From the 5th to the 10th of March International friends of Lux Mundi from both centres, Torre del Mar and Fuengirola, travelled by coach to Lisbon, entering the city via the Ponte 25 de Abril bridge with fabulous views of the city.
They stayed at the 4* Fenix Urban hotel for 5 nights, which is a comfortable hotel situated just 5 minutes walk from the Marques de Pombal square and very convenient for the main stop of the tourist buses. After a very speedy allocation of rooms there was time to begin to explore this fabulous city and to have a meal in one of the nearby restaurants.
On the Tuesday and Wednesday there was free time to take the tourist bus or the nearby metro to visit the different and very diverse areas of the city, Alfama, Baixa and Avenida, Bairro Alto and Estrela and Belem. With so much to do and see in Lisbon people were lost for choice. Some took the ferry across to the south bank of the river Tagus to visit the Cristo Rei, the 28 metres tall figure of Christ with his arms outstretched, and then took a lift and climbed some steps to reach the top of the 82 metres tall pedestal beneath the statue to enjoy the fine views of the city and the river. Others visited various museums and famous buildings including the Gulbenkian Collection, ranked as one of the finest in Lisbon with its unique collection of art, the exhibits spanning over 4,000 years, and the Se, the city’s cathedral with its twin castellated bell towers and a splendid rose window.
On Thursday morning those who wanted to spend time in Belem were taken by the bus and they had several hours to visit the Torre de Belem, the monument to the discoveries, the cultural centre, the Museu Nacional dos coches and the beautiful Mosteiro dos Jeronimos with cloisters where the arches and balustrades are decorated with richly carved images.
On the final day there was an excursion to Cascais and Sintra. In the morning there was free time to walk around Cascais with its marina and small shopping centre and to have lunch. The group then travelled to Sintra and took the small bus up to the Palacio da Pena where they split into two groups, with English speaking guides, for a comprehensive tour of this spectacular building which was built in the 19th century for the husband of Queen Maria 11, Ferdinand Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Despite the miserable weather all enjoyed the visit to this enchanting place.
On Saturday the group made the return journey back, leaving Lisbon via the impressive 17.5 km Vasco da Gama Bridge, the longest bridge in Europe and arrived back in Torre del Mar and Fuengirola mid evening. All agreed that it had been a wonderful trip to this fabulous city despite the inclement weather. Lux Mundi would like to thank all who supported this excursion, which enables them to continue with their charitable work and we hope to see you all at future events in the Centre and excursions.