5 September 2019: Belém Tower, Jerónimos Cathedral, Mercado da Ribeira and the Ship pulls out of Port.


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Europe » Portugal » Lisbon & Tagus Valley » Lisbon
September 5th 2019
Published: September 6th 2019
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It’s Worth Going The Wrong WayIt’s Worth Going The Wrong WayIt’s Worth Going The Wrong Way

Stumbled on this as I led us down a wrong street. Towns out it was very much the right street.
Good God, what a place.

I’m writing this, looking out at the early evening sky over the River. It’s pink fading to a soft blue, and I think it may have dropped to low 30°’s.

The breeze coming off the river conceals the heat, and on most hot nights, sleeping is not a problem. At the moment, a thin line of sparkling orange and white lights form the horizon, and split the dark sea from the light blue sky.

Sometimes I’m really not sure where this apartment is located. On google maps, you need to walk 20 metres and turn left or right into our street. The staircase twists and turns at every level, and I know our window faces the river, but where exactly I couldn’t say. We do not step outside without some effort.

I know one thing. Every time we come home it’s a treat in itself. I’ve stayed in rooms that are just a place to put your head down, but stairs included, I’d be very comfortable living here. We have no TV but the best show is out the window. We are close enough to the water to almost touch the cruise
It’s 34°c.It’s 34°c.It’s 34°c.

A good day for doing the sheets.
ships, and we hear their music. Yachts, traditional Portuguese sprit rigged sailing boats, and charter boats cruise by, ferries cross to the more suburban areas, and there’s always laughter, yelling, or families going about their lives here.

This apartment has warm colours, quirky furniture, light fittings made from garden hoses and old records, and it all blends well. The bathroom is 3 steps up, the kitchen 2 steps down, and the front - only -door is in the middle, fitted with a 4 turn lock that inserts rods into the door frame, top and bottom, as well as at the lock. It’s safe but you can never be to sure.

This morning, after a coffee up the hill at the little cafe in the corner, we headed down again to find the bus to Belém. My first turn was wrong, but we ended up at a weekly market, mainly aimed at tourists. Every store sold cork bags and cork everything, so we took advantage of the cheaper prices and bought some stuff to take home; rubbish effectively. Often getting lost is the best option.

The 728 bus runs every 6 minutes and we were at the Lisbon
Jerónimos Monastery Jerónimos Monastery Jerónimos Monastery

Started in1502 by King Dom Manuel 1, it is dedicated to the order or St Jerónimo, and was financed by money made on the spice trade, started by Vasco da Gama. It’s gothic design was altered by the designers successors and was eventually called the Manuelino style.
Market , half way to Belém, in 10 minutes. It’s obviously not the market it once was but still has a wide range of fruit and vegetables, fish vendors, and a fresh flower section. The other half is devoted to the Time Out Hall, and is full of cafes, quality souvenirs, and fast food outlets selling anything from hot dogs to pulpo burgers. The mix of smells evolved as you passed from soup to pulpo to pastries to burgers to.....you get it. But the choice was easy.

We settled for coffee and a famous Portuguese custard tart. These were created in the Belém district and the fresh crisp pastry is a sure sign of a good one. Tuk tuk man told me that.

Ours had the crunch.

It was chaos at the Jerónimos Monastery, Belém area, and I counted at least a dozen buses. Tuk tuk man said go early; should have listened to Tuk Tuk man. The passengers were mainly lined up for the mona so we hit the Discoveries Monument first. I took the lift up for the best view in Belém, snapped some pics, took in some sea air, and rejoined Sue at the
Busloads On The Line, Jerónimos Monastery Busloads On The Line, Jerónimos Monastery Busloads On The Line, Jerónimos Monastery

We saw the queues, went elsewhere, and returned to no buses and no crowds
base. She didn’t want the height sensation. That fair enough.

Belém Tower had similar crowds and outside access was restricted due to a major music festival held this weekend. It has attracted Ed Sheehan, Elton John, Lady Gaga In the past, and I think the headline act this year is James Blunt. That doesn’t help us.

We returned to the monastery, now quite accessible, and entered one of the most inspiring churches I’ve ever seen. Leaving religion aside, these buildings, built to commemorate Christian leaders, important local figures, or the woman down the road, are works of art and are major architectural and construction achievements. The Sacristy inside was the highlight, but the sheer scale of the project is daunting now, let alone in the 16th century.

The day was hot, crowded, but the frozen yogurt with topping was nice for lunch - there must be some food groups in there - and we caught the bus back to Alfama. At the local butcher we bought cheese, bread, and some dried sausage, picked up tomatoes at the minimart, and had a real lunch at home.

We have been to a Fado House tonight for dinner and
The Discoveries Monument The Discoveries Monument The Discoveries Monument

This 56 metre monument was built in 1960, to commemorate the 500 years since the death of João 1, who financed the trips to the African coast and founded a a school of navigation. For me it was the best view of the district.
some music, but it’s late so I’ll cover it tomorrow. It was amazing.


Additional photos below
Photos: 33, Displayed: 25


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Discoveries Monument Discoveries Monument
Discoveries Monument

It represents the bow of a boat- I think - and has Henry the Navigator At The front, followed by other people important to the times. I swear the guy on the left is protecting his bumbag, not doing a M Jackson move.
Bridge Across The River Tajo Bridge Across The River Tajo
Bridge Across The River Tajo

Based on the Golden Gate in San Francisco, it takes cars on the top, and trains below.
‘Whatever’‘Whatever’
‘Whatever’

With a yacht like that it’s more likely, whatever it takes.
Belém TowerBelém Tower
Belém Tower

Built 200 metres of shore between 1515 and 1521 to defend the port, today it finds itself on a beach after the realignment caused by the 1755 earthquake.
Belém Tower Belém Tower
Belém Tower

Clearly no longer 200 metres offshore
Bites of History Bites of History
Bites of History

A cool little Citroen selling biscuits with local scenes on the icing. Hence the name,


The Sacristy of the Church of Santa Maria de Belém The Sacristy of the Church of Santa Maria de Belém
The Sacristy of the Church of Santa Maria de Belém

Is the most spectacular part of the Monastery, and it’s intricate centre column radiates out across the ceiling to create a stunning palm tree effect.
The SacristyThe Sacristy
The Sacristy

Built in the early 16th century, it has many fine examples of 16th century Portuguese furniture that was used to store vestments.


On its walls are 16 paintings, said to depict stages of St Jerónimos life.
Vasco da Gama’s TombVasco da Gama’s Tomb
Vasco da Gama’s Tomb

Born 1468/69, died 1524, either his birth year was unknown, or it was som labour. He established the route between India and Portugal between 1497/98, which made Portugal the port supremacy in the Indian Ocean for over a century.


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