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Published: April 14th 2018
Friday: Mike and I left our home in Windsor 2 weeks ago! Hard to believe we are half way through our trip. What a wonderful time. Karen and Glen have been great traveling companions and we are excited to have Gary and Marji join us next Friday.
Late rising this morning. Yesterday was such a long day, that we crashed until 8:15am. Slug-a-beds, no? After breakfast and tidying up, the four of us jumped into an Uber and headed to the Belem section of town. Glen and Karen wanted to see the Tower of Belem and eat the best pasteis, ever. Mike and I wanted to see the Monastery of Jeronimos Cloister and Church. The line for tickets for the Cloister was forever but we met an interesting, chatty British couple, who we kept running into for the rest of the morning. The husband had worked in Portugal for quite a while and had some interesting insights.
King Manuel erected this monastery as a thank you to the explorers of Portugal. Interesting that, except for the stained glass, the buildings were unharmed in the 1755 earthquake/tsunami. Besides the beautiful architecture, there was a fascinating museum that housed a three
level time line...world history, Portugal history, and Monastery history. To remind us how old Europe is, US history began in the last 1/4 of the circle.
The beautiful church, as well as the cloister, was a Gothic/Moorish architectural style called Manueline. Lots of ornate doo-dads. Vasco do Gama is buried here, as is the poet/author Luis de Camoes. A military service had taken place earlier in the morning, so much of the church was still off limits. It was cool to see all of the branches of the Portuguese services leaving while we were on line.
The four of us met up at Starbucks for coffee and fresh custard tarts from Pasteis de Belem. So delish. Gave us the strength to find our lunch.
Monument to the Discoveries: This riverside monument is pretty impressive. Honoring Henry the Navigator, and originally constructed for the 1940's World's Fair and renovated in 1960, is shaped like a giant ship. On either side is a row of explorers, kings, poets, priests, soldiers, and, the only woman, Henry's mom. They even included the guy who accidentally discovered Brazil when he went a bit too far right while sailing around Africa. From the
top of the 6 story structure, the view of the courtyard map of the explorations is very cool.
The parks around the Belem monuments and museums are full of tall trees, beautiful plants, and fountains. The view of the riverside and harbor add to the peacefulness. Uber home. We need to rest up for Fado tonite!
The area of Bairro Alto is full of narrow cobblestone streets that a car can barely pass through. Tame and full of shopping, in the day, it transforms come night time. Clubs and restaurants open up and the music is everywhere. After trying to get into the more well known Fado clubs, we settled on a place to get a light bite for dinner and a bit of local music. We saw three singers, all different. Fado is a developed taste but after a bit of wine and maybe shots of Ginjinha, we were all joining in with the livelier songs. So proud to be up late with the cool kids!
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