Saturday, January 14, 2012

Lisbon - Day 4

I woke up with a heavy heart that day since it was my last day in Lisbon. I had my flight back to Germany in the evening. I woke up early to see the sunrise at the port. Then, came back to my hotel for my breakfast. I had planned to visit another corner of Lisbon that day called Parque das Nacoes. I took the Metro for the Oriente Station to reach there. I was quite impressed with the quality and frequency of the Metro. This was the first time that I was using it.

As you step out of the Metro to reach the upper levels at the Oriente Station, you are greeted with this graffiti like painted tiles on one of the walls of the Metro station as in the picture below. From here on, this part of Lisbon seems like totally dedicated to Vasco Da Gama. His name keeps flashing each and everywhere starting from this graffiti.

Now, this is another interesting part of Lisbon which presents a stark contrast to its old architecture seen in the main city. This is the place of modernization. One can almost not recognize being even close to the classical Lisbon. Everything is newly built with top notch sophistication. Huge and tall buildings, malls of several stories, open display of modern art and sculpture. It resembled like the Canary Wharf of London or like the Frankfurt of Germany if you want to catch the drift.

I started from one end of that place which was this tall tower in the shape of a sail. Near that tower was the Vasco da Gama Bridge. It is one of the longest bridges I have seen with my own eyes. It looked like, after starting it ends up into oblivion at the other end. 

As soon as you get out of the huge train station, you can't help but notice two tall building made in the shape of a ship sail. These unique buildings are also dedicated to Vasco. Both of them are named after the two ships of Vasco, Sao Gabriel and Sao Rafael.

Below you can see another piece of modern architecture with Vasco da Gama labeled on top of it.

The place also has Europe's biggest aquarium called Oceanario de Lisboa on display for visitors as one of its attractions. Some can even argue that it is one of the biggest in the world. So, I had to check it out. On that day there was a special exhibition on Tortoises and Turtles. One can see that they have kept the azulejos alive today but with a modern touch in the picture below. The wall in the background with fishes painted on their traditional glazed tiles.

I was quite taken aback after entering the place. It was out of this world. Seeing those water creatures at such small distances was a completely a new experience for me.

At the end of the real life tortoises section, there was a small exhibition on the same detailing their anatomy, their life etc. At one corner of that exhibition were some unique things based on tortoises on display. One of them is on the picture above. A rat sitting on top of the tortoise shell rowing it like a boat.

After that I went on to the main part of the aquarium which just blew me off. It was two floors high with display glasses all around. What surprised me the most was that there were even sharks swimming along with other fishes and none of them were bothered by each other. 

There was another small section of water animals and birds in another part of the building. I will let the pics do the talking now :)

Now this is called life ! See the picture above :) Just before I was about to leave, I saw one of the aquarium keepers on the inside cleaning the glass for the visitors. It was quite amusing to see him swimming with all those fishes and waving to the kids :)

From there I rushed back to my hotel to pick up my stuff and head to the airport for my flight back home. Sitting on the bus to the airport, checking out the pictures on my camera, recollecting the awesome experiences I had in the last days, I was happy and satisfied that traveling alone was actually not even a bad idea. I had already started to miss the place and already started looking forward to visit it again :)

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