Hi, just got confirmation that I'm to go for the last week in May to Lisbon. All strictly work related, of course and for the promotion of science . Just wondering if there is anything you could recommend to a fellow water crazy person to distract myself from a busyish conference schedule ?
That rectangular streets that start in a Plaza (Rossio) and end up on the big one near the river (Praça do Comercio) a is called the Baixa. All that is interesting on a XVIII cebtury setting.
On the right side you have the oldest part of the city, with the old medieval castle and the Arab town (Alfama). You can see the Sé de Lisboa, a XIII century Cathedral, went up to see the views from the Castelo (medieval fortress) and walk on the old twisting old streets of Alfama. Come back at night to drink wine or diner and listen to the Fado (live), the traditional song of Lisbon (kind of a Portuguese blue).
You can go there also to listen Fado at night. More animated than Alfama (night life). Ask for the Cervejaria (brewery) Trindade (near the elevator) and enjoy a unique ambiance. Ask for bife (steak) a Trindade.
The other thing not to miss is Belem, that today is part of Lisbon but on old days was some Kms off downriver. It is the place from were the old sailboats sailed to exploratory voyages.
On the left, by the river you have one of the wonders of the world, the Torre de Belem (XVI century). The funny thing is that it is a fortress. The river used to come more inside and it was more in the water. It is built like a Stone ship, full of cannons and you have to see it to understand why it is so beautiful.
On the upper right you see what looks like a football field surrounded by walls. That is a huge Cloister. That was a monastery (Mosteiro dos Jeronimos) with a big cathedral. That was built to commemorate the discovery of the maritime way to India in the XV century. It is also a jewel.
If you like to eat some traditional food: Bacalhau con todos, Cozido à Portuguesa, Ameijoas á Bolhão Pato, Dobrada, Carne de Porco à Alentejana, queijo da serra... there are hundreds of delicious things to try, all very different:
Fantastic collection of old swords and weapons among them some that are truly iconic to all Portuguese, mainly the one from D. Nuno Alvares Pereira (sex XIV) a national hero and a great warrior, the winner of Aljubarrota a battle that assured Portuguese independence from Spain (castilha):
"The Battle of Aljubarrota was a battle fought between the Kingdom of Portugal and the Crown of Castile on 14 August 1385. Forces commanded by King John I of Portugal and his general Nuno Álvares Pereira, with the support of English allies, opposed the army of King John I of Castile with its Aragonese, Italian and French allies at São Jorge place, between the towns of Leiria and Alcobaça, in central Portugal. The result was a decisive victory for the Portuguese, ruling out Castilian ambitions to the Portuguese throne, ending the 1383-1385 Crisis and assuring John as King of Portugal......"
Nuno Alvares with an Army of of 6500 soldiers among them 100 English bowmen defeated the "Spanish" Army reinforced with 2000 French heavy Cavalry numbering 31000 soldiers.
Some month later, in Spain he managed to defeat another Spanish Army, on the battle of Valverde with even more unbalanced odds: 3000 Portuguese Against 20000 Spanish. After that Spain (Castilha) give up its pretensions to the Portuguese throne.
Thanks again for these posts. I have the feeling that this will not be the last time I will be visiting Lisbon . Room is booked - actually a cabin on a schooner that serves as B+B. Now to sort out my flight ...