Cable cars, the smell of the ocean and a lively gastronomy taking place amidst the romantically serpentine lanes of Old Town, these are the aces Lisbon has on its hands.
On the one hand all places are well signposted, on the other hand the stop of Aero Bus is right in front of you when leaving the arrival hall. In about 15 minutes Rossio is already in sight, which is the central square/district between upper town (Bairro Alto) and the Old Town Alfama.
When leaving the bus at Rossio the first of Lisbon’s highlights can be spotted already: the observation deck of Elevador de Santa Justa. A disciple of Gustave Eiffel built that lift connecting the lower Rossio area with the upper Chiado. In the evening hours the cafe on the observation deck offers live music, cold beer and a spectacular view on the city centre.
Eye-catchers are the countless cable cars, whose rails essentially characterize Old Town’s city scape. One of the most extensive tram rides is the travel with Electrico 28. It is actually a must to stroll through picturesque narrow lanes of Lisbon Old Town that way, not only for tram fans.
By glass and steel elements modern architecture is often representing pure functionality; often soul and character fall by the wayside. In Lisbon’s Park of Nations modern architecture approaches the visitor in a different manner. Solely the exposed concrete at Oriente train station tempers a bit architectural delights. Despite their modern appearance all other Expo-related buildings and pavilions are very well integrated into the city scape.
Lisbon’s most magnificent attraction is also located in the Expo area. According to WikiPedia Portugal’s capital has the second biggest aquarium (Oceanário) in the world. Well, can be a true statement as without a problem visitors can spend up to 4-5 hours strolling around, watching all the different basins and the exotic ocean sunfish phlegmatically doing his rounds in the main tank.
A bit outside and western of Lisbon’s city centre some other worldwide known sights can be found. At the mouth of Tejo River the Torre de Belem tower is monitoring all incoming and outgoing vessels. Unfortunately there is no riverside promenade connecting the tower with e.g. the Jerónimos Monastery or the Monument of Discoveries (Padrão dos Descobrimentos). The area around Belém Tower is the best when enjoying an oceanic sunset is on your mind; the tower is beautifully illuminated as soon as the sun disappears. Monastery and discoveries’ monument are “vegging out” as they are only staged by the cold neon light of the street lamps.
There are lots of delicacies the Portuguese capital has on offer, sweet ones as wells as oceanic titbits. A grilled sea bream or sea bass for example costs just about 7-8 Euro only. Unfortunately often canned vegetables are served as side dish; sophisticated people really have to search for a typical Lisbon restaurant serving fresh greens instead of jailed veggies. National dish is diversely prepared Bacalhau (dried cod), which can be purchased in many places southern of Bairro Alto.
Lisbon is a city of contrasts though. Only some meters next to shops selling suits made of finest Vitale Barberis Canonico fabric or wine for 620 Euro a bottle, you can spot social problems. Places of interest and lots of tourist also attract criminals. It’s actually no problem to buy even drugs on the street; dealers lingering around even ask everyone passing by… Also I watched the usual suspects trying to distract to nick someone’s wallet or to open bags etc. Watch out…
At this point I’d like to make you aware of the photos I took at Bergen’s aquarium.
Used Photo Equipment: Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 24-70 f2.8L, EF 50 f1.4 , EF 85 f1.8, EF 100-400 f4.5-5.6L and Sigma EX 12-24.