Another vacation post. This all happened on Nov. 9.
The goal today was Belem, a suburb 3 km west of downtown Lisbon. The books say to take tram 15 from downtown. But it seemed to me that taking the subway to Cais de Sodre and jumping on the train would be easier. The train ticket machines have outsmarted me every time I’ve tried to use them. Today was no exception. Apparently I’m not the only one. There was a worker at the ticket machine trying to help tourists. His idea of help was to tell us to go “up the rolley stairs” and outside and get on the tram. Right. So much for free thinking. But, I am banishing the word “escalator” from my vocabulary and replacing it with “rolley stairs.”
When you get on the tram you are supposed to swipe your metro card. Stupid tourists only figure this out after riding for several stops and therefore ride to Belem for free. Shame on us.
Our first stop was the Jerónimos Monastery. This place is huge. It took three pictures to get the whole length of the building.
When you go in you start at a courtyard. There are rooms all around two levels.
Everything is carved. Doesn’t this look like a quilt?
There are some refectories and tombs. There was a very nice display showing timelines. The top is the history of the world. The middle one is the history of the building. The bottom is the history of Portugal. It shows when the tram line started. The picture is of a horse drawn wagon with a big 15 on it. I guess they really are serious about getting the tourists on tram 15.
When you get upstairs there is a choir loft overlooking the main church. I wanted to then get down to the main church. Lots of people were on the main floor of the church. For the life of us we could not figure out how to get there. Hundreds of other people had figured it out but I went around the courtyard twice on both levels with no luck. I asked a guard and still couldn’t figure it out. I asked a ticket taker and he finally told me to go outside of the paid area and there was the entrance. Who’d have guessed? I guess everyone but us.
Vasco de Gama was even buried here.
Then we wandered down to the Belem tower. There was a guy pretending to be a statue. I was staring at him and he doffed his hat and bowed to me. We didn’t go into the tower.
We had lunch at a cafeteria by the tower because it had my two favorite Dutch words – “Hagen Daz”. I had a vegetarian lasagna. In addition to food we got a voucher to go to the bathroom. That was sweet.
There was a tunnel under the main road and train tracks. I won’t mention that we didn’t find that until on the way back. Stupid tourists.
We went to the coach museum. It is located in a former royal riding school.
There were lots of carriages including some very ornate ones that were gifts from Popes. Those ones tended to have scantily clad women. There were also sedan chairs. I decided that that is what has been missing in my life. A sedan chair. The SO had been asking what I wanted for my birthday so I asked for a sedan chair carried by two buff men who don’t like a wear a lot of clothes. He said no so I offered to share their labor by letting them paint the house. He still said no.
Walking back we saw some guards and figured out that the President’s house was attached to the carriage museum.
We went to Pastis de Belem which is a bakery that invented a type of pastry. We had one each. It was ok but not the best thing ever. Starbucks was next door. We went there for a drink since we spek the international language of Starbucks. Macchiato and frappucino are the same everywhere. They couldn’t figure out my name though. When they wrote it down it turned out to be EDER. I could save so much time if I skipped all those extra letters.
There is a park along to river that is very nice. We ate there. Then we caught the tram back to Lisbon. I paid this time but the SO didn’t have enough on the card so he stole another ride.
We went back on the subway to our normal stop downtown but came up the wrong stairs and ended up in another part of town. We wandered a bit and ended up at the Church of Sao Roque. It is very ornate inside. This is just one of the side chapels.
Then we found the Port Wine Institute but it is closed for remodeling.
A quick ride down the funicular across the street from the Institute took use to the restaurant district. We jumped on the subway back to the hotel because the SO wanted to go to the restaurant we went to the first night. This was a challenge because we were lost when we found that restaurant but I found it again. Too bad it was closed. We wandered around and around and found an Italian restaurant. I had gnocchi with gorgonzola cream sauce.
We found a bakery on the way back. Now I’m eating this pink meringue thing that tastes like Frankenberries. Yummy!!
10.03 miles walked today