Fri 6 Nov - Faro to Lisbon
Time for the big smoke. The last stop on my European journey before I go home.
So just before 8am, i was at Faro train station for the app 3 1/2 hour train ride to Lisbon (or Lisboa as the Portuguese say).
Fast forward after an uneventful train journey to the Saldanha metro station in Lisbon.
I stayed at this place Hotel Nacional and although it is rated 3 stars and looks OK from the street at night, it can definitely be described as faded glory. Nothing flash inside of there.
I just had to include this picture of the bathroom design... Or lack thereof...
After check in and a trip to the local mini mercado, I set out for a wander and a bit to eat. I found it at this place along the busy Av. da Liberdade. No worries, there were lots of eating places mixed with the traffic, but also trees aplenty.
I was loosely walking towards Praça Luis de Camões which is from where the Chillout Free Walking Tour starts. I was planning to walk that on Saturday.
On that square, haircuts and shaves were happening. I couldn't figure out for what but...
Noun pointed out this particular church, Igreja de São Roque, and asked us to quickly check out the inside. Why? Because the church was very elaborate inside and had more gold than any other church I have ever been to.
Down at Praça do Comércio, in the Baixa district of Lisbon, the sun started to set. This is the big square by the river Tagus where the Royal palace stood until that devastating earthquake in 1755.
The king, instead of overseeing the rebuild of Lisbon, moved to Rio de Janeiro and "governed" Portugal from there. That didn't go well with the Portuguese people so so bye bye monarchy.
They raised this statue later to mock that king. It is apparently filled with symbolism. No crown but something waverly ridiculous. The king looks out away from the city and towards Brazil. Even the horse is afraid.
There are snakes at the foot of the rest of the statue. Apparently that is to detract birds, in particular pigeons. And according to our guide, it works.
This interesting looking building is called Casa dos Bicos and is now a museum dedicated to Portugal's only Nobel price winner (literature), Jose Saramago's life.
"The Alfama (Portuguese pronunciation: [aɫˈfɐmɐ]) is the oldest district of Lisbon, spreading on the slope between the São Jorge Castle and the Tejo river. Its name comes from the Arabic Al-hamma, meaning "hot fountains" or "baths" (the name "Alfama" could also be derived from the Arabic word Alfamm, meaning the "mouth" in Arabic. It is pronounced variously depending on the location of the word in a sentence). The district includes the freguesias (parishes) of São Miguel, Santo Estêvão, São Vicente de Fora and part of the two streets, "Freguesia da Sé: Rua do Barão" and "Rua São João da Praça". It contains many important historical attractions, as well as an abundance of Fado bars and restaurants."
Case in point. This little square had hot baths in its days (a fountain is still running water), was built by the Moors. It is now called Rua da Judaria since after the Moors were thrown out, this was a Jewish neighborhood.
Needless to say, the old men moved elsewhere because who wants to hang around at such a place. The council subsequently took away the tables and benches but the name stood.
Great story and ending to an excellent tour. I need to return and check out many of the places that we passed.
I wandered home after the tour, taking a few night pics along the way as the night life began.