Sunday, April 17, 2022

Free day in Lisbon

We started our day by going to get Covid tests so we can travel onward to Africa. Negative again. Yay! It was still early enough to return to our hotel and reset our day in one of our favorite ways, simply eating euro breakfast at the hotel. The bread warms my heart!
We headed out and figured out how to use the rentable e-bikes and rode along the Targus River to Belem. We saw one of the most monumental monuments we've ever seen. The monument to the explorers. It's hard to see the scale of it in pictures. Next we headed across the street to visit the St. Jerome Monastery. But before we could go in we had to try their most important addition to Portuguese culture; the Pastel de Belem (the original custard egg tart that everyone copies). It's true that you can't compare to the original. So delicious! The monastery was built in "Manuelian" style which is a stylized gothic which includes lots of nautical motifs. It is a beautiful building. We then headed to the Belem tower, the last sight of Europe many sailors and explorers ever saw. It was accessible only when the tide was low, otherwise it was surrounded by water. Today there is a bridge walkway to it. At this point we had worked up an appetite so we headed to Time Out Market for lunch. Traditional Portuguese ham and cheese. We also had to try the Pastel competition, still delicious, but not the original. Worth the try. Honestly, I didn't have a bad Pastel de Nata anywhere in Lisbon. Next we next just kind of wandered through the city of Lisbon. We had an iced coffee from a little kiosk in a park filled with Portuguese people. They aren't very familiar with iced coffee but they made it happen. Delicious. Lisbon is a great city to wander in if you can handle the hills. If not you can take the elevator! The Santa Justa lift. It was built by a student of Eiffel. We took the shortcut (free) through H&M using their escalators to avoid waiting in line. We also found our way to O Trevo for another couple of bifanas. I'd say they are my favorite Portuguese food. So simple and delicious. Have I used delicious enough in this post? In the evening we had a Fado tour. We went to a small fado club and listened to the lamenting, mournful, traditional folk music of Portugal. Our "guide"/host studied fado at university and was a font of knowledge, and surprisingly also a singer who performed in the club while we were there. We wandered home afterwards and stopped for some fancy ice cream on the way. Another fabulous day. Tomorrow is Jammie's birthday and we are off to Marrakech, Morocco! Obrigado Portugal. 

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