Saturday 11 November 2023


Back in March I went to Lisbon for a long weekend with my son. No particular aim, just to wander the city, take in the sights, eat a bit of nice food, some nice wine. Possibly take a photograph or two? It ended up being one of the last outings for my old Canon camera, at least in the context of a city break. As well as my birding lenses I had a collection of wide angles and intermediate zooms. Things like a 16-35, a 24-105, and a 70-200. Like the camera itself they were huge lumps, but they did the job. Heavily. Note the tense - had.

Henry meanwhile carried a tiny Sony mirrorless job that he could fit in his pocket. It and the lens, a basic zoom, weighed a combined 711g, the image quality and general abilities totally fantastic. My camera body alone weighs 1525g and certainly doesn't fit in any pockets! Add the lenses and I was lugging around close to 4kg. My mind was made up. As soon as I returned from a trip in July where I wanted a particular Canon lens I was going to sell the lot and make the switch. And that's exactly what I did. Ebay'd the whole lot. Did I lose money? Yes, loads. Do I regret it? Well, nobody likes losing money, but I'd had great use out of those lenses for years, in some cases a decade. It was time to modernise.

But this isn't about that. It's about Lisbon, one of the great capital cities in Europe. It is staggeringly beautiful, with wonderful buildings, an eclectic tram system, very hilly and views galore. We had a brilliant time. It is so long ago now I can barely remember how long we were there and what we did. Two nights I think, and largely we walked and walked. And, apparently, clicked and clicked - the photos will no doubt remind me. I've only just been through a very large set and made a small selection. Despite that this is a very photo-heavy post. 

Lisbon is heavily, perhaps excessively, tiled. It's really quite extraordinary.

I like this photo, it reminds me of a very similar one I took in Valetta which also had a old lady on a balcony. Apologies old lady, but you know how it is.

There are tiles, and then there are tiles. These are tiles.

Lisboa sits astride the mouth of the river Tagus, at that point more of an estuary. A huge bridge, the ponte 25 de Abril, which celebrates the 1974 revolution which eventually ushered in democracy, spans the strait.


The city is ridiculously hilly, and you don't feel remotely bad tucking into large lunches having tackled so many slopes and steps.

Trams feature heavily, especially in some of the older narrower streets around Alfama. They're used by a healthy mix of locals and tourists - easily separated! 

So do Tuk-tuks!

There are lots of scenes like this, though you often have to wait quite a while to get just a solitary figure like this.

Whilst the tiles are quite blue, many of the buildings are on the warm spectrum - yellows, reds, pinks, browns. 

I took about a million photographs of trams.

More tiles. Just because.

The Caixa Geral de Depositos, the National Savings Bank, is a huge 1990s half-temple half-citadel in the Arco de Cego district. Worthy of a slot on any itinerary. We decided not to try and photograph the entirety of this behemoth of a building, but just went for small elements of it.

More of the Caixa

There are several colonades like this.

This mural reminded me of Colombia

Oooh look! A tram!

Yet more steps.

"No way!?"

Breakfast. Sometimes we were forced to have several breakfasts.

Anyway, that's a small flavour of Lisbon, an excellent place in which to spend a few days. Not far away, and not expensive. I can also recommend White Port and tonic as a very refreshing mid-afternoon drink. 


  1. Shut one's eyes with hands over your ears and you could be back in West Thurrock.

  2. As ever a wonderful tour of images - not always about the birds...