8 hours in Portugal: a quick visit

In between flights from Brazil to Spain I had 8 hours to spend in Lisbon and I wasn't going to spend it all in the airport. I had been to Portugal only once before when I was 5, so it doesn't really count.

From the airport there is a really nice bus that takes you downtown and back for a few euros. We left our luggage at a deposit at the airport and decided to explore my ancestor's country.

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We took the bus directly to the Praça do Comércio (Commerce Square), on the margin of the rio Tejo (river Tagus). This place is commonly known as Terreiro do Paço, because it was the location of the Paços da Ribeira, the royal palace of Portugal, home to one of the largest libraries in the world and that burned down after the 1755 earthquake and tsunami. Most documents regarding the discovery of Brazil were lost, as were hundreds of paintings.

 Statues above the Arco da Rua Augusta overwatch the Praça do Comércio. The inscription reads "Virtues of the Biggest will serve to all as a teaching. Dedicates to public expenses."

Statues above the Arco da Rua Augusta overwatch the Praça do Comércio. The inscription reads "Virtues of the Biggest will serve to all as a teaching. Dedicates to public expenses."

 On the other end of the square is the rio Tejo. In 1755 during the earthquake hundreds of people fled to the open space of the square and watched as the river receded and returned in full force and huge waves of a tsunami.

On the other end of the square is the rio Tejo. In 1755 during the earthquake hundreds of people fled to the open space of the square and watched as the river receded and returned in full force and huge waves of a tsunami.

After a visit to the square we took a tram to the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos. It is a fantastic monastery built in the 16th century and final resting place to several kings, and most notably to Vasco da Gama, the first to sail from Europe to India, and Luís de Camões, father of the modern Portuguese language.

 The monastery is closely linked to the history of the age of discovery as many explorers visited this place before and after their journeys.

The monastery is closely linked to the history of the age of discovery as many explorers visited this place before and after their journeys.

 Luís de Camões, author of he Lusíadas, lost an eye in battle and told stories of his voyages to the east.

Luís de Camões, author of he Lusíadas, lost an eye in battle and told stories of his voyages to the east.

 Vasco da Gama was the first to reach from Europe by crossing the Cape of Good hope.

Vasco da Gama was the first to reach from Europe by crossing the Cape of Good hope.

 Creepy devils decorate the church in the monastery.

Creepy devils decorate the church in the monastery.

 A broken off nose gives this statue a zombie like look.

A broken off nose gives this statue a zombie like look.

 This statue of Christ was sculpted by Filipe de Vries in 1550 and is stunningly realistic.

This statue of Christ was sculpted by Filipe de Vries in 1550 and is stunningly realistic.

 That day a play was being performed in the monastery. Although my native language is Portuguese, albeit from Brazil, I could barely understand classic Portuguese and was not able to follow the storyline of the play.

That day a play was being performed in the monastery. Although my native language is Portuguese, albeit from Brazil, I could barely understand classic Portuguese and was not able to follow the storyline of the play.

A short walk from the monastery is the famous Torre de Belém, probably the most famous landmark of Portugal. It was built as a defense tower to protect commerce from the east and Brazil.

 The Torre de Belém used to be surrounded completely by water. Today with modern changes it is almost at shore.

The Torre de Belém used to be surrounded completely by water. Today with modern changes it is almost at shore.

 It was a cold windy autumn day. A couple hugs for a selfie inside the tower.

It was a cold windy autumn day. A couple hugs for a selfie inside the tower.

 From the top of the tower one could see far into the Tejo and see any ships arriving.

From the top of the tower one could see far into the Tejo and see any ships arriving.

After that quick few hour long stroll, we headed back to town and then to the airport. I'll sure be back soon!

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 Tram crosses downtown Lisbon.

Tram crosses downtown Lisbon.