Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Belem - Lisbon

After a much needed lie in after walking our little legs off the day before, day three in Lisbon saw us jump aboard the 15e tram with travel cards at the ready, headed straight for Belem. 

Belem (which is named after the Portuguese word for Bethlehem) is an area about three and a half miles from the city centre that hosts many of the nation's famous buildings and landmarks, including Jeronimos Monastery, the Tower of Belem, the Padrao dos Descobrimentos (a huge crucifix monument), and the famous Portuguese pastry shop, Pasteis de Belem. Which we obviously had to go to. Y'know, see what all the hype was about.

I have to say, the Pasteis de Belem kind of disappointed. The service was rushed, whilst at the same time being PAINFULLY slow (some feat!) and JUST LOOK AT HOW PLAIN THAT SANDWICH IS! It makes me sad. Sarah liked it though - she said the food actually kind of suited her as she likes more plain things. I unfortunately like the exact opposite - the richer, creamier, or spicier, the better!

Jeronimos Monastery... 

After a quick stroll around the gardens and monastery (the area was much smaller than I thought it would be!) we popped in to the Centro Cultural de Belem art museum to see what it had to offer. Now, I'm not usually one for art museums, but this was actually really fun! 

(Mum got acquainted with a new friend...) 

These little guys by Lynn Chadwick made me laugh :o) 

We decided the artist had run out of black paint here. So I mimed running out of black paint. Yeah.

This tongue-in-cheek piece was probably my favourite. 

Not quite 99, but I did find one little red balloon!! Mine, all mine! 

This is traditional Portuguese paving, which we saw everywhere in Lisbon. Apparently they're going to be getting rid of it in some areas though, because people keep slipping over and hurting themselves. Clumsy slippers.

The Padrão dos Descobrimentos.

After lots more walking in Belem all day, we decided to make the most of our travel cards, and ride around the city on the yellow tram for a while! It was a little bit like what I imagine riding the Knight Bus in Harry Potter would be like. Terrifyingly rickety, quite fun, and quite dangerous. I think during the holiday we were actually on one tram that somehow came off the tracks. And another that briefly set alight the electric lines it was connected to above. They were interesting modes of transport.

 Evening saw us trying to having dinner at the Restaurante A Travessa Do Fado. Lisbon is known for Fado music, which this place was offering a live show of alongside a promising-looking menu of delicious traditional Portuguese cuisine. It looked lovely inside, so we headed on in, and started off the evening enjoying some refreshing drinks and our starters. Two hours later, we were still waiting for our main courses to arrive. 

... I wish I could say the wait was worth it, but THIS arrived, stone cold. We then waited another little while to get a hotter version of our orders.

Ahhhh, well. You win some, you lose some. We'd actually been told by our tour guide the day before that the service in Lisbon is renowned for being bad. He'd said that there are no laws in Lisbon, but rather guidelines, and that he often finds himself thinking back to Voltaire's Candide, which mentions Lisbon and how: "all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds". 

Funny man. I don't know how a cold fried egg and some dry ol' oven chips are for the best. But then, I never was a fan of Candide. Him or his chips.

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