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Lisbon – Vasco de Gama Iz ’Ere

sunny 25 °C

In 1497 while Christobal Colon (Christopher Columbus to you) was still bragging that he had found India in the Caribbean Sea, Portuguese sailor, Vasco de Gama, took a southerly tack around Cape Horn and found India precisely where it still is today – in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Well done Vasco - Good navigation. But, while 93% of Americans wrongly venerate Columbus for discovering the United States, 97% of respondents believe that Vasco de Gama is the medical term for varicose veins.
Sometimes it just pays to get lost and be a loser.
So where is Vasco today?
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Here he lies in the Church of Santa Maria in the Belem district of Lisbon. This is his sarcophagus…
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Santa Maria is part of the expansive Monastery of Jeronimos and is the church where Portuguese sailors prayed before and after their voyages of discovery in the 15th century. The two-story cloisters are quite spectacular…
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We were as delighted with Lisbon as Columbus was when he bumped into Hispaniola and thought he’d hit India, because, on his previous visits in the 1960s, James had found the city about as appealing as bubonic plaque. But today the previously rat infested docks and dilapidated warehouses are fancy marinas; the quayside brothels and mariner’s bars upscale restaurants; and many of the smelly fishermen’s wharves have been turned into parks. This is the port’s 16th century Belem tower which is now surrounded by parkland…
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Not everything in Lisbon has been renovated and renewed. The ancient trams still rattle through the narrow streets of the old city, but only because the antique vehicles are packed with tourists…
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The locals prefer the swish, modern ones…
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Despite the present economic slump, and the inordinate number of panhandlers, Lisbon is looking up; way up. This is the refurbished Elevador do Carmo that has lifted Lisbonites and visitors to the upper city since 1902…
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Many of the buildings in the city centre have been spruced up and many of the streets have been turned into pedestrian shopping areas…
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This tiny shop has been in business since it was built in 1923 and is home to one of the most famous glovers in the world…
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The wide, tree-lined boulevards of Lisbon are pleasant to walk and the metro, though relatively small, is efficient and inexpensive. There are hotels and restaurants a plenty, and castles and sights to see. All in all – Lisbon has sloughed off its odious past and is now well worth a visit.

Posted by Hawkson 01:40 Archived in Portugal

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Comments

Love the elevator. Stuck in the middle of the street instead of hidden inside a building. Are you going to take in a bull fight? Humane and spectacular, I hear (cf Spain and Mexico).

by R and B

Looks like a fabulous city to explore. Glad it's been cleaned up. The ornate apartment block reminiscent of Barcelona.

Those who think Vasco de Gama is a disease probably think a sarcophagus is a tube connecting the throat and stomach! Love the colours in the gloves.

Motor on

Tom

by Tom

Nice to hear of the clean up as we visited before this work was undertaken. Hope the weather was good as this makes a difference to your experience

by David

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