A day in Belem

Lisbon Travel Blog

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The long front of the Monastery.
And we go out with a bang!

Its probably the most well-known part of Lisbon, and we saved it for last. Belem, a neighborhood, a town really, west of Lisbon centre. We found all sorts of sights and attractions here. And we all went together, the whole family, to end this vacation - which has been absolutely amazing - with a bang.

At first I was really frustrated. I had been looking forward to Belem for a long time and at first I wanted to see it by myself. As a sort of treat for myself. But my parents wanted to join in and in the end we all went together, but they just ruined it on arrival. We were walking uphill indicisively for a long time, everybody arguing about what we were going to see.
Millions of tourists must have made this picture :)
I was just keeping my distance, waiting for them to reach an agreement (by now I know not to get involved in those things), but it never came. In the end I cut the cords and told them I was going back to the sights and they silently followed. My parents... after all those years... they can't cooperate. Afterwards my father blamed everything on me, and I still don't understand it. I will not accompany them on vacations any more. Time to grow up. To leave.

Anyway. Belem.

What is there to see in Belem? Well, first of all there is the Monastery of Jeronimos (Mosteiro dos Jeronimos). A mayor historical sight and a vast monastery, with a magnificent entrance. I was really impressed. We approached it from the side and you just keep walking and walking past it to reach the entrance.
Ship on Vasco da Gama's tomb.
I tried to squeeze the whole building into a photograph, but it was too large! The inside is amazing too. The ceilings are beautifully decorated and - not to forget - it contains the tomb of Portugal's national hero: Vasco da Gama.

The cloister itself has a beautiful courtyard (probably every single tourist that has ever been there in the history of forever has the same picture I have, hehehe). And everything is richly decorated. It's a must-see, definately.

Now, such a nice monastery has to be protected, so the Portuguese built a tower in the nearby river to guard over the rich monastery but also to guard the Tagus river. This tower is the old Belem Tower (Torre de Belem). This fortified little bastard stands with his feet in the river, proudly posing as the image of the Lisbon tourist board.
Belem tower with a buoy necklace.
The tower has arched windows and Moorish-like balconies and you can ascend it to the top. But you will have to wrestle yourself past hordes of tourists on the narrow stairs. When I was there, they had hung a sort of huge necklace of buoys across its face, which I thought was a pity (my visit to Belem had to be perfect! hehehe).

By now, that itching feeling began to creep up that I was in need of Portuguese pastries! And boy there is a huge and famous pastry shop (pasteis de Belem) there in Belem. We waited in line for half an hour but got some of the best pastries in Portugal!

Finally, across the street, there is another massive monument. The Monument to the Discoveries (Padrao des Descobrimentos). There isn't much to do but to walk around it and admire the massive slab of concrete they raised there.
There's a sword in its spine.
Still, the monument embodies a greatness. Its shape looks vaguely like the prow of a ship and along it, about 30 discoverers are depicted. You can go to the top by an elevator, but it is very expensive. Just before the monument is a square with a map of the world on the surface, showing the routes of Portuguese explorers.

I climbed on the monument to make another forbidden picture! A policeman came running to me to get me off, but he permitted one photograph. Afterwards a whole line of tourists tried to do the same, and I'm sure the policeman must have regretted allowing me to make that picture, hahaha!

Luckily the day was saved. It has been the most amazing trip! Time to go home...
Crow1147 says:
"Belem, a neighborhood, a town really..."

No. Belém is not a town. Belém is Lisbon.


Posted on: Oct 02, 2013
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The long front of the Monastery.
The long front of the Monastery.
Millions of tourists must have mad…
Millions of tourists must have ma…
Ship on Vasco da Gamas tomb.
Ship on Vasco da Gama's tomb.
Belem tower with a buoy necklace.
Belem tower with a buoy necklace.
Theres a sword in its spine.
There's a sword in its spine.
Side of the monastery.
Side of the monastery.
Along the monastery.
Along the monastery.
Along the monastery.
Along the monastery.
Along the monastery.
Along the monastery.
The mighty entrance.
The mighty entrance.
The mighty entrance.
The mighty entrance.
Tomb of Vasco da Gama.
Tomb of Vasco da Gama.
Inside the Monastery.
Inside the Monastery.
Inside the monastery.
Inside the monastery.
Keeping guard over the Tagus.
Keeping guard over the Tagus.
Belem tower with a buoy necklace.
Belem tower with a buoy necklace.
Keeping guard over the Tagus.
Keeping guard over the Tagus.
Ship-like monument to the discover…
Ship-like monument to the discove…
Close up.
Close up.
Those statues are pretty big!
Those statues are pretty big!
A map of the discoverers routes.
A map of the discoverer's routes.
Jesus in the distance.
Jesus in the distance.
Lisbon
photo by: Johnpro