This morning Becca and I ventured into the famous neighborhood of Belém, which is about four miles outside Lisbon’s city center along the river. We hopped onto a crowded tram and hopped off in front of the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos (the Monastery of Jerónimos). Unfortunately we could only get into the cloisters area because the church was closed for Sunday mass. I’m kind of mad about that, too, because Vasco da Gama was buried in the church. Oh well.
After walking through the open sections of the monastery, we decided to peruse a fantastic little flea market in one of Belém’s gardens. I got a great pair of cameo earrings and a couple of other trinkets for people I love back home. There were so many great things to buy but I just don’t have enough space in my suitcase.
From there we came to the Padrão dos Descobrimentos, which is a monument on the Tagus River for Portugal’s many maritime discoveries. It was neat to see the monument in person after seeing photos of it in my History of Brazil class last semester. I had no idea how MASSIVE it really is. Becca and I also took a lift to the top of the Padrão and got a beautiful aerial view of Belém Tower, the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, and the rest of Lisbon.
To finish off our visit to the neighborhood, we ordered four pastéis de Belém and two glasses of freshly-squeezed orange juice at a famous café in the area with lines outside the door. SO WORTH IT. I now know what all the hype is about, and I can recommend them to anybody visiting Lisbon in the future!