With a move to Switzerland at the end of the month, we decided to squeeze in a few more trips from Spain. This previous weekend we went to Lisbon, Portugal.
We arrived pretty early in the day so Jenn found us some storage lockers to put our luggage in so we could join a walking tour. We brought walnut with us and he loved walking through a new town. The tour gave a glimpse into Portugal’s past. Portugal was the world’s first global power. They learned and put to good use navigation and other seafaring techniques to find trading routes around the world.
In the 1700’s there was a massive earthquake that nearly flattened Lisbon. It was on all saints day, and most people were in church- old, high ceilinged buildings made of stone. Further, because of the holiday, many had candles burning at home. Lisbon was ablaze, and the survivors gathered in the main square which is near the taiga river. The tidal wave that followed the quake wiped out many of the would be survivors.
Lisbon was rebuilt nearly from scratch afterwards. Many of the buildings we currently see in Lisbon are from that era, having been built to new, higher standards. Some buildings remained from the earthquake as monuments to those who were lost.
We joined a knights of the Templar tour that took us to several sites important to that order. We started at Castelo de Almoural. It was a defensive position on an island in the middle of a river. The water level was much higher when this castle was in use, but even today it required a boat for access.
In Tomar, we visited the Convent of Christ. Founded by the Templar Knights, it was huge! It was added to and and decorated many times over the years. Much of the ornamentation is very nautical, in the Manueline style.
On our last day in Portugal, we took a train to Sintra. At the station, we hired a private car/guide and went to a few incredible sites. Montserrat, the National Palace in Sintra, and Quinta da Regaleira. Carvalo Monteiro built an incredible estate here at Quinta da Regaleira, truly amazing.
Lisbon was fantastic and I can’t wait to go back.