lisbon: bairro alto to rossio to alfama

Monday, July 22:  This morning, I wake up with a full day in Lisbon ahead of me.  The hotel offers a lovely brunch, which I eat while working on my blog and checking emails.  Then I head down the streets of Bairro Alto until I come to the lovely fountain at Miradouro São Pedro de Alcântara.  This little park sits at the top of a hill offering beautiful views of Lisbon all the way to the Rio Tejo.  I pass the park any time I go out into Lisbon or return to my hotel.  So it becomes quite a familiar sight during my stay.

fountain at Miradouro São Pedro de Alcântara
fountain at Miradouro São Pedro de Alcântara

Every time I get to the steep street of Calcada da Gloria, on which the Elevador da Gloria runs, the Elevador seems to be taking a long leisurely snooze.  It’s just sitting there waiting, I guess, until enough passengers decide to board, at which time it makes its way down the hill to Praca dos Restauradores.  I’m never patient enough to wait for it and decide to simply walk down the hill myself.  I guess if it was the other way around, and I had to walk UP every time, I’d wait for the Elevador no matter how long it took.  On the wall bordering the street, I’m always startled by this crazy street painting.

Street art on the street of Elevador da Gloria
Street art on the street of Elevador da Gloria

Today I plan to take the green (Castle) line on the Lisbon Sightseeing Hop On Hop Off bus, heading for Alfama.

The National Theatre D. Maria II, or Teatro Nacional D. Maria II, is a historical theater; it is one of the most prestigious Portuguese venues and is in Rossio square, in the center of the city.

Teatro Nacional D. Maria II
Teatro Nacional D. Maria II

In Rossio Square sits one of the most noticeable tourist landmarks, The Hard Rock Cafe.

Hard Rock Cafe
Hard Rock Cafe

On the bus ride up to Alfama, I admire Lisbon’s laundry, hung out on balconies to dry.

Laundry on Lisbon balconies
Laundry on Lisbon balconies
more laundry
more laundry

I also pass this Porto Wine sign, which reminds me of Jo in Tavira, known by the alias of restless jo.

Porto Wine
Porto Wine

Finally the bus drops us at Miradouro of Santa Luzia, where there is a beautiful panoramic view of Lisbon at the top of Alfama.

Alfama is the oldest district of Lisbon, spreading on the slope between the Castle of Lisbon and the Rio Tejo.  Its name comes from the Arabic Al-hamma, meaning fountains or baths. It includes the freguesias (parishes) of São Miguel, Santo Estêvão, São Vicente de Fora and part of two streets of Freguesia da Sé: Rua do Barão and Rua São João da Praça. It contains many important historical attractions, with many Fado bars and restaurants.

Overlooking the Alfama is the mediaeval Castle of São Jorge, royal residence until the early 16th century and now offering the best views of the city. In the slopes of Alfama there are other terraces (miradouros) from which to see the city, like the Miradouro de Santa Luzia, near the church of the same name and over remnants of the Moorish city walls, and the Miradouro das Portas do Sol (Gates of the Sun) (Wikipedia: Alfama).

Portas Do Sol
Miradouro of Santa Luzia
Portas Do Sol
view of a cruise ship from Miradouro of Santa Luzia
Portas Do Sol
Miradouro of Santa Luzia panoramic view
Portas Do Sol
view from Miradouro of Santa Luzia
Portas Do Sol
Miradouro of Santa Luzia

When I finally tear myself away from the viewpoint, I start walking downhill without having any idea what I’m searching for.

streets of Alfama
streets of Alfama

At some point midway down the hill, I see a sign for Castle of São Jorge, and as I approach it, I find this warning about pickpockets.

Attention!  Pickpockets!
Attention! Pickpockets!
Alfama buildings
Alfama buildings
in Alfama
in Alfama
rooftops in Alfama
rooftops in Alfama
view of Lisbon from Portas Do Sol in Alfama
more views along the way
views near Castle of São Jorge
views near Castle of São Jorge

I then head into the Castle of São Jorge, where I see more amazing views of the red rooftops of Lisboa and the Tejo River.

 

18 thoughts on “lisbon: bairro alto to rossio to alfama

    1. Thanks so much, Ioanna. I sure miss seeing you. I don’t seem to have much time for blogging (or reading blogs) these days with my new job! I hope I’ll have more time at some point in the future. 🙂

  1. Beautiful photos Cathy (and so many of the same views and buildings that I took). I walked up to Alfama and a bit further up than you did, it is an interesting area though quite dilapidated in parts. The No 28 tram goes up that way I believe and the trams are notorious for pickpockets. I was quite saddened by all the random graffiti on those lovely old tiled facades though. Lisbon seemed to have a lot of graffiti and not all could be classed as street art.

    1. Yes, Jude, I did ride the 28 tram and walked more around Alfama, and will post something about the rest of my day there in a day or two. I know that Lisbon was notorious for pickpockets so I was always careful. And you’re right, there was a lot of messy graffiti that was definitely NOT street art. 🙂

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