Iberian Adventure: Meandering Along the Decorative Cobble of Lisbon | ©thepalladiantraveler.comNothing says Bom dia (Good morning) better than Portugal’s revered pastry: pastel de nata, a custard tart.

I’ve plated several for breakfast — okay, three — in the dining room of Lisbon’s Dom Pedro Palace, the five-star hotel where I’m staying as a guest travel writer of Insight Vacations (Insight) on its abbreviated, seven-day Iberian Adventure through Portugal and Spain.

Hey, when in Lisboa do as the Lisboêtas do, especially when it’s on someone else’s dime, right?
Iberian Adventure: Meandering Along the Decorative Cobble of Lisbon | ©thepalladiantraveler.com
I’m off the clock until this evening and want to get the most out of the daylight before the rest of Insight’s latest “band of merry media,” 29 international journalists and photographers, form up for our launch party-dinner.

Whaddya say we hit the decorative cobble, remove the old lens cap and frame A Cidade das Sete Colinas (The City of Seven Hills) as fast as we can?

VAMOS!

Iberian Adventure: Meandering Along the Decorative Cobble of Lisbon | ©thepalladiantraveler.comLike some of the other great seven-hill cities of Europe — Athens, Budapest, Prague and Rome, to name a few — Lisbon is spread across seven REALLY steep hills that overlook the Rio Tejo (Tagus River).

The oldest city in Western Europe, predating even the Romans, Lisbon, with its patchwork of undulating neighborhoods, is best experienced on foot, or, when the legs give out, aboard one of the colorful, above-ground classic trams, or historic elevadores (funiculars), or via the four-line, underground metro system.

Iberian Adventure: Meandering Along the Decorative Cobble of Lisbon | ©thepalladiantraveler.comFor me, this walk is literally all downhill.

From the hotel, I take Rua Aguiar straight down to the Marquês de Pombal roundabout, veer to the right onto Avenida da Liberade and then start a lengthy zig-zag that takes me up through the Barrio Alto, then back down into the Chiado, Rossio and Baixa neighborhoods where I finish the out-route of this longa caminhada (long walk) at the Praça do Comércio fronting the banks of the Tagus.

The only problem that awaits me is the return route. It’s all uphill. TAXI!

Iberian Adventure: Meandering Along the Decorative Cobble of Lisbon | ©thepalladiantraveler.comNearly leveled by a devastating earthquake and its associated fires and catastrophic tsunami on the morning of November 1, 1775, which took the lives of an estimated 90,000 victims out of a total population of 250,000, Lisbon miraculously picked itself up off the rubble and immediately rebuilt wider, sturdier and more beautiful than ever.

One glance down at the pavement underfoot and you’ll understand why. It’s calçada portuguesa, the decorative mosaic stone pavement painstakingly laid down by hand that covers the walkways, alleyways and squares around the historic center of this recognized global city.

Iberian Adventure: Meandering Along the Decorative Cobble of Lisbon | ©thepalladiantraveler.comOn the surface, Lisbon appears somewhat gritty, rough around the edges with its fair share of colorful street art sprinkled here, there and everywhere. But, underneath all the wear and tear, the Queen of the Sea, sitting atop seven hills for all to admire, is quite an elegant, sophisticated metropolis.

Wide leafy avenues and sun-drenched squares frame this postcard-perfect city of reasonable prices and friendly, laid-back people. Lisbon is, without a doubt, one of Europe’s most atmospheric and lively locales and a must-see destination.

Iberian Adventure | ©thepalladiantraveler.com
For complete information on Insight’s premium and luxury-escorted itineraries, including the Iberian Adventure and 112 other journeys throughout Europe, just click HERE, or call toll free 1-888-680-1241, or contact your travel agent.

See you tomorrow morning when we climb aboard the Insight motor coach and cruise on over to Lisbon’s Belém neighborhood followed by Cascais and Sintra. Boa noite!

©The Palladian Traveler

Borsalino w/ props SMALL | ©Tom Palladio Images

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Written by The Palladian Traveler

Tom traded his hometown St. Louis Cardinals' baseball cap in the United States for a Borsalino and he now hangs his "capello" in the Puglia region of southeastern Italy. A veteran print and broadcast journalist, with well-worn passports that have got him into and out of 50 countries and counting, Tom fell in love with the "Bel Paese" years ago. As he notes, "I'm inspired by the beauty I find in all things that are very, very old, and reliving history, or at least meandering along cobblestone streets that were laid down over a thousand years ago and just looking up and marveling at what occupies the space still today, really gets my 'Vespa' running." Tom has a good eye behind the lens and is a graphic storyteller, but he'll let you decide as he keeps his camera batteries fully charged and the posts flowing from his creative hideaway in the hills overlooking Ostuni. You can also follow his dispatches along the cobblestone via TravelingBoy.com.

8 comments

  1. Unfortunately, I haven’t been to Lisbon since a quick visit in the mid-70’s while on our way to the coast. But I remember the wonderfully enormous hotel room that even we as students were able to afford, with balconies, bathroom, and maids turning down the bed at night, a true treat on our $10/day budget. What a beautiful city and those street tiles!!

    janet

    Like

  2. I visited Lisbon on crutches with a broken foot, and I vividly remember how difficult it was to maneuver the cobblestones. Thank goodness for the doubledecker buses, which allowed me to tour the city! Great images, Tom.

    Like

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