Monday, 25 January 2016

Lisbon: The City That Stole My Heart #ileftmyheartin

During my late twenties and thirties I visited some of the most iconic cities in the world. Sydney, New York, Singapore, Barcelona, Florence and Rome as well as all of our UK capital cities. I have wonderful memories of them all, albums full of photographs, and keepsake boxes full of souvenirs, plane tickets and other paraphernalia.

Each city was as enticing, as exciting and as memorable as the next, and I would return to every single one, but it was the city of Lisbon that stole my heart when I visited in October.

What Lizzy Loves, steps in Baixa, Lisbon
Beautiful stone steps in Baixa, Lisbon

It was my first holiday with Adam and we stayed in a small, independent hotel in Areerio, a ten minute taxi ride from Lisbon airport.

Baixa, the heart of the city is known also as downtown Lisbon and this was just a few Metro stops away from our hotel .

Rua Augusta is Lisbon's main pedestrian street which, in common with much of the rest of the city, has the most beautiful mosaic pavements.
The triumphal arch is the unmissable landmark at the end of Rua Augusta which leads through to Comercio Square and the River Tagus and was stunning rain and shine, night and day.

It reminded me of London's Covent Garden and Barcelona's Las Ramblas. It is lively and cosmopolitan with numerous outdoor cafes, a wide variety of shops and the occasional street performer.

Rua Augusta, Lisbon

Rua Augusta at night, Lisbon

Triumphal Arch, Lisbon

We went up to the top of the arch, via an elevator followed by two very narrow stone spiral staircases, on what was rather a grey day.

It afforded the most stunning views in every direction. The bird's eye view of the mosaic pavements and the hustle bustle of Rua Augusta to the north was spectacular.

Rua Augusta, Lisbon Birds Eye View

As was the view to the south of Comercio Square and the River Tagus.

Praco de Comercial, Lisbon

The bell at the top of the Triumphal Arch, Lisbon

The top of the Triumphal Arch, Lisbon

The top of the Triumphal Arch, Lisbon

Back on Rua Augusta, we discovered a wonderful street cafe, Sao Nicolau. We breakfasted, lunched and dined there several times and enjoyed Vinho Verde and bread during one of our pit stops. The staff were excellent- attentive yet unobtrusive and the food was simple, unpretentious, very fresh and delicious. We relished their simple dish of prawns in garlic butter.

What Lizzy Loves

What Lizzy Loves
Breakfast at Sao Nicolau

Lisbon is served by trams both as a means of public transport and as a tour vehicle.

Lisbon Coca Cola tram

We went on a Hills Tour around the city's narrow streets. There was commentary in several languages and it was fascinating to find out more about the history and to see what Lisbon looked like beyond Baixa.

This tour started and ended at Praca do Comercio.

Lisbon

Lisbon tram

The views afforded through the tram window were wonderful and quite unusual.

Lisbon tram

Lisbon yellow tram

Praco Dom Pedro IV, (also known as Rossio Square), is the main central square in Baixa.
At the north side of the square is the Teatro Nacional. The mosaic pavement is a sight to behold. Rossio train station is very close by.

Teatro, Lisbon

Fountain in Rosso square, Lisbon

What Lizzy Loves, Rossio square, Lisbon

It was from Rossio station that we travelled to Sintra, a journey that took 45 minutes.
Sintra is a picturesque town set amidst the pine covered hills of the Serra de Sintra, west of Lisbon. Home to a lot of monuments and historic buildings, because the slightly cooler climate attracted Portugal's elite and noble, who constructed palaces, extravagant residences and highly decorative gardens.

There are several hop-on, hop-off bus services which afford a circular route around the town with the option to visit other landmarks and attractions. We took one from the cente of Sintra, up through the narrow winding streets to perhaps the most recognisable landmark, The Palacio Nacional de Pena (Feather Palace). The flamboyant complex was commissioned by King Ferdinand II.

Sintra

Each section of the exterior is individually styled with vivid colours, fine carvings and beautiful tiles and mosaics.

Sintra

Sintra

Access to the palace is unlimited and in parts it is quite precarious. Health and safety there is, (rather refreshingly), not an issue and the narrow walls, arches and turrets made for great viewing places.


Sintra

So, why did I fall in Love with Lisbon?

I loved its unexpected quaintness. The architecture is beautiful with no skyscrapers or overtly modern constructions. Many buildings are exquisitely tiled or are painted in mouthwatering sorbet shades.

Lisbon

Tiled houses in Lisbon

Lisbon

It's chic but shabby chic, and elegant, but casually so and the mosaic pavements are works of art.


The local people are warm and welcoming and they offered the friendliest of service.

It is beautiful and unspoiled. Modest and unassuming, much like the man with whom I shared this wonderful trip. Our stay was relaxing yet invigorating and from it we have taken the fondest memories.

I left my heart in Lisbon.

And one day, I'll go back.

Love Liz x

This blog post was written for the #ileftmyheartin campaign hosted by Get Your Guide.



SHARE:

8 comments

  1. I love Lisbon too. We went for 4 days at the beginning of December and had such a wonderful time there. We went to the Torres de Belem, the Castelo de San Jorge and a surprisingly interesting place to visit was the Bank of Portugal! There is so much to see and we felt we had barely scratched the surface by the time we left. Hopefully it won't be too long before we go back again, and Sintra will definitely be on the list of places to visit!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I remember you said you were going Bee. I didn't go to any of the places you did, so I think we need another trip to do what you did! Sintra is definitely worth a visit. Such a wonderful city xxx

      Delete
  2. What a fabulous review! You've now made me want to go there ... as soon as possible! x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Helen. I'd really recommend it to anyone.It is an amazing city xxx

      Delete
  3. A beautiful dress, and a wonderful city.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much Josep-Maria. Yes, a stunning city xxx

      Delete
  4. I'm fortunate enough to live in Lisbon and yet sometimes it takes the eyes of visitors to make me fall in love with my city all over again.
    Thank you so much for this beautiful text!
    Maria

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Maria, thank you for your lovely comment. It is such a beautiful city and we hope to return one day soon xxx

      Delete

I love receiving your comments. Thank you for taking the time, Liz xxx

© What Lizzy Loves. All rights reserved.
Blogger templates by pipdig