02 December 2008

Transportation in Lisbon

By now trams are not so unusual for us - when not riding our bikes we primarily use the trams here in Geneva - but these old wagons in Lisbon were more fun than the modern ones we have here. The very steep and narrow streets they ran up and down were also far more interesting and at times we wondered if the brakes could actually keep the tram from sliding when stopping for a red light.
Unfortunately we didn't have time to try out Lisbon's furnicular but Lisbon offers a - for us - brand new method to tackle differences in level: an elevator!
In 1902 they simply built an elevator to make it easy to come from the city centre to the higher laying Bairro Alto neighbourhood. There are wonderful views from the top of the elevator (where there is a café as well) and it is possible to walk via a pedestrian bridge to Bairro Alto without worrying about finding a tram or putting unnecessary wear and tear on one's knees.
The architect (i.e. Raul Mesnier du Ponsard - for the elevator connaisseurs :-) was a student of Gustave Eiffel, which the construction might bear imprint of. At least, the idea of an elevator in Lisbon is almost as excentric as the idea of a gigantic viewing tower with three elevators in Paris

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