who has a bronze statue  installed in 1988, of himself sitting at his usual table. It's a very popular spot with tourists taking photos of Pessoa.

Statue of Fernando Pessoa outside "A Brasileira" Cafe
A Brasileira Cafe behind the yellow umbrellas and the statue to the left

We walked around admiring the old buildings, interesting architecture, narrow lanes... 

A Coffee Kiosk

... until we reached Rua Augusta with it's arch at the end. 
The Arch was built to commemorate the reconstruction of Lisbon after the 1755 earthquake.
Construction of the massive marble arch started in 1755 and ended in 1873 and the arch can be climbed for views over the city and Tagus river.

Arch from Rua Augusta with statue of King Jose I through the Arch

Underneath the Arch

On the other side of the Arch is Commerce Square or Palace Square (Praca do Comercio or Terreiro do Paco) surrounded on 3 sides by symmetrical yellow buildings on arched galleries, housing Government offices. Here stood once a royal palace that was destroyed during the earthquake.
In the centre of the Square is an imposing bronze statue of King Joseph I. 
The Square is a popular venue for New Year festivities.
The Arch on the Commerce Square side

King Joseph I statue atop a horse

Commerce square and statue of King Joseph  I

This square was the scene of the murder of the penultimate King of Portugal - King Charles I, in 1908.
On the way from their royal Palace, the King and his family were shot in their carriage by two men in the crowd. The King died immediately, the heir (Prince Luis Filipe) was mortally wounded and Prince Manuel was hit in the arm. He became the last king of Portugal - Emmanuel II, and reigned until the 5th of October 1910, when the Monarchy was overthrown by the Republican party.

Across from the square is the River Tagus. The riverside area between Commerce Square and Cais do Sodre (where the Station to Cascais is), has recently been reclassified, and is today a landscaped pedestrian area with modern Cafes and access to the water, although you aren't allowed to swim there.

Columns Wharf (Cais das Colunas) is the name given to the two columns that embrace the marble staircase to the river. These were the "doors to the city of Lisbon" from where important figures of State like Queen Elizabeth II disembarked in 1957.
Nowadays the wharf is used by the ferries crossing the river to the south.
It's known that the Columns were finished towards the end of the 18th century, they were dismantled in the 19th century, again re-installed in 1929. In 1997 they were once more removed due to the underground works to the Santa Apolonia station, and they were again re-installed in 20018.

Columns Wharf - where the river meets the city

Column Wharf

Well, all good things come to an end, and the next day we were flying out of Lisbon towards one last day in Amsterdam before flying back home to Perth.

I hope you enjoyed the tour through the most important areas of Lisbon. Hopefully one day you will be able to see this wonderful city too.

The next 3 photos were taken from the air over Lisbon.

25 April Bridge linking Lisbon and the South

Tuesday 17 March 2015

Friday, 24 April 2015

Fremantle - The day before the Anzac Centenary

A friend visiting from Sydney was keen to go and visit Fremantle, so with a day off work, Friday was the ideal day!

Our first stop was at the War Memorial in Monument Hill, (High Street) from where you can get a nice view over part of the city, Rottnest Island and the harbour.

The Memorial comprises a main obelisk unveiled in 1928 and 8 other smaller memorials to the various wars Australia fought on.

While we took photos preparations were afoot for the Anzac Centenary Commemorations of the landing of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps in Gallipoli (Turkey), which takes place on 25th April, not only in Australia, but in  many other countries.

War Memorial Obelisk

The curtains were installed over the plaques naming fallen soldiers, which will be unveiled on Anzac day
Various other smaller memorials
 Royal Navy Memorial
View over part of Fremantle
As we went down the hill to the parked car, I noticed this lovely bus stop painted to commemorate Anzac as well.
One side had a soldier painted on - pity the "peeping hole" (used when you're sitting to look out for the bus) is right in the middle of the soldier...
The other side had a nurse, the front had soldiers on horses and red poppies, the back had soldiers walking at night, and even the ceiling was painted to match.
What do you think, isn't it brilliant?

The Soldier
Soldiers on horseback and poppies, and even the ceiling is painted with poppies

War Nurse

 The back of the bus stop with the soldiers walking under the stars
From the bottom of the gardens, you can see the Obelisk and a few other memorials

Somewhere else in Fremantle,  we saw two trees with knitted poppies wrapped around their trunks. Very sweet.

                                                    The two trees with wrapped poppies around their trunk

Knitted poppies

The rest of the visit to Fremantle will be described another day, as I just want to dedicate this post to all those brave men and women who lost their lives or were injured in the many senseless wars that were fought and sadly are still being fought all over our globe.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Portugal - Rossio

We were dropped by the tuk-tuk's driver at Pedro IV Square, most commonly known as Rossio Square, even today a meeting point for tourists and locals.

In the square King Peter IV, who was also the First Emperor of Brazil as Peter I, is honoured in a marble statue atop a 23mt high column, erected in 1870. 
Panoramic view of Rossio square (photo from net)
Statue to King Peter IV in Rossio Square

The square is also home to D.Maria II National Theatre, where plays can still be seen, the Rossio Station, a big fountain, as well as cafes and shops some dating back to the 18th century. 
And Isn't the black and white cobbled pavement so beautiful?

D. Maria II National Theatre and Rossio Square

D. Maria II National Theatre
One of the old cafe's still operating since 1929 -  Cafe Nicola  with it's Arte deco facade, was  in it's heyday a literary and political meeting place, where for example the poet Manuel Maria Barbosa do Bocage, used to meet up with friends.

Cafe Nicola (photo from net)

Just to the left of Rossio, on the way to Restauradores Square, Rossio Station, built in 1886/7 looks more like a Palace or a Theatre than a railway station. 

Designed in a Neo-Manueline style, by the Portuguese architect Jose Luis Monteiro, it's 8 curved doors match the 9 windows above, and it has a clock tower at the top.
Strangely enough, the station's platforms are located 30 metres above the main entrance. 
A few years ago it was renovated and connected with the Restauradores underground station (Metro).

It's still considered one of the most beautiful stations in Europe (an maybe the rest of the world). It's here that you can catch a train to Sintra.
We climbed the escalators to the platforms so we could have a look at the interior of the station.

Rossio Station - main entrance 

Inside the station - the renovated area - platforms are to the right

Platforms - Sintra line

From the platform floor there's access to the Station from the 1st of December street and a viewing platform enables you to take photos of the city below.

1st December Street - from where you can also enter the station at platform level

St George's castle in the distance

St George's castle - photo taken from  Rossio Station

We couldn't leave Rossio without buying Roasted chestnuts from a street vendor.
The smell is so wonderful, it just warms you up... 
It's just such a typical Portuguese tradition, eating chestnuts in winter.

Roasted chestnut  street vendor
  Hope you are enjoying the views of Lisbon.
Tuesday, 17th March 2015

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Portugal - The Castle and the views over Lisbon

We managed to pick the only day it rained or drizzled during our stay, to go to Lisbon, but with only 1 day left before our departure, we had no choice!

My husband, sister and myself drove from Cascais via the Marginal (the coastal road linking Cascais to Lisbon), past the Discoveries Monument , the view of the Bridge crossing the river Tagus - 25 de Abril (25th of April Bridge) - and parked the car in the city.

Bridge 25th April with  Christ the King statue on the other side of the River Tagus

First on my wish list was a ride on the old yellow Tram nr. 28 up to Saint George Castle

We walked to Rua da Conceicao and caught the tram already packed with tourists on their way to one of Lisbon's seven hills. Up the narrow cobbled streets we went, and got off when the driver announced the Castle stop.
Tram 28 on the way to the city centre

The pergola at Santa Luzia Lookout

Right there next to the tram stop was the Church of Sao Bras (Igreja de Sao Bras)  and the Santa Luzia Lookout (Miradouro de Santa Luzia) where we stood under the pergola admiring the view over the Alfama suburb rooftops and the Tagus river.

From the pergola of Santa Luzia, you can see the National Pantheon (Panteao Nacional) and the Monastery of Saint Vincent (Igreja de Sao Vicente de Fora) - on the left and right of the photo below.

The National Pantheon to the left (round dome) , St Estevan Church and the Alfama suburb

The National Pantheon (as seen on the left of previous photo)

On the walls of the Sao Bras church, facing the pergola are two tiled panels - The one on the right is of "Commerce Square" (Praca do Comercio) before Lisbon was struck by the earthquake of 1755, and the panel on the left depicts St. George's Castle being taken over from the Moors in 1147.

We got back on the street, and just a few metres to the left there was another lookout - Portas do Sol (Miradouro das Portas do Sol), above the Alfama district with magnificent views once again. On the terrace below there is a Cafe if you want to rest while you admire the views.

At the centre of this square is a statue of Saint Vincent - Lisbon's patron saint - holding the symbols of the city - a boat and 2 ravens. 
In the distance you can see St Vincent's Monastery (Igreja de Sao Vicente de Fora), which was built in 1627.
To complete this setting, an elderly man sang some soulful "Fado" songs and people dropped a few coins into his hat.
Portas do Sol Square and lookout terrace - St Vincent statue and St Vincent Monastery
Statue of St Vincent, the city's patron Saint
The Fado player
Time to leave this idyllic spot and climb the cobbled streets up to the St George's Castle.
Built in the 6th century, part of it was destroyed in the Lisbon Earthquake of 1755.
On the way up we came across this public urinol, I wonder if it's still used?

The castle is open from 9am to 6pm in winter and to 9pm in summer, tickets cost $8,50.
We opted for not going inside the castle as we still had lots to see, but I know that the views from the Castle over the city are amazing, so if you have some time go inside.

Public urinol near St George's castle

One of the staircases near the castle

Within the Castle's thick outer walls there is a small neighbourhood of Santa Cruz.

We just decided to have a short break and have a Portuguese custard tart (pastel de natal) and a hot drink at "The World needs nata" right across the entry to the Castle. 
Wow, the tarts were good, warm with a sprinkle of cinnamon, oozy when you bit into them....  Just delicious!!

The World needs Nata for a great Custard tart, near the Castle

There are also a few restaurants and bars as well as souvenir shops.
I bought some interesting souvenirs made with the traditional cork and tiles to bring to some friends in Australia.

Now we could either get the Tram 28 back to the city or choose another fun means of transport - the tuk-tuk won, and in exchange for 15 Euros, the three of us were driven downtown to Chiado. We laughed all the way...
And can you guess what the driver glued to his tuk-tuk? 
If you guesses custard tarts, you were right!!

The driver took a photo of us in the tuk-tuk. 

Tram 28 again