Fourth Destination on My Dream Trip Around the World
10.05.2015 - 10.05.2015 21 °C
I have been in transit from San Juan to Lisbon for about 23 hours - almost an entire day. This includes the layovers I made in New York City (JFK International Airport) and Madrid (Barajas International Airport). Although I have arrived in Lisbon, I am so tired that I will probably just relax in my hotel room at the highly-rated SANA Lisboa Hotel. I plan to actually begin exploring this beautiful old world city tomorrow. With regards to the flight, I paid about $2300.00. The distance between San Juan and Lisbon is 5902.09 kilometres.
Today is the first day that I will be visiting different attractions and points of interest across Lisbon. I have just eaten breakfast at the hotel and I now find myself at one of the most popular attractions in Lisbon, the Belem Tower. I have just learned that it was built in the early 1500s to protect the Tagus river from potential invaders who could travel along it to gain access to Lisbon and other parts of Portugal. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The tower is four stories tall, is ringed with cannons and contains rooms which, during the time the tower was active as a military defense structure, served a variety of purposes. For instance, there is a room that once functioned as a chapel, and there are others which served as rooms for the king and governor. Overall, the tower has a very ornate architectural style typical of the 14th century and it is evident that those who built it paid a lot of attention to detail. The views of Lisbon and the mouth of the Tagus River from the top floor of the tower are picturesque and will undoubtedly leave me with memories that do justice to the beauty of this medieval tower.
Today is my third day in Lisbon, but only my second full day here in the Portuguese capital. After a restful night's sleep and a delicious breakfast in my hotel, I am know on my way to Estadio Jose Alvalade, home of Sporting Clube de Portugal, one of Portugal's "Big Three" soccer teams, alongside FC Porto and SL Benfica. I think my tour of the stadium will be the highlight of my visit to Lisbon, as Sporting is one of my favourite teams and I am really looking forward to stepping out onto the famous Jose Alvalade field.
My experience at the soccer stadium was amazing. The tour was organized and the guide was insightful, while the visit to the club museum and trophy room was a great feature. For only 10 euros, this experience was well worth the money. After leaving the stadium, I made my way to a restaurant named Taberna Sal Grosso for lunch, where I enjoyed a light lunch of soup and a desert of fresh fruit. Now, having just finished eating lunch, I find myself at the Jeronimos Monastery. During my tour of the site, I have learned that it was completed in 1502 and was built on the site where Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama and his crew spent their last night in their homeland before departing for India. Vasco de Gama himself, as well as other former Portuguese nobility are entombed at the monastery. Later on, the monastery eventually became populated by monks of the order of St. Jerome - the saint to which it lends its name. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a beautiful display of domed roofs, well-manicured gardens and elaborate sculptural details honouring Portugal's naval culture at the time it was constructed.
Overall, the monastery was an enjoyable experience and provided an interesting contrast to the Soccer stadium I visited earlier today. Now, I will head back to my hotel to have dinner and get some sleep before my last day in Lisbon tomorrow.
It is now my fourth day in Lisbon overall, but the third day of my sightseeing and exploration of the city. Today, I will be visiting Sintra, a suburb of Lisbon, famous for its charming castles and grandiose palaces. Before lunch, I plan to visit the Pena National Palace, a colourful structure situated amongst the trees of the Sintra National Forest. Following my visit to the palace and lunch at a local café, I will head westward to Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of mainland Europe, where I will have the opportunity to look out over the Atlantic Ocean. On my way back to my hotel in Lisbon, I will pay quick visits to Castelo dos Mouros and Sintra National Palace, two more medievel castles located in Sintra.
As the sun sets in over this magical old-world city, I reflect on the short but sweet three days I spent here. Tomorrow I will be off to Zurich, Switzerland, the next destination in my trip around the world.