It’s been a bit of a short morning because we slept in later than we meant to. But it was fantastic – this hotel is so comfortable! – and we still did plenty of awesome things.
We took one of these old school wooden trams to a neighborhood called Alfama. This is actually the oldest neighborhood in Lisbon, as it was the only one to survive the devastating 1755 earthquake.
Like the Bairro Alto, Alfama is on a hill and has plenty of spectacular views like this one of the river!
You can just see, to the left of this picture, the São Jorge Castle here in Lisbon – we’re planning on visiting that one later on in the trip, maybe even tomorrow!
We began just wandering the neighborhood and came across this fascinating tree. Yes, all that at the bottom is part of the trunk! We’ve seen some rather bulbous trees in Portugal but nothing like this one before; according to the sign, it’s actually a native of South America, probably brought back from a former Portuguese colony. I love how it’s just planted on a random street corner for everyone to enjoy – and climb! – rather than being in a protected garden.
Heading down the hill now, we came across these towers just south of the Portas do Sol. This is the exact sort of thing you can only find in Alfama! They’re actually part of the old Moorish wall that stood here over a thousand years ago, though the rest of the wall was lost in the earthquake. You can tell just by looking at it how much older it is and that it was completed by a different culture!
By now it was time for some lunch, so we headed back up the hill to the shops and stopped in this church, called the Igreja do Menino de Jesus. Despite the fact it is a Sunday, they were open to visitors, so we decided to see what was there.
And we’re so glad we did! There were so many little chapels – at least 12, by our count – and the main hall, all full of artwork from the medieval period on. There was more pink marble, something we’ve seen quite a bit of in Portugal, and azulejos tiles. And the arches! They’re very common in European churches, but these were the tallest ones either of us have ever seen. We were so glad they let us in on such a busy day!