Thursday, September 12, 2013

Day 12 - Visit to Belem, Piri Piri Chicken, Out for night of fashion week in Lisbon.

Day 12 - September 12, 2013

This morning we took a ride on the number 15 tram to Belem, a civil parish in the Lisbon district.  The name "Belem" is Portuguese for Bethlehem.   It's a small area known for it's monuments and history and is also situated at the mouth of the Tagus River  on the west side of the April 25th Bridge.
We started our walk through Belem at the Jeronimos Monestary which was originally built by Henry the Navigator to help pilgrims who traveled to the region.

Jeronimos Monastery

Over time, this structure served as the church for seafaring adventurers, and now has been named an UNESCO World Heritage Site with the Archaeological and Maritime Museums now a part of the monument.

The monastery looking down to the Archaeological and Maritime Museum

We continue our walk through The Vasca de Gama Garden where we stopped to sit under the shade trees on our way to our next Belem monument.  We were sitting next to a colorful pavilion that was a gift from the Thai government to Portugal.  It celebrates 500 years of diplomatic relations between them.

The Thai Pavilion in Vasco de Gama Garden

Our next stop on the walk was at The Monument of the Discoveries, known in Portuguese as the Padrao dos Descobrimentos.  This monument, completed in 1960, was built to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of Henry the Navigator.  It celebrates the Portuguese Age of Discovery during the 15th and 16th centuries.

Monument of The Discoveries looking out to sea

Monument of Discoveries looking back towards Lisbon

From this point we took a pleasant leisurely stroll along the river on to our next point of interest, The Tower of Belem. Another lighthouse, beautiful palm trees, and a replica of a 1917 biplane border the pedestrian way.

Fairey IIIB Bi-Plane- a floatplane bomber
Part of family of British reconnaissance biplanes

Our last monument stop, The Tower of Belem, was envisioned by John II of Portugal as a defense system to the region and then elaborated on by Manuel I of Portugal to guard the port of Belem.

Tower of Belem

We came to the end of this journey and walked across the bridge to get Tram No. 15 back.  As we crossed the bridge, we had a photo opportunity of the train we've taken between Lisbon and Cascais.

From here, we picked up a few grocery items, caught the tram to get us back to the apartment.  Stopping momentarily to put away our groceries, we then headed to finally partake in some Piri Piri Chicken.  It was good but the sauce is quite hot (spicy) so I ate it plain. Have to say it wasn't as good as the roasted chicken we had at a little place next to our apartment in Seville, Spain.  Nothing could top that! 

Finally we ventured out at night.  It's fashion week and tonight was the big celebration.  The streets in Lisbon were full of people, music, drinks, and some chaos.  We took a walk to a restaurant we plan on eating at, Grapes and Bites.  It's a quaint little place with all different Portuguese wines and different menu items such as Portuguese cheeses and sausages, full meals, and sweets.  The music venue in the place was very current and pleasant.  Afterwards, we walked down by the river and just sat in the little square looking out at Cristo Rei and Cacilhas lit up, taking in the breeze.  Now were back at the apartment, getting ready to call it a night.  At this point after 12 days, we've walked 72 1/2 miles according to our pedometer.  Pretty good!

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