Wednesday 2 November 2022

European Holiday - Portugal - Cascais, Lisbon and return home

Also joining Tom with Signs. Please check other signs from around the world here.

We returned from the Algarve to Cascais, for my last week in Portugal.

Early the next morning my niece Tania arrived from Angola with her 2 little girls and the following day my other niece Nadine, who lives in San Franciso, arrived from Geneva where they had been visiting her in-laws, with her husband and two kids.

My sisters and I had arranged a big lunch to which we had invited family and friends. Sadly, not all could make it, but a fabulous day was had by all that attended!

Everybody brought a sweet or a savoury dish, and we made a lasagne and a chicken curry. 

Some of the desserts - I forgot to take a photo of all the mains
Fun photo - my brother in law (middle) who is married to my middle sister and his two brothers behind me and my sisters, and my sister's dog, in order of seniority

Some of the friends were missing in this photo

A childhood friend of my younger sister (from South Africa, who living in the centre of Portugal) had travelled by train to be at the lunch. She had stayed overnight at my parent's place, and the next day before taking her to the train station, my parents, my sister Luisa and I took Lidia around Cascais for some sightseeing.

We first stopped at "Boca do Inferno" (Hell's Mouth) - the remains of an ancient cave in the Cascais coast, through which the waves crash, specially violently during Winter.

Boca do Inferno (Hell's Mouth)

Then we visited "Casa da Guia" (Guia's House, Guia being the area in Cascais), a beautiful, renovated building that houses outdoor cafes, some upmarket shops, art gallery...and visiting the house, we walked the coastal path for the sea views.

Casa da Guia

Vies of the coast from Casa da Guia

Sign at one of the Cafes - My head says go to the gym, my heart says eat

Painted elephant outside Casa da Guia

Near my sister's house I found a street name after Aristides de Sousa Mendes
You can read my post:

Two days later my young sister Luisa flew back to South Africa, but not before we went to Lisbon for a quick and fun tuk-tuk tour. We parked the 2 cars in an underground carpark below Rossio Square, where we started our tour.

Tuk-tuk tour around Lisbon

Me, my sisters Isabel and Luisa, my niece Nadine and 2 kids - photo taken by other niece

Rossio Station - was formerly known as Central Station, (word still inscribed in one of the entrance arches), it looks very much like a palace with its horseshoe doorways, built by Franco-Swiss Blaise Cendrars, which called train stations "the most beautiful churches in the world".  
It's now home to the Sintra train line.
Located in Rossio Square, the liveliest square in Lisbon, which is surrounded by cafes and restaurants with outdoor sitting.  The square is paved in black and white cobblestones in a wave pattern.

The beautiful Rossio Station

One of the arched doors with the name "central" still inscribed, and statue

On either side of the square there is a fountain and in the centre a 27mt high column with a statue of Dom Pedro IV on top.

One of the fountains in the square, the wave cobblestones

Dom Pedro IV column and statue
On the north side is the neoclassical 1840's Dona Maria II National Theatre, with 6 Ionic columns that were originally in St Francis church which was destroyed in the 1755 earthquake. 

National Theatre at Rossio Square

Known as the city of the 7 hills, Lisbon has about 30 "Miradouros" (viewpoints) scattered around the city. One of our tuk-tuk stops was at popular Miradouro Santa Luzia, next to the small church of the same name, which are the headquarters of the Order of Malta in Portugal, in the parish of Alfama. 

Saint Luzia church and us at the St Luzia viewpoint

The dome of the National Pantheon (left) and St Stephens Church (right), and cruise ship

The view over the rooftops below, extends to the port where we could see a huge cruise ship, and to the left we can see St Stephen's Church, which was originally built in the 12th century, originally with two towers, but one was damaged in the 1755 earthquake. The church was later renovated and reopened in 1773.

To the right you can see the dome of the National Pantheon, originally the Church of Saint Engratia when it was built in 1682, becoming the Pantheon in 1916.

The dome was only completed in 1966, making it the monument that took the longest to be complete in Portugal!  In Portugal when something takes ages to be completed, we say: "it's like the St Engratia build". 

The Pantheon was built over the site of a previous church that was desecrated by a robbery in 1630, when a Jew was blamed and executed and later exonerated. 

Before he died, he said that a new church would never be completed...

As if he had predicted it, just months after the start of construction in 1681, it collapsed due to a storm on a poorly built foundation.

It now holds the tombs and cenotaphs of famous Portuguese who distinguished themselves in politics, culture, science, sports - who made a mark in the history of Portugal and took the image of the country beyond borders - people like the great fado singer Amália Rodrigues, the footballer Eusébio, presidents, explorers like Prince Henry the Navigator, poets...

National Pantheon

St Vincent Church near the Pantheon

Next stop was the "Miradouro Senhora do Monte"  (viewpoint Lady of the Hill) where we can see most of the city below, including the 25th April Bridge and the Christ the King statue across the Tagus River and the Saint George Castle atop a hill.

The small church of Senhora do Monte (Lady of the Hill)

Views over to the 25th April bridge (middle photo), castle (right)

St George's Castle on top a hill

The very long tile panel indicates all the visible monuments from this viewpoint

We stopped at the Elevador do Carmo (Carmo Lift or Santa Justa lift), in the parish of Santa Justa. The lift connects the lower streets of Baixa (downtown) with the higher streets of the parish of Bairro Alto (the lowest and highest points of Lisbon).
This beautiful structure was built in 1902 by French architect Raoul de Mesnier du Ponsard, an apprentice of Gustave Eiffel, which explains the structure's similarity with the Eiffel Tower.
The top of the 45mt high structure reached via a spiral staircase also has a great view over the city, including Rossio Square, the castle and the river.

At the back of the Carmo lift is the Convent of our Lady of Carmo, now home to the Carmo Archaeology Museum. Next to it stands the gothic Carmo Church, at the time the largest church in Lisbon. 
With its bare arches and no roof, the church is a poignant reminder of the devastation suffered during the 8.9 earthquake on 1st November 1755, which killed hundreds of church goers that were gathered for the All-Saints celebration, and the fires from the toppled candles that raged on for days. 

I've actually never been inside, or visited the museum, but it's one place I would like to return to on my next visit to Lisbon. 

Our last stop was Praça do Comércio (Commerce Plaza), one of the largest squares in Portugal with 30,600m2 (320,000 ft2). It's just across from the Tagus River and is also known as  Terreiro do Paço (Palace Yard), as it was before its total destruction in the 1755 earthquake the site of the Royal Palace of Ribeira.

Since the 19th century, the U-shaped buildings around the square house the most important Portuguese state departments - Ministry of Finance, Internal Administration, Agriculture and Maritime Affairs, Supreme Court...and also the Museum of Lisbon.

The arch - "Arco da Rua Augusta" (Arch of Augusta street, on the other side of the arch), has a clock and statues of Glory, Ingenuity and Valor, plus those of Viriathus (leader of the Lusitanian people in the 3rd century), Nuno Álvares Pereira (14th century general who secured independence from Castile) Vasco da Gama (famous explorer) and of course, the Marquis of Pombal (prime minister of King Jose I, who co-ordinated the building effort after the earthquake).

In was in this square that in February 1908, the King Carlos I (Charles I), the penultimate king of Portugal was assassinated on the way back to the palace when the carriage containing the King and his family crossed the square. Two years later the monarchy was overthrown by members of the Republican party.

You can climb up to the arch where you also have a view of the river and surrounding area.

Commerce Square with Arch of Augusta Street

The 1775 Statue of King Jose I, during which reign the earthquake took place

Our fun 2 1/2 hour tuk-tuk tour finished, and we met up with my niece Tania and her baby at the Hard Rock Cafe, then back into the cars to Cascais, prepare and have dinner, then we took my sister Luisa to the airport that night.

The following day I got a ride with one of nieces into Lisbon so I could go and pick up our Portuguese passports and ID's which we had done in the Algarve and they had been sent to the main office for collection.

The offices were near the Vasco da Gama shopping centre, one of Lisbon's most modern shopping malls, located in Parque das  Nações (Park of Nations), also known as Expo, in the area built during the World Expo 1998. 

Sign at Vasco da Gama shopping centre 

The Expo area is the most modern part of the city, with a train/bus station across from the shopping centre, "Gare do Oriente" (Oriente Station) which was designed by famous Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava and inaugurated in May 1998 as part of the '98 Expo World Fair. 
I returned to Cascais by train, from the Gare do Oriente.

Trams of Lisbon - the yellow one is the famous 28 that takes you past most of the above monuments. (This photo wasn't taken during this holiday, we didn't get any rain now)

After 4 weeks with the family, it was with sadness that we said our goodbyes ...
One of my nieces and my Mom drove Karina and I to the airport for our lunch time flight. We flew together to Frankfurt, where Karina caught a train home to Cologne, and I caught the flight to Singapore and then Perth.

The popular Swatch watch stand at Lisbon airport

Before embarking I still bought a box of 6 Portuguese tarts to bring for Jose - but of course, nothing like the real thing you get in Patisseries or in the original factory/cafe in Belem!!

Portuguese Custard tarts

At Singapore Airport - nearly home :)


  1. Wonderful tour photos, enhanced by relatives and friends. This is a great way to record your memories!

    1. Thanks Barbara. Yes, a great to remember a few years down the line what I did when, lol.

  2. Wonderful holidays you had!!
    Those images of Lisbon are so familiar to me. I miss that beautiful city. I used to live in Campo de Ourique and Estrela many years ago.

    1. Lisbon is a beautiful city and has so much history. Very central area to live.

  3. ...Sami, you packed so much into your trip, it must have taken some time to recover once you returned home.

    1. Usually just the usual jetlag lasting about 1 week :) Thanks Tom

  4. A fun time had by all. You all look so happy and your food looks amazing.

    Have a fabulous day and rest of the week, Sami. ♥

  5. wonderful trip Sami. great that you were able to see your family (scattered all around) and your friends. precious moments. plus, this brings back sweet memories of my visit to Portugal.

    1. Thanks Klara, glad this post brought you good memories.

  6. all these pictures of a cosmopolitan family are moving. And then to see all these views of Lisbon and its surroundings also touches me a lot. It's a city I love so much and that moves me. It is one of the places where I feel most at home in Europe.

    1. That's nice that you feel at home in Lisbon Kwarkito.

  7. Olá, Sami!
    Os almoços de família sabem sempre melhor e com comidinhas dessas... nham, nham! :D
    Tenho de confessar que não conheço muito de Cascais e que me sinto mais em casa em Lisboa. Nasci lá, morei lá quando era pequena e trabalhei lá durante alguns anos. É uma cidade linda e pelo que vejo, também o é Cascais!
    Beijinhos e espero que a viagem de regresso a casa tenha passado a correr!

    1. Obrigada Paula. Cascais também merece uma visita, há museus, praias, parques...

    2. E um dia destes vou lá dar um saltinho!

  8. This is a truly a photography journal of Portugal. Hell's mouth looks like a paradise for landscape photographers

    1. Thanks Roentare. Hell's mouth can be quite dramatic.

  9. What a wonderful reminder of the many things we saw in Lisbon. I was very impressed by the Santa Justa lift where you could pay with your public transport card. But where are the trams? Not a single one!

    1. The Santa Justa lift is beautiful. I have some trams in my photos, they are still around, will have to upload one. Thanks Andrew

  10. Dearest Sami,
    That sounds and looks like a very special family and friends reunion.
    So glad that you got to spend some extended time—always so much needed and wished for...
    That tour through Lisbon with your younger sister was a genial idea.
    Sure, you speaking the language and knowing your way would find out of such a possibility.
    Lovely photos and fond memories before departure with a heavy heart.
    We too well know that feeling.

    1. It certainly was a great reunion, wish more people could have come. In Portugal most people speak English very well, all tour guides would be fluent in English, even our tuk-tuk driver was :)

    2. Sami, I only meant that you would know of such special tours—not in regard to language. It is more about knowing your way, where to go and who/what to schedule.

  11. Gorgeous photos and great post Sami! You've invoked so many memories of my own visit to Portugal, albeit a solo trip! I still haven't managed to finish my blog about all that I experienced there! Nonetheless, there are some posts I did finish. If you like, you can read my experiences here -

    1. Thanks. I've read your posts about Lisbon, very interesting to read someone else's perspective.

  12. Quite a journey. Wonderful photos.

  13. Hell´s Mouth looks dangerous indeed!
    I´m eating, reading this :-)
    Beautiful tiles. And architecture, I love the statue and the entrances really look like horseshoes!
    The way to the theater looks wonderfully arty.
    The dome has quite a history...

    LOL. Guess with what Ingo presented me today?
    A tram! You can move the panto and open the doors!
    Seeing your tart... on the InnoTrans in Berlin (railway expo) I nearly was forced to eat Tim Tams as the team from Sydney had them on the counter and I pointed it out to Ingo.
    LOL, the guys did not understand I really do not want to...
    Wonder when we hop onto such a plane.
    Always very sad to leave family, but 4 weeks sounds fantastic and you all look so happy (of course)!

    1. Thanks Iris. I love European architecture, all those old palaces, monuments... The play tram would be cute for sure :)

  14. Lisboa é linda! E Cascais também.
    Uma reportagem maravilhosa de excelentes e emotivas férias!
    Tenho estado doente, como demonstram os meus avisos de pausa...
    Continuação de ótima primavera em Perth...


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