Today we decided to explore Belém which is a little town west of Lisbon. We took the metro part of the way and then transferred to the train for the rest of the journey. As we got off the train we found a restroom in a ferry station nearby where I proceeded to be scolded in Portuguese by the cleaning woman for shaking water from my hands onto the floor. There were no paper towels…just had to laugh!
We saw the Monument to the Discoverers which was erected in 1960 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of Henry the Navigator. Then we headed over to Belém Tower. The tower was constructed as part of a defensive system and it is one of Belém's iconic symbols. It is a beautiful sight on the edge of the river. We were in need of some caffeine and a snack so we headed to the famous bakery Pasteis de Belém. The line was out the door and they have 400 seats inside so while Geno got us a drink I decided we would take them to go instead of trying to fight the crowd. They were so warm and delicious. We decided to go stand in the long line to get into the Monastery while we ate them. Well it started to rain, then it started to POUR. I mean it was POURING!!! I had a rain jacket and Geno had an umbrella but we still got pretty drenched. While it was pouring we ate our pasteis and pretended it was sunny!!! We stood in line for the Jerònimos Monastery for about 1 hour and 15 minutes…soaking wet but determined.
The Jeronimos Monestary was originally built by Henry the Navigator and then it was expanded for King Manuel I, now it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The cloister inside was an awesome sight to see the architecture is so elaborate it is like an ice cream sundae. We spent a good amount of time thinking that the rain would eventually stop…not so much. We eventually just decided to walk back to the train station in the rain. Not ideal but we stayed positive!
We decided to try an indoor activity next. Luckily Lisbon has the largest indoor aquarium in Europe. The Lisbon Oceanarium was an amazing afternoon. There is a central 2 story aquarium and all of the exhibits are built all around the main tank. It was a relaxing way to spend a rainy day.
We headed in early tonight and just had some crackers and cheese in our cabin for dinner. We were way to tired to go back out for dinner since we were out on the town for 10 hours. Tomorrow is a morning Segway tour…say a prayer!