Lisbon Day 2, Part One: I wasn’t in Lisbon long enough to be able to say with any authority what my favorite neighborhood is, but based on the few days that I spent there, I will say that the Alfama is a strong contender. The Alfama is the oldest surviving part of the city (the rest was destroyed in an earthquake in 1755 and rebuilt afterward) and is located on one of the “seven hills of Lisbon,” just to the east of the Praça do Comércio (see yesterday’s post). In the past it was largely a village of fisherman and the poor, but today it is also known as the place to go to hear Portuguese Fado music. You can also ride the Tram 28 up its steep and narrow streets to the Castelo de São Jorge, a historic castle rebuilt by the Moors (after the Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, and Visigoths) in the 10th century. The best way to experience the Alfama though is to simply wander the smaller streets and admire the beautiful azulejos (tiles), colorful flowers, and breathtaking vistas.
Photos from top to bottom: waiting for Tram 28 near the Praça do Comércio (tip: don’t attempt to ride the tram in the middle of the day like we did at first - we were packed in like sardines and it wasn’t very pleasant, especially for the poor locals that use it for their daily transportation - instead take it in the early morning or evening); two stunning views of the Alfama and Rio Tejo from the Miradouro das Portas do Sol; a peacock near the entrance to the Castelo de São Jorge, colorful decorations leftover from the Festas de Lisboa, which takes place every year in late spring/early summer; and finally the view from the Jardim Júlio de Castilho, which is filled with beautiful azulejos.