A day in Belem
Lisbon Travel Blog› entry 8 of 8 › view all entries
July 6th, 2008 – by: Jeroenadmiraal
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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