Oct 14, 2016
We stayed at Belem, a riverside suburb, in the old Governor’s residence close to the famous tower built in the Middle Ages to defend Lisbon. Nearby great explorers are displayed on a unique memorial from Vasco da Gama onwards instrumental in founding a great empire. Upstream is a massive suspension bridge linking Lisbon across the river Tagus to southern Portugal looking remarkably like the Golden Gate Bridge.
We were warmly welcomed by the people we met. Trips on the local trains and iconic trams gave us an opportunity to admire the artwork on wall tiles and of course do justice to the grand architectural style.
The hilly old city is a maze of interesting streets connected by funiculars and the quaint old trams. The main station at Rossio looks like a gothic cathedral from the outside with no indication of its real status!
Of course Lisbon offers far more. Visit Elegant seaside resorts at Cascais and Estoril and the hill station at Sintra, where the moorish style Pena Palace is situated, summer residence of the former Royal family.
Evenings were spent checking out the many restaurants specialising in fish or you can join the queue at Pasteis Belem and enjoy custard tarts hot from the oven!
For me quirky and friendly sums up the Portuguese experience!
There is a regular nightly sleeper from London to Lisbon with de luxe cabin available to book contact [email protected] or phone 0207 619 1083, for enquiries 0901 235 0105 (62p per minute + network extras). We stayed at the 5* Governor’s Residence in Belem with outdoor pool and gourmet restaurant, all the staff very welcoming, convenient for access by tram to Lisbon city which stops outside.