From Prague To Atlantic Coasts XV.
14th Day (Sunday) - March through Lisbon
Impatient, in order to could better view Lisbon, as during previous night, we got up at half past eight (in fact, at half past seven of local time). We decided that we had our breakfast in the town. So, at very nice sunny morning, we got into a car and left for the town.
We had good luck, indeed. Thanks to the fact that it was Sunday, we were allowed to park in city centre free of charge, inside nice and quite Belem-quarter, where boastful villas, seat of numerous Embassies, could be found. We walked up a top of the hill, looking at the sea shore and the buildings, situated below us. On the top, the Igreja de Memoria Church could be admired, however, it was closed for the time being. We stayed there for a moment, in order take some photos, and continued our walk to St. Hieronymus Monastery, which could be arranged to most famous historical monuments.
On our way downstairs, we visited supermarket, and were captivated with the variety of foodstuffs which were available, but finally, we chose the yoghurts again. We managed to have a look at Belem. We noticed that, except luxurious villas, even some buildings in desolated state were to be found there.
When we came towards the monastery, we were surprised that infinite crowds of tourists, vehicles and buses were waiting for in front of the entry. To tell the truth, it was very difficult to take the photos without such crowds. Inside the church, the Holy Mass (Divine Service) was passing, so that the groups of two or five persons were allowed to enter. Anyway, the interior had an effect on us in monumental way, and was not really difficult to imagine which awe could evoke for believers. When we left the church, we had the intention to visit museum-part of such complex. However, in front of the entry, it was so long queue of persons, indicating no sign that it would move ahead. So, we continued our way, marching, along the coast in city centre. The streets were bordered with low houses. Some of them were renewed in the first quality level, on the other hand, another ones were in sorrowfull condition, but, despite this fact, all such scenery presented very attractive atmosphere.
However, the heat at noon started to be disproportionate, and it was right period to take shelter somewhere. So, small caffee-kiosk, close to the Alfonso de Albuquerque Park, became our refuge for couple of minutes. We let to be treated in American style, i.e. with hamburgers, pommes-frites, Coca-Cola and coffee (total cost EUR 4 per a person). Although we sat down in small garden under sunshade, we were forced to stand up and transfer into cool entrails of the coffee. Here, we had the possibility to study daily newspaper, being refreshed with cold air from ventilators.
After a while, we continued our walk via town quarters of Lupa, Estrela, Bai Alto up to Baixa and Alfama. As mentioned above, Lisbon is very resembled to Prague, from architectonical point of view. However, we vere very surprised with a fact that most of streets were dirty, and it was true that local people did not looked after the purity too much. So, we saw rubbish, empty bottles from alcohol drinks and even sleeping persons, lyeing on the streets, among clippings on the pavement.
Castle complex Castelo San Jorge was our second target, where typical Lisbon yellow trams were running. We decided not be be allured with comfortable drive and preferred to continue in our walking, in order to enjoy not only the lights but also drawbacks of the town. So, somebody offered us to buy a hashish in beautiful boulevard Rua Augusta, and we had the chance to follow some of street artists who created there their pictures. The hike to the castle was made via outer balley quarter, however, the houses there were, similarly as in another places of the town, in terrible state, especially, when comparing such state with Prague Castle outer balley.
Before we entered the castle, we had to pay the tickets (EUR 3,50 per a person). And all such sightseeing was worth to be done, as the outlook towards busy metropolis was really delightful. Anyway, the sunset came and we had to return to our car, not taking into consideration that we were terribly hungry. So, we came to small and empty Italian restaurant Max ordered pizza and Jakub pasta, both meals were tasty, and our refreshment was terminated wíth Italian coffee-espresso. So, we continued our way, with heavy and fully stomachs, to the place where our vehicles was parked, and enjoyed fully Lisbon night. We passed big monument - Belem Tower - dedicated to discoverer Vasco da Gama expedition. This monument called, thanks to good illumination, much more effective impression as during the day. We came to the fountain, situated close to Belem Cultural Centre, and the illuminated water-spouts created beautiful rainbow water dances. We walked below 25 de Abril Bridge, vaulting Tagus-river, pouring into Atlantic Ocean. Finally, we arrived to our camp after one a. m. and were pleased that we could, after whole day walk, to draw our strength through deep sleep.
Next chapter: Siesta in Portugal Aljezur
Text/photo: Maxim Kucer & Jakub Štantejský
Translation: ing. Jan Jonáš
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