As my Christmas present from my parents and grandma, I took a long weekend trip to Lisbon, Portugal to try and get a little winter sun and have a short escape from the grey of Ireland.
Church of Santa Maria
There are a lot of view points through out the entire city that give you beautiful views of the water and the buildings nestled into the hills. While wandering the city and walking between churches and castles, I passed a few of these look out points.
Castle de S. Jorge
My next stop of the day was Castle de S. Jorge. The castle is a very historical location, the current castle dates back to the 8th century but archaeological digs have shown that the location had been used as fortification as far back as the 1st century. The castle itself has had various uses over the years, including royal palaces and military barracks, and now as national monument. The castle also gives wonderful views of the city and had peacocks wandering the gardens!
Streets of Lisbon
Most of my trip was spent wandering the streets and just looking at the beautiful buildings and taking in the warm sun and clear blue skies.
Flea Market and National Panteon
After the wandering the castle for a few hours I went to the National Pantheon, which is in a very grand building. Outside there was a large market with vendors and tables lining the streets and park for blocks. They were selling everything from suits and clothes to old cameras, tourist souvenirs and hand made gifts.
The pantheon itself was a huge building, with bodies of people important to Portuguese culture, sports, politics, and art. You were allowed to climb the building to the top dome and look out at the city. A big theme of the city and this trip seems to be beautiful views from every tall hill and building. I sat outside for a while just soaking in the sun and the air and enjoy the feeling of relaxing.
National Tile Museum
I walked down to the National Tile Museum which ended up being to most interesting part of the day. There is a large culture here of tiling buildings with patterned and intricate tiles, which I had noticed throughout the day. The museum talked about how azulejos (tiles) came from when the Moors invaded Portugal and Spain. The word itself, azulejos, has Arabic roots, meaning small, polished, stone. When a King visited Seville, he brought back the idea to make intricate artwork on these tiles, and then used them to cover the large, blank walls common to buildings built during the Gothic period. They are now used to cover everything around Lisbon, from Churches to houses and restaurants and bars.
Unfortunately the museum did not allow photos of the exhibits but I did get some photos of examples I saw walking around the city.
The evening I spent at a local brewery, Oitava Colina. They had a long list of beers and probably the best Gose I’ve ever had. It was a cucumber Gose, and I think not only was it delicious, it was the most refreshing and perfect beer after a day spent walking around in the sun. A perfect finish to a perfect day, drinking beer and watching the sun set.