Portugal – Day 7 – Lisbon

Today I spent more time exploring Lisbon. I started off with a breakfast sandwich and a coffee at Starbucks. I have to apologize for the poor colour balance on my photos today, as there was a massive sand storm that had blown sand all the way from Morocco. The sky was a bright orange colour, so I did the best I could to colour balance.

The Orion Eden Hotel is a former cinema, named Teatro Eden. This Art Deco style theatre was opened in 1931 and designed by Cassiano Brando and Carlo Florencio Dias, and was one of the city’s most important cinemas. The cinema closed in 1989 and was left in ruins until it was converted to the Orion Eden Hotel in 2001.

The Hard Rock Cafe sits not far from Teatro Eden, and is another former cinema that was called Condes Cinema. It was designed by architect Raul Tojal. This beautiful Streamine Moderne (a style of Art Deco) building has a streamlined corner, and a circular rooftop. The cinema closed in the 1990’s, and was left in poor shape until it was converted into the Hard Rock Cafe in 2003.

Avenida da Liberdade is one of the main boulevards in Lisbon, and has some of the most expensive shopping areas in Europe. The 90 metre-wide boulevard is 1100 metres long, and has ten lanes divided by pedestrian sidewalks, gardens, and a large amount of trees. The avenue was built in 1879, the site of a former park. There are some beautiful buildings that I saw along this beautiful boulevard.

The Rossio Railway station is Lisbon’s central train station. It was opened in 1891 and features a beautiful Neo-Manueline façade.

Praca Dom Pedro IV, also known as Praca do Rossio, is the main central square of Lisbon, and is known as the “heart” of the city. The square features a statue in the centre of Dom Pedro IV, however there’s an urban myth that the statue is that of Emperor Maximilian of Mexico, and that after Maximilian’s assassination the statue was unwanted and sold to Lisbon cheaply, as both Dom Pedro IV and Maximilian had similar appearances.

The Queen Maria II National Theatre is a historical theatre that was built in 1842, and sits on the north side of Praca Dom Pedro IV square. The Neo-Classical building was designed by Fortunato Lodi.

Across from Praca Dom Pedro IV square is a restaurant called Nicola, and it features a beautiful Art Nouveau design in the front.

The International Design Hotel is a beautiful historic 4-star hotel located on the Southeast end of Praca Dom Pedro IV square. This Art Deco hotel was built in 1930, and was renovated last in 2009.

Animatografo do Rossio opened in 1907 as one of Portugal’s first cinemas. This beautiful Art Nouveau style building is definitely worth checking out. It’s facade is comprised of sculpted wood, and two panels of azulejos tiles (blue tiles). In 1994 the site was turned into a peep show venue.

The Santa Justa Lift, also known as Carmo Lift, is an elevator in the historic centre of Lisbon that connects the lower streets of Baixa with the higher streets of Carmo Square, which is 45 metres (148 feet above). The lift was opened in 1899, and is designed in a Neo-Gothic architecture style, comprised mostly of iron. The hills of Lisbon historically presented a problem for travel between the lower streets of Baixa with the higher streets of Carmo Square, and in 1874 an engineer named Roberto Armenio presented a project to the Lisbon municipal council to have rail-lines that would be pulled by animals up an inclined plane. In 1882, the council gave permission to explore alternative plans for an inclined transportation system moved by mechanical means. While the use of animals never occurred, the elevator was eventually approved in 1896, and opened in 1899.

The Convent of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is a former Catholic convent located in the civil parish of Santa Maria Maior. The convent was ruined during the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. The monastery was originally founded in 1389. In 1407 the presbytery and apse of the church was completed. In 1423 residential areas were added the building. By 1551 the convent contained 70 clergy and 10 servants. In 1755 the earthquake hit and completely destroyed the library, and caused significant damage to the convent. Minor repairs to the monastery were carried out in 1800, with the roof being repaired during this time. Just ten years later the Police Royal guard occupied the site, which included the sharpshooter battalion, and the militia. In 1834 additional repairs were made to include the 3rd District Judge’s Law Court. The church was never fully rebuilt, and was rented out to a sawmilling shop. The buildings and site were eventually donated in 1864 to the Association of Portuguese Archaeologists, which turned the building into a museum. Between 1911 and 1912 the walls around the convent were reconstructed, with various arches build. In 1955 the facades and roofing of the garrison buildings was completed. In 1969, another earthquake hit, and curing the Carnation Revolution the convent was attached by rebels. This building just couldn’t catch a break!

Rue Garrett Street is another famous street in Lisbon, and is home to some of Lisbon’s most famous bookstores, including Livraria Bertrand, the oldest bookstore in the world, which was founded in 1732.

By then it was time to grab some lunch. I went out to Time Out Market, which is a massive food hall, to look around and see what there was to eat. I settled on a place called Ground Burger, and that certainly didn’t disappoint.

It was then time to go exploring again. First stop was The National Theatre of Sao Carlos, which was opened in 1793. It was slated as a replacement for the Tejo Opera House, which was destroyed in in the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. This beautiful neoclassical building was designed by Portuguese architect José da Costa e Silva. The building took only six months to build, and has seating capacity for 1148 people spread over 5 tiers of boxes.

I then checked out another funky metro station called Chelas Station. It is one of Lisbon’s newer metro stations, and was opened before Expo ’98 started.

Here’s a few random photos I also took during the day that I quite liked.

I then went back to my hotel for a bit to do some work, as I had a few meetings, and then I went in the pool and sauna for a few hours.

I was getting hungry, so it was time to eat dinner. I didn’t want to walk far, so I settled on a place called Udon Noodle Bar & Restaurant. I chose to have a chicken ramen dish, and it was delicious.

Be sure to check back tomorrow, as I explore more of Lisbon.

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Belgium – Brussels – Day 2 of 2

Today I woke up at 8:00am and had some coffee in my room before venturing out to explore more of the city.

First stop was Hôtel van Eetvelde, which was sadly under construction so I couldn’t get any good pictures of it. Hôtel van Eetvelde is a town house designed in 1895 by Victor Horta for Edmond van Eetvelde, the administrator of Congo Free State.

Second stop was Maison Saint-Cyr was built in 1903 to serve as a mansion for the painter Georges Saint-Cyr. The façade is about four metres wide, and is rich in finely worked ironwork that forms a set of lines, curves and geometric figures. Each balcony has a railing with different patterns.

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Third stop was Stoclet Palace, after a few quick photos of some various things along the way. Stoclet Palace was built in 1911 in the Viennese Secession style by architect Josef Hoffmann. It was built for Adophe Stoclet, a wealthy industrialist and art collector.

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Fourth stop and fifth stop was Arcades du Cinquantenaire and Autoworld. Arcades du Cinquantenaire is a triple arch in the centre of Brussels and is topped by a bronze quadriga sculpture group with a woman charioteer, representing Brabant raising the national flag. Autoworld is a substantial collection of vintage vehicles in extremely well preserved states.

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The sixth stop was the National Basilica of the Sacred Heart, a beautiful Art Deco church that was completed in 1970. Construction began in 1905 in Neo-Gothic style, but only the foundations had been completed before World War 1 broke out. Construction of the actual basilica began in 1919, with the architectural style changing to Art Deco, and was not completed until 1970.

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The seventh and eighth stops were Mini-Europe and Atomium. Mini-Europe is a miniature park that was started in 1989 and represents over 80 countries and 350 buildings. Atomium was designed and constructed for the 1958 Brussels World Expo by architect Andre and Jean Polak. It is 102 metres (335 feet) tall and has nine 18 metre (60 foot) diameter stainless steel clad spheres which are connected by escalators and stairs. 3 metre (10 foot) diameter tubes connect the spheres. The central tube had the world’s fastest elevator at the time; allowing people to reach the summit in only 23 seconds at 5 metres/second. The Atomium, was designed to last a mere six months and was slated for destruction after the 1958 World Expo, but due to its popularity it made it a major element of Brussels landscape. A weird piece of history about Atomium is that SABAM, Belgium’s society for collecting copyrights, claimed worldwide intellectual property rights on all reproduction of the image via the United States Artists Rights Society (ARS). There are numerous censored images circulating the internet, but finally in 2016 there was a bill enacted to allow pictures to be legally distributed.

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I then stopped for dinner at the same restaurant I stopped at for lunch yesterday; Tonton Garby, before heading to get a new power adapter, because I somehow forgot mine at home. After getting a power adapter I visited the Brussels Comic Strip Museum, and then went to Beer Planet and picked up a few authentic trappist monk beers that were recommended to me.

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I went back to my hotel room to edit photos and write my blog before heading out to take some night time photos of Atomium.