Standing on the Praça do Comércio in Lisbon and gazing at the bridge, I had a total deja vu moment. What was the Golden Gate Bridge doing in Lisbon? Or did the six-hour flight I boarded last night actually take me to San Francisco instead? Bear in mind I was very jet-lagged at the time…
Well, a quick glance back to the statue of King José I and the Arch of Triumph on the Praça do Comércio assured me that I most certainly was not in San Francisco. It turns out that I was looking at the 25 de Abril Bridge, which connects Lisbon to Almada on the left (south) bank of the Tejo river.
Funny enough, the 25 de Abril Bridge was built by the American Bridge Company, but that company didn’t build the Golden Gate Bridge but rather the Bay Bridge. Another irony is that the 25 de Abril Bridge is much younger than the Golden Gate Bridge. It opened to traffic in 1966 while the Golden Gate was completed in 1937. The irony being that most of Lisbon pre-dates everything in California.
The Golden Gate Bridge is a true American icon, and I remember the first time I saw it in person. The 25 de Abril bridge was nice and all, especially with the sunset. But it didn’t really evoke any emotion for me, except for perhaps confusion (see the first graf).
Lisbon shares another major similarity to San Francisco: it has antique and modern trolleys to help its inhabitants survive the hilly terrain. Lisbon could use some sea lions though. And San Francisco could use some more tiles.