Day 2: Sightseeing in Lisbon

On day 2 of our Viking River Cruise, we remained in Lisbon (not yet on the ship) and did some sightseeing.

We started our day with a bus ride through the city and then arrived at the Belem Tower, which is a fortification from the 16th century and was a point of embarkation and disembarkation for Portugal. More info can be found here.

The Belem Tower of Lisbon / Tower of St. Vincent

From there, we moved on to Jeronimos Monastery, the former monastery for the Order of St. Jerome. In 1833 it was secularized and ownership was transferred to a charitable institution. In 1983 it was classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is awe-inspiring, to say the least!

A couple photos from on route to our next stop:

Lisbon Sculpture – Raccoon, I think
I don’t know what these flowers are, but they are beautiful!

We next visited a huge modern art installation by sculptor Joao Cutileiro, a well-known sculptor who contributed several pieces of modern public sculpture, including several female nudes, which were quite controversial at the time. His work marks the beginning of a new contemporary era in Portuguese public sculpture.

After our excursion we were on our own. While my travel buddies decided to visit St. George’s Castle, I chose to visit the National Tile Museum. We couldn’t get an Uber because our phone service was non-existent, so we tried our luck on local tourist transportation, which was a golf cart decorated with artificial flowers. Aloha.

After negotiating our smooth-operating driver from 50 down to 30 Euros for both stops, we all headed for St. George’s Castle, which meant driving along narrow streets that wound their way up, up, up the cobbled streets of Lisbon. It was nerve-wracking, to say the least. Once there, my travel buddies got off, which left me on my own for the remainder of the ride to the National Tile Museum. It. Was. Terrifying.

Going down the hill was much more death-defying than going up. We bumped along the cobbled streets, weaving left and right, winding down at what felt like break-neck speeds in that little cart! At one point I glanced at the speedometer and we were close to 40 mph! I really should have made him stop and let me off, but I was too terrified to even speak! I did manage to catch a couple of photos on the way though.

The National Museum of the Azulejo, or National Tile Museum, is dedicated to the traditional tilework of Portugal. I’m including a LOT of photos here, but there is so much more! I’m so glad I made this stop!

After the museum and castle, we all met back at the Hotel Tivoli, where we attempted to get a table at the rooftop restaurant, Seen, but we were too late. We took a quick walk through the outdoor bar, which was also full, but I got a few pics of the sky view – breathtaking!

In the end we decided to have a light dinner in the lobby restaurant, where I had a yummy chocolate martini and a bowl of seafood soup. It was the perfect ending to a busy day!

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