Aguas Livres Aqueduct / Aqueduct of the Free Waters
It was my last day in Lisbon, the day before had lifted my spirits and I was looking forward to they day ahead – planned out and not a busy one but would be giving my feet a good workout. From the window of my apartment I could see the Aguas Livres Aqueduct (Aqueduct of the Free Waters) not too far away, that is where the day would begin just over a kilometer away. Its quite difficult to get a really great view of the structure purely because of its size (from one side to the other is 1km) and location which now spans over a highway. Maybe because of the location it doesn’t seem to attract that many visitors compared to the other sites in the city, pity, when I got arrived there were only 3 visitors inclusive which is a shame. The engineering is impressive, putting it into context the stretch I saw is 1km long and 65 meters high, add to that this part was completed in 1744! The whole aqueduct system is 58km long the main part being 18km constructed by the order of Kind John V due to Lisbon’s lack of sustainable drinking water. The aqueduct supplied the city’s drinking fountains, water features and even some parts of industry; which can still be seen in the City today (URGH I only found out about this on the day so didn’t get time to see for myself) e.g. all the main water fountains in the city and you can easily spot the old drinking fountains mounted into the walls dotted throughout. You can also go see two of the main reservoirs (one above and the other below ground) in the city and even some of the tunnels that supplied the water, remarkable!
25 de Abril Bridge / 25th of April Bridge / Ponte 25 de Abril
Taking a cheat trip with a bus down to the river saved me some time, not that I was in a rush, just keen to get the day going and I had done to route to the river twice on foot. The Bus 742 which just so happens to go past (very near) the aqueduct and the apartment stops just short of the 25 de Abril Bridge which is unmissable in Lisbon being a 2.2km suspension bridge quite reminiscent of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Padrão dos Descobrimentos / Monument of the Discoveries
The walk from the Bridge to Belem Tower/Torre de Belém/ Tower of St Vincent is around 4km so may not be enjoyable to everyone’s liking, however it does give you great panoramic views of the city, river and made to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians, the water is clean and the cool breeze has a faint sea aroma giving the air a refreshing tonic. Long before Belem Tower you start seeing Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument of the Discoveries), a colossal stone monument something akin to the large stone monuments of old, in this case the old was replicated in the 1960s and I cannot think of a recent monument of such scale. I suppose the style and size reflects what it stands for i.e. the celebration of the Age of Discovery or Age of Exploration and back in the day the Portuguese were masters of the sea and exploration, amongst those was Bartolomeu Dias who was the first European to stop in South Africa in the search for an alternative route to India in 1488….the start of a tumultuous history! No, I didn’t climb to the top, I wasn’t tired, the view from the ground up gave it more justice in my eyes than a birds-eye view. They just don’t make things like this anymore, maybe that’s a good thing.
Belem Tower / Torre de Belém / Tower of St Vincent
It was smaller than I had imagined, I did have the Monument of Discovery fresh in my mind so my proportions could have been rather skewed. What quaint building with nothing comparable on the river-front – it looks almost misplaced or brought in from somewhere else. Built as part of a defense system in the early 1500s the towers is in amazing condition considering the location and almost 500 yrs of sea salt, winds, currents etc. quite phenomenal! To me it did what it was made to do; admire from the outside, I really should have gone in but when I say the queue I just couldn’t get myself to go. Leaving no disappointment behind when I left I was content with my decision, maybe next time.
Jerónimos Monastery / Hieronymites Monastery
I would have been satisfied going back to the apartment even though it was only around 15:00, but I was attracted to a building over the road and had nothing to loose by going to check it out, glad I did. Jerónimos Monastery or Hieronymites Monastery which is from the 1400s and gothic is style. Sure, I had seen loads of churches already so in the grander scheme of things if I had missed it I don’t supposed it would have been the end of the world, but what if!? I hate leave a place with the thought of “what if!?”. My time in Lisbon was at an end and finishing seeing such an old majestic church was an apt finish.
Lisbon, a city that grows on you and if I get the opportunity in the future I would go back as there is so much more to explore!
If you missed my first installment of Lisbon here is the link Part 1