On our second day in Lisbon, Portugal I’d planned for us to visit the city’s civil parish of Belém. To get there we took tram 15 at Cais do Sodre (€1,4 per person for a return ticket) and after about 20 minutes, we got off at the Rua de Belém.
Just a couples of meters away from the tram stop is the famous Pastéis de Belém shop and bar. I’d read online that there’s almost always a queue outside – there was – but that if you go in and grab a seat, you’ll get served almost immediately.
We were lucky to find a spot and indeed, within seconds a waiter came to take our order. I had pasteis de nata and Boyfriend just had a coffee. To be honest, I don’t know why everyone makes so much fuzz about those pastéis de nata. They were good, but I had other pastries in Portugal that were way more delicious.
Normally we take our time for a morning drink and bite, but it was so crowded and noisy at Pastéis de Belém that we left pretty quickly.
Our next stop was the Jardim Tropical at the Largo dos Jerónimos. There turned out to be a €2 entrance fee (€3 if you also wanted to visit the temporary exhibition that was going on), but because we usually like botanical gardens we decided to pay up.
I think this was the poorest botanical garden I’ve ever seen. Okay, I haven’t seen that many, but still. The garden was just not well maintained. We saw a dead bird or two, there were empty spots were you would expect plants, the water of the ponds was pretty dirty and well, it just couldn’t charm me at all.
Because of that I didn’t take a lot of pictures, but I’ll show you some I did take (although I don’t feel they’re representative, as I tried to take tome nice pictures, of course).
What was impressive, was the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos. We didn’t go in, but this building is huge and looked well maintained.
From there we walked on passed the Museu Nacional de Arqueologia and the Museu de Marinha to the water…
… where we checked out the Padrão dos Descobrimientos, an impressive monument honoring the grand explorers of the 15th and 16th century.
In the background of the picture above you can see the famous 25 de Abril Bridge over de Tejo river. Although it looks a lot like the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, its design was actually based on that of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, a bridge near the Golden Gate Bridge.
When it was inaugurated in 1966 the bridge was named the Salazar Bridge, in honor of the Prime Minister of Portugal. Not long after the military coup of 1974 the bridge was renamed ’25 de Abril’, after the day on which the Carnation Revolution had started.
From the Padrão dos Descobrimientos you can already spot the Tower of Belém. Definitely a charming building, but again we didn’t go in. I think that after Sintra we felt like no other castle-like structures on that trip would live up to what we’d seen there.
We had lunch by the water and then decided to go ‘hang’ a bit at the park Praça Alfonso de Albuquerque. It was so hot that day and we enjoyed just having an ice cream and watching other people in the park. There actually was a large group of Flemish guys playing sports, so we halfy eaves dropped on them and followed their game.
We returned to our hostel at the start of the evening to get ready for dinner, but you already know how that went.