Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Lisbon with Insight Vacations.Part 1





Our coach driver during our stay...
Helder.
Always keen to help, and I don't think I ever saw him without a smile.
How he navigated our coach through the narrow Lisbon never ceased to amaze me.

And speaking of "our" coach...
Having just flown business class from Johannesburg,
I was more than pleasantly surprised to discover business class legroom on board

The coach was clean, comfortable and had on-board Wi-Fi,
a huge plus for our group who were able to share thoughts
and images on a variety of social media platforms.
What did we do before this "instant gratification" was available to modern travelers?
I certainly remember having to return from a trip
 and wait a week to have pictures developed and printed!

Toni, our concierge and tour director.
A man who is passionate about his country and interacting with people.

What can I say about our Lisbon expert, Laura...
She was fun, entertaining, knowledgeable and passionate.
And according to her, we knew more than we thought we did about the history of Lisbon.
What a pleasure to have her on board for the day.
Our group had so much to see and do in a very short time,
but she enabled us to get the most out of our allocated time.

Lisbon is a juxtaposition of new...

And old.

There are many open spaces...

Most of which have at least one statue and possibly a fountain as well.
The pavement must have driven the stone masons mad to design and install.
NOT something they would want to do after a late night.
We were informed that some squares are, in fact, round.
It was also brought to our attention that some streets are ACTUALLY avenues
All very confusing for a tourist...

Not "graffiti" but Urban Street Art.
And there is a plethora of it in and around the city

This rather spectacular fountain was mesmerizing...

Across the road from the fountain was this statue to Vasco da Gama,
and the sailors that set out from Lisbon to discover the world

Part of Jeronimos Monastary, just off the banks of the Tagus River

Unlike Greece, where white seems to be the dominant colour,
here in Portugal a variety of colours are used for decoration.
Most of them very bright...

And if not painted, then tiles in different patterns,
or solid colours are utilized.
Personally, I don't think that this pigeon cared either way!

While in Lisbon, a trip to Pasteis de Belem  is a must.
There are several women who spend their days making these DELICIOUS pastries.
These egg tarts, "Pasteis de Nata" are a specialty of Portugal, and are "to-die-for"

And it would have been rude NOT to sample the fruits of their labour.
I have had these at home in Johannesburg and in Mozambique,
but NEVER as fresh or as tasty as these.
The original recipe is still used and has been passed from generation to generation.
This secret recipe is currently only known by 8 men.
We were told that it is not written down, but has been delivered by word of mouth only.

Trams are still utilized in the city

Does this bridge look familiar?
It should, it was designed by the same group that designed the Golden Gate Bridge

We ended our very busy day at  Vale do Rio.
A feast of sea food, prepared beautifully
and served with panache...
The restaurant was a ferry ride away from our hotel,
but you can get there by taxi or bus.








My travelling companions.
Justin, the Gnome, Kwand-hare
and the "travelling heart" from my daughter...


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