September 23, 2011

Lisbon. November, 2010

What visual memories do most people bring home from Lisbon? The water views of the River Tejo. The city’s many hills and steeply sloped streets. The old quarters with their crooked alleys and colorful facades. Color-rich tiles in buildings and on buildings. Beautiful sidewalks, fashioned as mosaics of black and white stones. And, of course, the trolleys, those iconic yellow trams that weave in and out of even the tightest corners of the Alfama. Here’s a memory of mine: the Elevador da Bica. This tram-like funicular runs from its low point near the waterside Cais do Sodré train station up through funky neighborhoods to the top of the Bairro Alto leaving you off near the Miradouro de Santa Catarina, a beautiful lookout in a quiet residential locale. The elevador is a quick and atmospheric way to ascend and you’ll be in the fine company of Lisboetas who’ve learned that it’s easy to walk down to the Mercado da Ribeira to shop, but less easy to climb back home with shopping bags full of daily provisions secured at the bustling market.

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