Walking through Chiado, Estrada, and Belem

A view of the Tejo from Chiado

Today we took the Metro to Baixa and headed west on foot. Since there are a couple of major hills, I attempted, and for the most part succeeded, to find the flattest route possible. That involved walking inland, above a gorge which has stairways going down on both sides yet below the real hill of Bario Alto. As a result we didn't have any serious climbing until we got to Estrela and we walked some interesting back streets. My wife kept asking "are you sure we should go this way?" and I kept answer "No, but I think it will get us there." Surprisingly, it did.

A narrow street in Chiado

We knew - OK, after the fact - that we had arrive in Estrela when we reached the Palacio ds Assemblia de Reoublica, a very impressive building guarded be serious looking soldiers. We knew because the street I was looking for, Calcada de Estrela, runs beside this parliment building. At the top of that street is the Basilica de Estrela, and across the road from Basilica is the Jardim Botanico, a lovely park.

The Palacio ds Assemblia de Republica

The Basilica

I went into the Basilica for a few minutes. They had just started celebrating Mass, so I listened for while to the familiar - I used to teach at a Catholic college - words in an unfamiliar language. Then we walked into the park for a hour or so of walking, people watching and eating. It is a very nice park and, on Sunday afternoon, there were lots of people enjoying it. I am most impressed with Lisbon's parks and with the culture that supports them.

A "jailbird" cow near the entrance to the park
There are now about two hundred decorated cows scattered all over Lisbon.

A path by banyon trees on the way to the "mountain' in the park

A pavilion near the back side of this, hilltop, park
Note the flowers, the bench, and the water fountain

Twin little girls playing with a soccer ball while their dad watches

We ate at the fast food place in the park. I had a hamburger and fries. Hamburgers are always 'interesting' in local restaurants in Europe. This one was pretty good, but it did have a piece of ham in there with the burger ;-}!

Leaving the Park, we walked down - a long way with a lot of down - and caught a tram to Belme near the river front. We got off in Belem proper - we could have continued riding for several more stops and then walked back - and walked over the the Vasco de Gama monument. He left from here in 1497 on the trip that found the route to India. That route made Portugal wealthy and powerful.

A statue of Vasco de Gamma - I think - in Belem

We crossed over the pedestrian bridge that goes to the ferry terminal and the Belem railroad stop and walked up to the monument to Henry the Navigator where we crossed back under the roads and railroad tracks to get to the stuff - Museum, Monastery, and Cultural center - on that side. It was a zoo over there with tourists from tour buses so, after stopping for espresso and pastry, we walked on down to the Belem Tower which was built to guard the river mouth from Moors after the Christians took it from them in the 1200s.

And here is Henry the Navigator, with some helpers, along with fishing poles and sailboats

Museu Nacional de Arqueologia and Mosterio dos Jeronimos

The busy streets and railroad tracks between Belem and the waterfront
Looking back from the Belem Tower pedestrian overpass

Torre de Belem

Finally we walked back towards the ferry termial and railroad stop. I sprained my ankle early on on that part of our walk, so you might better say I limped back that kilometer or so - and caught the train back to the ferry terminal in Lisbon where the train, ferry, and the Metro line that goes to our hotel all end. It had started to sprinkle a bit by the time we got on the train. That was the first rain we've seen on this trip. The Metro, train, and Tram segments of this trip all cost about 1 Euro per person and, if we had wanted to, we could have eliminated 90% of the walking we did today, for no extra cost, by using the Metro, tram, and train differently. Even with my sprained ankle. I'm glad we didn't do that because walking in Lisbon has given us a lot better feel for the various parts of this lovely city.