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Up hill, down dale ...

The scene I describe surrounds us everywhere, and it is into this that we ventured today. Our first destination was to be the hill upon which is perched the Irmandade de Nossa Senhora do Monte e São Gens, which has spectacular city views, but we had interim stops to enjoy the views of the city and the river Tagus. The first was Miradouro de Santa Luzia, not far from where we are staying next to the Teatro Romana. This was my first exposure to the blue ceramic murals which adorn this city, which I've not seen elsewhere, at least to this extent. Then there's the tiny little alleyways between the larger streets. Sometimes these alleyways are made of narrow and uneven steps; sometimes they are steep little pathways which I imagine are killers in the rain. And in the words of Banjo Paterson who could "hear the fiendish rattle of the tramways and the ‘buses making hurry down the street", the tramcars indeed rattle and clang as they make their ways effortlessly up the steep hills and back down again. All this under the colourful vista of the blue-tiled buildings for which Lisbon is famous and yet which until now I'd not really appreciated.


The scene I describe surrounds us everywhere, and it is into this that we ventured today. Our first destination was to be the hill upon which is perched the Irmandade de Nossa Senhora do Monte e São Gens, which has spectacular city views, but we had interim stops to enjoy the views of the city and the river Tagus. The first was Miradouro de Santa Luzia, not far from where we are staying next to the Teatro Romana. This was my first exposure to the beautiful blue ceramic murals which adorn this city, often telling stories of mediaeval conquests.


The view from Miradouro de Santa Luzia was lovely (but unknown to us there was better to come):



We pressed on up the windy streets to the Miradouro Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen (simply known as Miradouro da Graça). On the outside the Graça is also a lovely view point to the city; it is also a functioning church and mass was being held, but the main attraction was in the adjoining buildings. There was a huge display of "tin soldiers", probably thousands of them in an environmentally controlled cabinet, showing a huge army of mediaeval priests and knights/combatants. The figurines are probably only 6 or 7 cms high. On the walls surrounding them is a massive mural history. One scene is below of Queen Ketevan of Georgia being martyred in September 1624 for refusing to convert to Islam (the story's a bit more complex than that but this is the essence). Warning: if you look closely the scene of her martyrdom below is rather grim.

Anyway, with this joyful picture behind us we kept heading uphill, this time to our planned destination the Irmandade de Nossa Senhora do Monte e São Gens. The views are expansive:



In this second shot the Castelo de São Jorge can be seen. After a coffee at a lovely little

praça nearby to the Graça (we were back on our way downhill by then), we wandered through the castle grounds.


No commentary, just some photos:




Janet and I had a race up these steps. Who won?


Then it was down down some more and into the commercial part of town. Janet had some (unsuccessful) shopping to do; the highlight for me was trying a Pastel de Bacalhau, a traditional Portuguese cod fish cake. I had one with melted cheese inside - I gather that's the most popular version.


By now it was afternoon tea time at a little place not far from the Praça do Comércio, just back a bit from the waterfront.


Did I mention that afternoon "tea" was a lovely bottle of Periquita Reserva Tinto accompanied by some tremoços (lupini beans)?


A couple more shots of the rest of the day/evening follow. After a bit of a delay at the airport Natalie eventually joined us at around midnight, so now we are a party of 4 for the next 5 weeks or so (and from Wednesday to be a party of 7, but more of that to come).


A streetcar named ...


I love these tiled buildings, day or night ...


Our dinner place, Beco a Sério. Selected by dining guru Janet. Tiny little place, very popular. Very nice.



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Peter Campbell is a traveller, photographer, author.  He lives in the south-west corner of Western Australia with his wife Janet and golden retriever Peggy alongside the Indian and Great Southern oceans, in a peaceful rural setting surrounded by tall trees and in the company of kangaroos and kookaburras.  He can be contacted at this email address.

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