Monday, April 4, 2011

Sarah Clark - March 15,16

Lisbon, Portugal Each new city that we travel to is filled with a unique beauty all its own. Lisbon, Portugal is no different. Lisbon is full of beautiful landmarks and architectural wonders. However, this beauty is widely spread out across the city. Even though we have all become very good at walking great distances, we got to take a break from that today, when we travelled around the city via a YellowBus tour. The double-decker bus provided each of us with earphones and a free commentary while driving us past some of Lisbon’s most famous attractions. We immediately sprinted for the top of the bus (of course!) and got settled in. Over a two hour span, we saw more than twenty famous sights. Some of the most spectacular were the famous Campo Pequeno bullring, Jeronimos Monastery, and the Cristo Rei statue. We also got to listen to information about each site thanks to our complimentary headphones and commentary. The Campo Pequeno was built under the direction of Portuguese architect António José Dias da Silva. It recently underwent renovation and re-opened in 2006 as a multi-event location. It now houses an underground shopping mall, and hosts concerts and other live events during the bullfighting offseason. Jeronimos Monastery, another gorgeous site, was built starting in 1501 and construction lasted more than fifty years. The monastery itself is huge. It spans more than 4 blocks. Even more impressive, despite its vast size, every inch of the building is intricately detailed. The structure was built under the orders of King Manuel I to commemorate Vasco da Gama’s successful return from India. It is one of the most beautiful buildings in all of Portugal. Finally, we saw the Cristo Rei statue, a.k.a, the Sanctuary of Christ the King. This Catholic monument was inspired by the Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil. President of the Council Antonio de Oliveira Salazar ordered that it be built as a shrine dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ. Construction started on the statue in 1949 and took ten years to complete. The statue is so large that we were able to see it while driving along the entire coastline of the Tagus River. Obviously, our tour of Portugal was rich and culture-dense. We saw more in two hours than is possible to write about in this blog. Portugal is a beautiful country and we got to see it through one of our favorite mediums…DRIVE-BY BEAUTY!

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