Breakfast at 0730 hrs was much earlier than we’ve become accustomed and were away to Lisbon by 0815 hrs to undertake the Hop On/ Off tour of the city. We had planned to drive the 90kms to Lumiar on the outskirts of the city to be assured of parking and then to take the Metro to Marquês de Pompal the number one stop for both routes. All worked to plan and we were on our bus for a 1010 hrs departure: we were waiting from 0945hrs. The red tour took in the West of the city and included the area and the major port attractions at Belém. We decided not to complete the route, as we normally do before exploring further, but got off at Belém to walk the area. The major attractions of Belém Tower and the Monument to the Discoveries were impressive however I was taken by the monument and enclosed tomb to Portuguese soldiers killed overseas. I was aware that Portugal achieved neutrality from involvement in WW2 because of their losses in WW1 but was not expecting to see the hundreds killed year after year in the mid 1970’s. While there is a museum alongside the monument I did not enter as it appeared as a display of military weapons and signage was in Portuguese, however, I did ask a nearby attendant who at best explained that these thousands had been killed fighting Portugal’s colonial wars in Africa. I was totally unaware of such a price they had paid in such recent times; I will enlighten myself further.
We took a break at the Nosolo Italian Restaurant where we had wines and a large chocolate Glacé. The lunch crowd were just starting to appear as we headed off and across the road through the imperial square to view the buildings of the Naval Museum, the National Archaeology museum and the church of Jerónimos; all impressive historical buildings with unfortunately long queues.
We boarded the bus again to complete the red route. This included the Dom Jose 1 and Dom Pedro 4 squares and up the Avenida da Liberdade back to the Marquês de Pombal. The route covered a lot of the old areas of the city which need quite a lot of TLC.
We next did the Blue Route which was the longer of the two routes and covered the east of the city. The trip was quicker and covered some of the older city but concentrated more on the newest area constructed for the Portugal Expo in 1998 . The development is very modern and has completely transformed the area. Many of the prominent art pieces are very significant and impressive; unfortunately city grime is winning the maintenance battle.
We completed both routes by 1530 hrs, not knowing beforehand that City Sightseeing Tours has a third, green route that concentrates on the city centre. We will walk this on Tuesday, our last day in Lisbon; the poor audio system for the company’s buses the principal reason.
Our return to the Resort was broken by a quick trip to a local grocery for wine and water at Lumiar and a fuel stop on the highway. We were back in our room by 1715hrs.
Dinner at 1900hrs was a burger/open sandwich in the Cantato ( Great Room ). Bed followed very soon after.