We visited Portugal in the summer of 2019. It was the beginning of our four week Europe trip which would span from Lisbon to Rome, and even to Kiev, Tallinn, and Copenhagen. We had a day’s layover in Portugal, so we decided to maximize our time. We took the metro from the airport to central Lisbon. From there, we walked around, towards the Lisbon city gate. The city of Lisbon is very beautiful, with old buildings that look like they came from the 1700s. They probably did, considering most of the buildings were rebuilt after the 1755 earthquake. After a short walk, we arrived at the Lisbon Gate.
The Lisbon Gate is a very beautiful attraction. Unfortunately, when we arrived, there was construction, which made the area much more noisy, but it still had the same regal feel of the Arc De Triomphe. It was pretty cool from the street leading to the square, but the view from the square was even better. The building on the back was a vivid yellow, which contrasted well with the marble arch. We were in the commerce square, but the only commerce that was happening was between tourists and tour guides. We decided to get on a tuk-tuk, which is an auto-rickshaw. That way, someone could be a guide and tell us what we were actually seeing.
The first thing we did was drive to a hill, so that we got a good view of the red roofs of Lisbon. The view was as advertised.
“Wow,” I remarked. We could see the Tagus River from the balcony high on the hill, but the real sight was all of those roofs and the perfect view of Lisbon. Afterwards, we went back down. Our tour guide was a very interesting person. One example:
“Here you can see the colorful red, blue and yellow houses. The red symbolized a wealthy household, the blue a middle class household, and yellow, a poor household (those weren’t the actual colors she said in the tour)”
I’ve always wanted to know the (questionable) symbolism of house colors. Definitely. But our tour guide also talked about the impacts of the 1755 earthquake and tsunami, which killed 60,000 in Lisbon.
Afterwards, we went to the Lisbon Cathedral, which is one of the oldest churches on earth (and in Lisbon). It looks more like a fort, and less like a church. I could imagine it being a sort of castle. That day, it was more crowded than usual because it was St. Antonio’s Day, which celebrates a very generous saint. The interior of the church was rather lavish too.
When we were done with the tuk-tuk ride, we decided to eat some Portuguese food. I don’t remember how it tasted. Then we walked the narrow interior streets of Lisbon, which was a much more pleasant experience. We got to take pictures, and much of the street had shade. Those streets also showcased the same Iberian architecture that was found through the ride.
Finally, we returned to the airport. We were going to Rome.
- Get a good view of Lisbon, as the red rooftops are simply stunning.