Anyone who has visited Lisbon, or as the Portuguese say, Lisboa would likely recognize this photo as typical Portuguese. Trolley-car wires, stately bright yellow buildings with elaborate architectural designs and narrow balconies. Yellow is often the color of choice for the Portuguese.
More yellow buildings and the yellow trolleys of Lisboa. The trolleys in Lisboa are still heavily used by the locals, not just a tourist attraction. Similar to the steep hills of San Francisco, the trolley is well suited for the terrain. Notice the sidewalks are quite narrow and are never made of poured concrete but 2 inch cubes of white rocks and often contain designs formed with black rocks. The streets are made of the same rock material, but larger cubes and always black. So you do not use jack hammers to tear up the streets or sidewalks. When construction is underway, rocks are saved and replaced when the project is completed.
Typical Lisbon Neighborhood and Party Line
These are two separate photos showing three people on their balconies having quite the conversations among themselves. The sun starts to go down, it cools off and the people come out on their balconies and chat with neighbors in adjacent buildings. They were laughing, jokingly, shaking their fists and seemed to be teasing each other. Their voices were very loud, echoing off the walls in the narrow one lane streets. These pictures show typical characteristics of any old Lisbon neighborhood: Laundry hanging out to dry, bright yellow buildings, blue tile facades, pipes and wires strung on the outside of the old structures and red tiled roofs and of course the Portuguese flag.
Tiled buildings are common with colorful tiles, generally blue with intricate designs. There may not be a single home or building in the older sections of Portugal without a red tile roof.
Alfama, Lisbon’s Oldest Neighborhood
Since visiting Lisbon and this particular overlook, I have spotted this very scene in a couple of advertisements. I find it to be fun to be able to identify advertising backgrounds now and say to myself, “Self, I know exactly where that is.”
During the Moorish rule and domination, this was the entire city, built next to the shipping port. Tourists from land and sea now swarm this area, searching for restaurants and shopping. A strong smell of grilling fish is often eminates from the many restaurants preparing the seasonal sardines.
Plentiful Monuments and Fountains
Monuments and large fountains seem to be everywhere, all commemorating some important historical event. This scene is very topical Portuguese, with the two tone rock pavers, large ornate fountain and some monument in the center of the square.
Photography Note: A long camera shutter speed of 30-60 seconds and obviously a tripod helps blur the many tourists in the photo frame making the crowded park seem empty. I do not care if people walk in and out of the frame, it is the people who stand still that will ruin such a photo. Selfie takers are a killer. The photo of Rossio Square near the train station is also taken at blue hour, which is about 45 minutes after sun set. The long exposure smooths the ripples in the pool and make the sprays of water more vivid and blurred.
There has got to be a couple of giant holes somewhere in Portugal. One from digging the red tile for the roofs and another for the many tons of black and white rocks used for all sidewalks. Where the sidewalks are old and worn from generations of use, they are smooth, so a sunrise reflection can give them a warm glow.
On the topic of sidewalks, I just have to say it, I give the Portuguese and the Spanish an “F” for picking up after their dogs. Everywhere you go you have to be on the look out for dog poop. Unlike the well behaved dogs of England, these dogs are more like those in the US, barking and not minding their owners.
The 25th of April Bridge
This sunset view is from the Alto Barrio neighborhood of Lisbon where we rented out apartment for two weeks. In the distance you can see a bridge spanning the Tagus River. This Lisbon bridge, now named the 25th of April Bridge, was inspired by San Francisco’s Golden Gate and is painted the same color. In the distance you also see a brightly illuminated statue, which is Christ the King or Cristo Rey statue and monument.
So when was the April 25 Bridge inaugurated? August 6, 1966.
So when did construction begin on the April 25 Bridge? November 5, 1962.
So why is it called the 25 de Abril Bridge?
On April 25, 1974, Lisbon had what is now referred to as the coolest revolution ever, the one day Carnation Revolution. This was a military coup and popular uprising toppling the dictatorship which had prevailed for almost 50 years. Flower vendors handed out carnations to the soldiers and protesters, who stuck them into soldiers gun barrels. There were two critical musical signals used in this left-wing military coup. First the radio airing of some Portuguese equivalent of a Portuguese ‘American Idol’ song alerted the rebel captains and soldiers to begin the coup. Next, the national radio broadcast a song by a banned folk singer. This was the signal for additional and continued military action. Eventually in what was described as a ‘near bloodless coup’ crowds tore down the original brass name plate on the bridge, Pointe Salazar, and it was renamed the 25th of April Bridge.
Cristo Rey, Christ the King Monument
This monument was inspired by the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro and is near the 25th of April Bridge which was inspired by the Golden Gate Bridge. The above photo of the bridge and Tagus River was taken from the top of the Cristo Rey monument. To beat the crowds I took a morning €20, 15 minute taxi ride. The driver spoke minimal English but was listening to the Doors, typical American rock & roll on the radio. Cab drivers just do not seem to get it. If I do not speak Portuguese, repeating the question louder and louder is not going to help…. Numerous times, the ‘Translate’ program on my iPhone came in very handy and basic conversations could be had. The cab driver laughed as he pulled away and indicating through gesturing he did not know how I would ever get back. My return to our rental via a train and some walking cost only €2, but took well over 2 hours, all mapped out flawlessly on the iPhone.
Official Drink of Lisbon, the Ginjinha
While some countries have a national drink, Lisbon has their own official city drink, the ginjinha. This is a sweet cherry concoction served in a shot glass. When ordering the bartender needs to know if you want it with or without cherries. The most famous bar serving this only has room for two people at a time, so large crowds stand outside on the sticky rock pavers drinking their shots. Not knowing I had stumbled upon the most famous bar in Lisbon, I failed to snap a photo of it. But these ladies were certainly enjoying the experience and their drinks….
or was it was meeting me which made them so chipper?