Sunday, 19 January 2014

The Societies goes to Portugal !

This year, the Society went to Portugal for its annual trip. And here is what happened...

"We arrived in Lisbon on Monday the 13th of January, it was late when we got in so we immediately travelled via the metro to our accommodation at a hotel called Residencial Joao XXI in Lisbon city centre. The rooms were really nice for the given price and wonderfully located near all public transport and shops.
Tower of Belem - E. Fennelly 2013
The following day we began our tour around the Belem region, one of the most important regions in Lisbon. Our tour guide, Cristina showed us around Jeronimos Monastery, a huge 15th century Manueline-style complex including a cathedral, a museum and a cloister. We then visited the Discoverer's Monument across the road and on to the Tower of Belem which is probably the most recognisable structure in Lisbon, a fortified tower built in the 16th century and used during the age of discoveries. We wrapped it all up by visiting the Archaeological museum of Lisbon which had a great exhibition on Roman sculptures.
Jeronimos monastery - E. Fennelly 2013

On Wednesday we payed a visit to the Alfama region which is the oldest region in Lisbon it's most prominent landmark being the Castle of St. George, a Moorish castle dating to the Medieval period. Given the huge size of the castle we spent most of the day there while also visiting Lisbon Cathedral and taking a ride on the cities oldest tram line which was an experience in itself.
Cloisters - E. Fennelly 2013
On Thursday we took a day trip to Conimbriga, a Roman city which is the largest and probably most important archaeological site in Portugal. We took a two hour bus journey to the site which is still being excavated today and not even close to being completely unearthed. Notable features of this city included the large walls, a fountain complex, the baths and a re-constructed forum. The sewer system was also easily seen. Once we were done with our tour around the city we took time to visit the associated museum which included many of the finds of the site. Finally we payed a quick visit to the University of Conimbra near the Roman ruins. This University, one of the oldest in Europe included a fantastic chapel and unique library.
Roman villa - E. Fennelly 2013

On Friday, the day of our departure we split up to pursue our own interests. I myself went to see even more Roman ruins unusually located beneath a bank in Lisbon city center a long with a few others. I was amazed by the size of the complex given it's location. The ruins were of a Roman factory used for the manufacture of garum (a sort of paste made from fish, salt and spices) which was what made the city wealthy during the Roman period.
Discoverer's monument - E. Fennelly 2013
We returned later that day exhausted but fulfilled at the same time.
I'd like to thank all who came on this trip with me and I hope you had a good time lie I did."

By Emmet Fennelly
Trip Officer 2013-2014

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