After years of being somewhat isolated from the rest of Europe, Lisbon became the hot and happening place to be at the turn of the 21st Century with new restaurants, nightclubs and modern design initiatives being created with blazing speed (and the help of EU funds). Then the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, happened and much of the momentum slowed.
Despite the setback the capital city of Portugal remains a fun and culturally interesting place to visit and that’s why Sophie decided to go. There’s also another very special reason for her to visit. The first person who bought a leather handbag online was from Lisbon. So you know that contemporary design and fashion are alive and well.
It’s the western most major city in Europe and its history is tied to the sea like few other places. Go west from Lisbon and you won’t hit land until you reach the United States. It is from here that seafaring explorers embarked to places unknown with the most famous being Vasco de Gama, the first European to reach India by sea.
A monument to these explorers is built along the sea, the “Monument to the Discoveries,” which celebrates Portuguese’s “Age of Discovery” during the 15th and 16th centuries. A true artifact from that era, the Belém Tower remains the same strong and study fortress on the edge of the coast that it was when it was built in the early 16th century.
Sophie was content strolling around the pastel-colored buildings of the hilly coastal city
She visited the National Azulejo Museum with its five centuries of decorative ceramic tiles and, since the weather was warm, visited the beaches just outside the city.
One other reason Sophie wanted to go to Lisbon is so she could visit the Oceanário de Lisboa, one of the largest and most important public aquariums in the world. Opened in 1998, it is the most popular cultural attraction in Lisbon, hosting approximately 1 million visitors a year.
The modern aquarium promotes educational activities aimed at encouraging people to learn more about the oceans and marine species; and seeks to draw people’s attention to current environmental issues. It promotes ocean sustainability by supporting scientific research and marine biodiversity conservation projects.
The aquarium contains more than fish. It is filled with vibrant plant life along with the type of mammals and birds that live on the water’s edge.
After so much culture and education, Sophie wanted to kick her giant heels back and dance, which is easy to do in this vibrant city. Sophie has taken a liking to Portugal’s Vino Verde (green wine) and Porto. If you ever seen a three-meter high giraffe tipsy it is one of the more unusual things you will ever witness.
Thankfully Sophie isn’t driving and she’s content with stumbling back to her hotel and trying to remember the destination of her next adventure.
Sophie’s bucket list for traveling.
Sophie goes with the flow.