Photos from a layover in Lisbon
Capturing the essence of Lisbon’s charm in a day
One of the perks of being a travel writer is getting invitations to take cruises. Cruise lines know that travel writers can help get the word out about the latest innovations in their ships, itineraries, excursions, entertainment, spa treatments, and dining options. I love cruising, but I turn down more invitations than I accept, primarily because if I didn’t, I’d eat myself into being a contestant on NBC’s The Biggest Loser. So until cruise lines start offering liposuction as a spa treatment, I’m very selective about which cruises I take.
Perhaps the most exciting cruise I’ve taken recently was a segment of the maiden voyage of the Viking Star from Barcelona, Spain, to Lisbon, Portugal. Naturally I was intrigued at the prospect of sailing on a brand-new ship with that new-ship smell. And I’ll admit to being enticed by the Viking Star’s offering of a gelato bar instead of soft-serve ice cream machines. But what sealed the deal for me was having a layover in Lisbon prior to flying home after the voyage. Having never been to Portugal, Lisbon presented a perfect opportunity to check another country off my bucket list.
As the ship navigated toward Lisbon in the mouth of the Tagus River, I was a bit perplexed. We passed under what was a rather impressive replica of the Golden Gate Bridge adjacent to a giant statue of Jesus with outstretched arms, strangely reminiscent of the famous Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro. I had a sinking feeling that photographing Lisbon was going to be like taking pictures of the Eiffel Tower on the Vegas Strip.
My disillusionment turned to delight the closer we got to port. Rolling hills with eclectic architecture and pastel colors gave the city a fairy tale–like charm. With camera in tow, I disembarked the ship and set out on foot to explore as much of Lisbon as I could before heading to the airport. Here are a few of my favorite photographs from my adventure.
25 de Abril Bridge
Lisbon has its own version of the Golden Gate Bridge. The 25 de Abril Bridge (25th of April) is named for the day the Estado Novo regime was overthrown in the Carnation Revolution.
Eclectic architecture, pastel colors, terra-cotta roofs, and patches of vegetation against the backdrop of the Tagus River contribute to Lisbon’s picturesque skyline.
Mosaic cobblestone is prominent throughout the city, particularly in pedestrian areas. The entire length of Rua Augusta is paved in this artistic fashion.
Rua Augusta is Lisbon’s main pedestrian street with shops, cafés, street peddlers, artists, and musicians. It’s an absolute must for first-time visitors to the city.
Custard tarts seem to be the official pastry of Lisbon as they can be found everywhere. These small, custard-filled puff pastries with caramelized tops are absolutely addictive.
The statue of King José I and the Rua Augusta Arch (also referred to as the triumphal arch) are the focal points of Commerce Square. The innovative entrepreneur sitting in front of the statue offered to step out of the photograph for one euro.
Toes of Genius
The terrace at the triumphal arch is accessible by elevator and offers spectacular views of Commerce Square and the city. The allegorical trio of Glory, Valor, and Genius reside atop the arch. Pictured are the toes of Genius.
The ship leaving Lisbon
I was on the terrace of the triumphal arch as the Viking Star sailed past Commerce Square and I couldn’t resist snapping a photo.
It’s not uncommon to see cured pig legs on display in bars and restaurants around town. There’s something romantic about eating prosciutto hand-sliced at your table.
Tram 28 is a great way to see the city as it takes you through the most popular tourists spots in town. It is especially helpful in getting up the steep hill to see the Castelo de São Jorge.
This sweet fortified wine is a staple in Lisbon. So naturally I took advantage of the opportunity to check “drinking port wine in Portugal” off my culinary bucket list!
Castelo de São Jorge
The Castelo de São Jorge is a Moorish castle that dates back to the medieval period. It is one of the most popular tourist sites of Lisbon.
Twelve hours was not nearly enough time to experience all Lisbon has to offer, but it was enough time for Lisbon to find its way into my heart—and stomach. I’ll be back for sure!
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