Julie’s flight from Lisbon onward to Prague left quite early in the morning. That left Kevin and I with another day and a half in Lisbon before carpooling down to the Algarve with his godfather.
While our few days with Julie had been about relaxation and exploratory walks throughout the city, Kevin and I knew that without direction we’d end up spending the next 36 hours napping.
While we did make time for some naps, I also busted out my trusty ol’ pal, TripAdvisor, for some advice on what to see in the neighbourhood. The result was lots of walking and lots of looking at neat things.
We started the day with breakfast at a truly Lisbon-esque spot. The thing about Lisbon is it’s filled with parks and cafes. And you’ll never, ever find a park that doesn’t have its own little cafe-stand. Just up the street from the place where we stayed, there was a large park that had 2 cafe stands AND a restaurant. This casually beautiful restaurant doesn’t even have a TripAdvisor review. In Toronto, a place this cool would have a 2 hour brunch line up, but in Lisbon? No big deal.
Once we were properly fed and caffeinated, we headed to our first destination: Reservoir of the Mae d’Agua das Amoreiras and the Aguas Livres Aqueduct. Both of these are part of the Lisbon Museum of Water, which also includes an additional water reservoir, located underneath a fountain in the park where we’d eaten breakfast. The aqueduct was built beginning in the mid 1700s, and it provided the northern neighbourhoods of Lisbon with water up until the 1960s! (Fun/not-so-fun/actually-sad-and-gross fact: the aqueduct was the preferred site/tool of a serial killer in the 1800s)
As it goes in Europe, the aqueduct was tucked in behind a bunch of other buildings in a less-travelled area of Lisbon. After some walking, Kevin and I rounded the corner and saw the aqueduct crossing a road and spanning (yet another) park. After taking a bunch of photos and freaking out about the wonders of engineering, we wanted to go inside the reservoir, but it was closed for lunch (lunch is a BIG deal in Portugal).
We opted to return later, and headed off on another walk. Our walk took us through one of the main roundabouts in Lisbon, placed between the enormous Edward VII Park (named after a British dude!) and the Avenue of Freedom (Avenida da Liberdade). West of the park is the Estufa Fria, or “Cold Greenhouse”. Essentially, it’s large indoor garden that isn’t hot like a greenhouse. It includes a grotto, some ponds, and a host of interesting plants. Kevin and I enjoyed a leisurely walk through the garden, stopping to read our e-readers, like a couple of nerds.
Finally, we headed back to the reservoir to see the inside. Now, I had read online that it was possible to walk through the aqueduct by entering the reservoir. We didn’t get to do that, because the gate was locked, but I would imagine it’s possible if you book your trip ahead of time.
The Mae d’Agua das Amoreiras Reservoir, (mother of water of the Amoreiras neighbourhood reservoir, or something like that) is incredibly beautiful. It is not, however, a particularly well presented exhibit. It’s also rather expensive. When you go inside, there’s a desk where a person is working. You pay that person 5 euros each, and then walk over to get a better view of the reservoir.
Water pours from the top of the aqueduct into the reservoir pool. The light that shines in reflects off the water, making for a beautiful visual effect to accompany the sound of the water. On top of the water, there’s actually a floating platform that you can walk on. I can imagine that it must be a great place for events, and I hope that the people of Lisbon take advantage of a cool space like that. It’s basically begging to have concerts and yoga classes and weddings on it.
Behind the pool is a staircase that takes you to the roof of the reservoir. When you’re walking up the stairs, you can see into the aqueduct, which seems like it’d be a cool walk if it were open. From the rooftop, you get a view of the aqueduct and the city of Lisbon. 5 euros each felt like a bit of a scam, but I honestly think that the reservoir was one of the prettiest buildings/spaces that I’ve ever been in. I highly recommend checking this place out if you’re in Lisbon.
After our sightseeing, we met up with Kevin’s godfather for lunch, ran some errands, and generally enjoyed being in Lisbon. The next day we woke up, had breakfast, lazed about, napped, and eventually drove to the Algarve, where the adventure continues…
As always, photos below!