Lisboa sits at the mouth of the Tagus River, which then travels from Portugal across most of Spain, being the longest river on the Iberian peninsula. Its navigable waters gave Lisboa a valuable port which made it possible for Portugal to take the lead in Atlantic sea voyages during the Age of Exploration. Many famous explorers, including Vasco da Gama, embarked from here. The “Monument to the Discoveries” celebrates this history with 33 key figures of the time period, with Henry the Navigator in front.
This next photo was a bit of a failure in that I didn’t get a good picture of any of my friends! But as a shot of the river, it’s pretty cool.
We were visiting the Torre Belem, just a bit further down the river. Out the tower window, you can see the 25 de Abril Bridge, and the Sanctuary of Christ the King on the opposite bank of the river.
Let’s take a little trip to the four capital cities I’ve visited in Europe!
Dublin, Ireland: History mixed with modernity
I visited Dublin in 2015 and found the city very friendly, full of history and culture, and surprisingly metropolitan. I happened to be there during the Pride festival, so there was a very fun atmosphere in Ireland’s capital. As a liberal Catholic myself, I felt very much at home. I think this shot of the Famine Memorial on the banks of the River Liffey shows how the city honors the past while also looking towards the future.
Rome, Italy: Centuries of history
I visited Rome in 2012, and while I saw most of the city while on a bus, I was still able to appreciate the rich history of the city. In some ways, Rome is the capital of not just Italy but also Western history. I loved seeing centuries of different buildings cohabiting right next to each other. The Colosseum in particular is an amazing view into the past.
Lisboa, Portugal: A Hidden Gem
My friends and I took a weekend trip to Lisboa in 2007: my first time in a country where I didn’t speak the language. We managed with a mix of English and Spanish, and the people we met happily taught us a few useful phrases in Portuguese. I was surprised how beautiful the city was; I have wanted to return here with my husband ever since to really explore the city in depth. This is the Tower of Belém on the banks of the Tagus River, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Madrid, Spain: A Trove of Art
We took a class trip to Madrid during my semester in Spain, mostly to see the art. And what art it was. In addition the the architecture of the capital, the city hosts the Prado and Reina Sofía museums, where you can view such masterpieces as Las Meninas and Guernica. It was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience; I even had someone take my picture with Velazquez’s Las Meninas (which I went on to write an essay about for art history).
Lastly, a slightly different take on the word “capital.”
I was fascinated by the detail on the capitals of the columns in Venice, Italy.
Congrats to the Lens-Artists Challenge for a great first year! I’ve been participating since last November and have really enjoyed it. We have a special topic this week in honor of the anniversary, bloggers’ choice. See below to check out what the founders of the challenge picked.
Monument to the Discoveries
Pretending to be explorers
I tried to incorporate all their themes in my collection of photos. During university, I studied abroad in Spain for a semester with a group of about a dozen others. There were eight of us girls that often took weekend trips, including one to the beautiful capital of Portugal, Lisboa.
We were able to see several parts of the city, including Belém and the Park of Nations area that was created for the ’98 World Expo.
There was so much beautiful architecture, great food, and wonderful outdoor spaces in the city. Though we went not knowing a word of Portuguese, we managed to muddle through with a mix of English and Spanish. We found the people to be very friendly, speaking of making connections. 😀
Fountain in the Park of Nations
I would love to travel to Lisboa again someday! I also haven’t seen these friends in many years now, so it was wonderful to look back at these happy memories. Here’s to another year of great photos!
I’ve been lucky enough to travel on three continents; I’ve been to Europe three times and saw new and special things each time. I can’t wait to go back, but for now I will just have to enjoy looking at the memories of my travels.
I took a tour around the country with my mom, and this was a quick shot on a hike that turned out to be one of my favorites. It encompasses so much about the beautiful country.
We took a cruise in the Mediterranean, and coming into Venice in the morning was one of the highlights. It’s an incredible way to see a beautiful city.
We didn’t just see big cities in Europe, though. We were able to get out into the countryside in a few countries like Croatia and also Italy. Here we traveled up a mountain to see the sanctuary and Roman ruins at Tindari, giving us these incredible views.
While studying in Spain, a group of friends and I made a memorable weekend trip to Portugal, where we got along with a smattering of English and Spanish. (And we learned a few words by the time we left.) Lisboa is a beautiful city and one of the first on my list to return to some day. The Belém Tower is one of several historical sites we were able to see.
Of all the places I’ve been to in Europe, my heart truly belongs to Salamanca. This is the iconic Plaza Mayor, where many friends were met with and many drinks were had. It is a wonderful city for young people, and I learned so much during my months there. I hope to take my family there someday so they can see the place where I grew so much. It is precious not only for its people and sites, but for the memories now attached to them.