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Published: April 5th 2018
What a busy day Mike and I have had! After a passing downpour, we headed out for the center of town to pick up the Hop-on bus. We love taking these buses during the first days in order to get a quick overview of the city. With maps, area reviews, and the corny tourism voice-over, we were set. Walking or riding, there is always something to see. Mosaics are prominent on the sidewalks and on the buildings. Some simple and some are incredibly intricate pictures. The one type of mosaic that is lacking...street signs. So, to that we say, "Thanx Google maps!"
The Tower of Belem was our first Hop-off. Built in the 1500's, it somehow avoided destruction in the 1755 earthquake/tsunami, and sits at the mouth of the Tagus River. It is beautiful and the views are incredible. Our tourist learning experience for the day: while waiting on line with tickets in hand, for an eternity, we noticed many people bypassing the line. Hmmm, we finally asked ourselves, wtf? After a question or two, we joined the Tickets-in-hand line and immediately entered, leaving our ticketless friends behind. Sigh.
The docks were fun. Along with the outside art and
memorials, there were musicians, food trucks, and even a wine vendor. Great place to wander. After lunch, we walked over to a bakery called Pasteis de Belem, where the nuns have bee making their custard tarts since 1837. Now, I make good Pasteis but these are amazing! Warm and creamy with a crispy, flaky crust. YUM! Be prepared to get your NY on tho, 'cause the crowds are brutal.
Lots more to see here but we have time to return.
Next stop, the ancient Gloria Funicular up to the Bairro Alto district. Mike found a beautiful park with music, vendors, views, and a cup of sangria. I went on to explore the area. The narrow, intricate streets and squares kept me busy for a while. Everyone was happy.
Uber ride home with a very chatty driver, gave us more insight into the day-to-day lives of the citizens.
Dinner at a local restaurant the home. A very long, satisfying day, indeed.
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