Notices

A fun day in Belem

Reply

Jun 30th, 2012, 09:12 AM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 191
A fun day in Belem

We were two couples traveling together in Lisbon, May 2012. We took the Carris bus over to Belem from Marques de Pombal area. It was easy and there was no need to go into the touristy area to catch the tram. We got off the bus at the first stop in Belem which put us a few feet away from the Coach Musuem. As we entered there was a sign which said that there were tours in English until 12 N. We got there at 12:20PM. Just as we were looking at our watches, a pretty young girl spoke to us and said she would be glad to give us the tour. Nice! The tour was quite enjoyable. The guide's English was quite good. It was fun to piece together some of the historical facts we had learned from our day in Sintra and our walking tour with the Lisbon Walkers. We were wow-ed by the coaches- especially the ones given as gifts and the ones intended to show the political clout. Amazing. I had never considered coaches as a form of propaganda to the masses. "Look, look here and see my power, my importance, my wealth!" I guess in today's world, the equivalent would be one of those $250,000 cars none of us normal people can afford. And, interestingly- there was a coach with bullet holes from the assassination of King Carlos and his son. It was very reminiscent of JFKennedy. We probably spent nearly two hours there.
Then we walked along the same street to a quick photo op of the sentries in front of the Palace. When we were there the sentries were standing in front of their guard boxes with their eyes at half mast. Onward to the St Jeronimos church in the Manueline style. Be aware that there are gypsies and nuns trying to sell stuff before you get into the church. And, you have to practically leap over the beggars. All three factions are trying to get some coins. We looked all around inside the church. It is massive and there is much to look at and photograph. Afterwards, we went into the little garden. The gypsy women were in there, too, pestering people to buy stuff they may have stolen or not, according to my Spanish friend. A sharp shake of the head will keep them away. We paid the entrance fee for the the Monastery. Boy, that first view when you walk in just takes your breath away. We took photos, went upstairs to the extensive timeline display, sat in the grass, and just wandered for probably another hour or more. Don't miss the confessional box. I am just guessing, but it looks like the sinner has to be kneeling on the stone floor to talk into the floor level box which contains the priest.
At this point, we wanted a snack and a brew so we continued down the same street and crossed over to the Cultural Center. The Cultural Center is a huge building with wide open "plaza" type areas. We walked up first flight of stairs, across an open area, up more stairs and across another open area---(we passed artisan shops which we meant to go back and see, but did not) and finally we found the cafeteria on the left. I knew there was a cafeteria but I did not realize that there was a lovely outside area with tables and chairs and a perfect view of the Navigators/Discovery Monument, the bridge, and the Christ statue, too! We had a sub type sandwich and a beer. Then we relaxed with a Port and a gelato. This is the life. Those of us who are sun worshippers sat in the sun and those of us who are shade people relaxed under an umbrella. Lovely day with a slight breeze. I would have thought that this place would be packed with people but not so. There were mostly students with their heads tucked into laptops and a few tourists.
We finally decided to move so we went back to the front of the building, crossed the green space going away from the Monastery, and found the stairs going down under the broad main street toward the river. We crossed over to the other side and visited the monument. It is really lovely. Every face is fascinating. The little stone plaza has a lovely pattern. We probably spent 15 or 20 minutes photographing the area and watching the activity on the river.
Continuing on, we walked along that side of the boulevard toward the Belem tower and eventually one of us needed a bathroom stop. Fortunately, the Altus Hotel and Spa was conveniently located just for us. I knew they had a cafe and bar but they also had an outside area with leather loungers and waitstaff. We had another beer and soaked in the luxury. Yes, the beers were more expensive but it was a nice upscale resting spot. Most of the other patrons looked to be locals on dates or stopping by after work. Very quiet and very nice. By the way, they have black toilet paper in the rest rooms. Too funny.
We continued our way toward the tower then saw some vendor sheds which were still open. So we had to go and see what they had. I bought one of those typical Portuguese roosters which was also a bottle stopper and pourer. It will look cute on my stove side balsamic vinegar bottle. Of course, by now we decided to stop at the last little cafe and patio. To be fair we had to try their beer and empanadas. We stayed until they closed at 2030hrs while some of us wandered down to the tower and back.
Finally, the day was fading, and we walked back toward the coach musuem area after crossing up and over the main bouelvard on a pedestrian bridge. We found our bus stop going back to Marques de Pombal and caught the 727 bus back home. A lovely day.
lynclarke is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 30th, 2012, 12:06 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,542
Sounds like a great day! Can you post a link to your photos?
joannyc is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 30th, 2012, 12:15 PM
  #3
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 22,516
Thanks for the report. I, too, found the Coach Museum more interesting than I expected. In fact, I wouldn't have gone if it hadn't been free (Sunday until 2:00) and that would have been a mistake. Can't get enough of the Monasterio...
thursdaysd is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 30th, 2012, 02:26 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,979
Lynclarke, great description of a beautiful area. St. Geronimos is fabulous. What I remember most is the nautical motifs, including the rope pattern around the pillars.

You guys really had quite a day…
latedaytraveler is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 30th, 2012, 06:34 PM
  #5
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 191
joannyc- be glad to post photos---but I do not know how to do that!!!
lynclarke is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 30th, 2012, 07:12 PM
  #6
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 12,471
nice report!
lincasanova is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 30th, 2012, 09:47 PM
  #7
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,542
Lynclarke, you can upload your photos to one of a number of online places, e.g., picaso, winkflash, etc. Then, from he album you create, you can post the link here.
joannyc is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 1st, 2012, 06:05 AM
  #8
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,224
Thanks. I think I will take my 14 year old niece there for a day trip. And then a treat of pastry!!
Sher is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 1st, 2012, 06:19 AM
  #9
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 191
Sher- When we passed the "famous" pastry shop Casa Pasteis de Belem- there were dozens of people standing outside in the street waiting to get in! This shop may or may not be the originators of the custard pastries but these pastries are available everywhere. Standing in line for them 30 minutes in NUTS! Just proves what good advertising can do for a business. If you are going to Sintra- try Pastelaria Gregorio, Ave D Francisco de Almeida. GREAT Natas - better than Belem! (Directions to shop in Sintra--leave the train station, turn right as you go out the door, walk up the street the station is on - up the hill, take first right, the shop is about two blocks up on your left).
joannyc- I will try the photo link thingy
lynclarke is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 1st, 2012, 06:33 AM
  #10
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 191
ok Joannyc - here it is
http://lynclarke.winkflash.com
lynclarke is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 1st, 2012, 07:18 AM
  #11
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 12,471
lynclarke and everyone wanting to go to the pastry shop in Belem. THAT LINE IS FOR CARRYOUT ONLY!!

Just walk in the side door and take a SEAT. You will be served and can have some delicious chocolate or whatever your fancy and not stand in line for anything. (I wish you had read my recent trip report ..you wold have known that)

I'm not sure why they don't put up a sign in english/Portuguese that says "Line is for carryout" "Enjoy table service HERE."
lincasanova is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 1st, 2012, 10:18 AM
  #12
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,542
Terrific photos! Thanks very much, Lyn!
joannyc is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 1st, 2012, 10:25 AM
  #13
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 12,471
Nice report and photos. Thank you!
lincasanova is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 2nd, 2012, 01:51 AM
  #14
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,224
lyclarke. It is hard for me to believe that Sintra has better pastry then Belem.
BUT. Since I will be in both places I am not against trying them again, and again and maybe again!

I know that I had some other pastry that Sintra is famous for but right now the name escapes me.

I really make an effort to eat pastry every day when I am there, something that I would never do here at home.

Thanks for the photos and I will find the shop.
Sher is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 3rd, 2012, 04:45 PM
  #15
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 191
Sher- We thought the nadas in Sintra (Pastelaria Gregorio) were creamier. We had seconds and then thirds!!! Sintra is also famous for Queijadas. They are for sale in commercial packages everywhere, and of course at Pastelaria Gregorio, too.
lynclarke is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 05:20 AM.