Friday, April 13, 2012

A-Z Challenge L = Lisbon

Lisbon, said to have seven hills but has a darn sight more than that, dates back before Roman times when Julius Caesar called it Olyssipo. 

Artists flock here because of special clarity of its light - often compared to that of San Francisco - and because of the curious geometry they see in the city's layout (right).

It's the seventh most visited city in Europe and, indeed, tourists come in droves, not only to explore the city but also because it's within spitting distance of golden beaches (Caparica and the Estoril coastline) and historic venues (such as Sintra, Mafra, Batalha). 

You can come to Lisbon (or Lisboa) for the tourist attractions (Belem Tower, right) where you can eat one or several of the famous pasteis de Belém (custard tarts but better - below)
You can also easily escape the tourist traps by wandering the winding alleys and streets behind Chiado and around the Alfama and Graça districts where you'll get a real taste of Lisbon (literally). Get on an eléctrico (pictured at the top) with half the population of Lisbon and rattle around the narrow streets all over Lisbon for a couple of euros. 
If, like me, you like mythical characters, Portugal's Shakespeare, Luís Camões, called on the Tágides (or river nymphs) in the River Tagus to help him write his epic tale os Lusíadas. And you might just meet one of them in one of my books...
Tágides - river nymphs in the Tagus River