One afternoon, I took the tram from Lisbon to nearby Belém, about 15-20 minutes from the city center. The location from where Portuguese voyagers set off to explore the world, Belém packs a lot of history—and grand sights—within its borders. My day trip, in photographs:
The Padrão dos Descobrimentos, a statue celebrating Portugal’s Age of Discovery, along Belém’s waterfront. (Note the Ponte 25 de Abril, the bridge connecting Lisbon to Almada, in the background. I still can’t get over its resemblance to the Golden Gate Bridge.)
For a dose of Portugal’s intricate, sumptuous Manueline architecture, head to Mosteiro dos Jerónimos. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the monastery fuses late Gothic, Plateresque, Renaissance, and classical elements, reflecting Portugal’s exploration of the world in the time of seafarers like Vasco da Gama.
In the 1800s, people of the monastery began to sell sweet pastries in a small shop. These round pastries, pastéis de nata, are crisp, flaky, and golden on the outside, with creamy, rich centers. Today, you’ll find pastelarias throughout Lisbon, though Pastéis de Belém—not far from the monastery on Rua de Belém—produces the original pastry using the ultra-secret recipe. Above, a snapshot while waiting in line.
The compact but ever-so-mighty Tower of Belém, a stroll from the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos. The tower, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was built for defense purposes in the early 16th century.
For more photographs from my trip to Portugal, check out Flickr: Lisbon.
Cheri Lucas Rowlands
Blogger at Writing Through the Fog. Story Wrangler at Automattic.