France and Portugal Vacation: 13 May 2023 - Lisbon City Walk and Mosteiro in Belém

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Saturday, May 13 - City Walk & Belém Mosteiro

The hotel was able to rearrange some breakfast times, so we got an 8:00 am slot on Saturday. Great for us, since this was our last full day on our vacation, so we wanted to make the most of it. After eating, we ventured out toward Castelo de S. Jorge, winding up a steep set of hills by trolley. We knew we weren't going to pay to go inside the castle, but unforunately we couldn't get into even the gardens around the outside without paying the entry fee. It wasn't all about the money, though – we weren't as interested in the Castle as we were in getting over to Belém again to visit the Monastery. It was a bit of a frustrating morning trying to follow the recommended walk in our guide book. There are so many millions of stairs and turns and winding streets that someone could spend a lifetime exploring them all, but we did eventually get on the right track, including stopping for some great views at a couple "miradouros" (viewpoints), Miradouro das Portas do Sol and Miradouro de Santa Luzia.

Photos from Saturday morning (3 images) Photos from Saturday morning's walk (28 images)

Finishing our walk down the hill, we took a bus along the Av. Infante Dom Henrique and the N5 along the waterfront all the way back to the Jerónimos Monastery in Belém. Unfortunately, the church itself was closed for a special event (wish we'd have known that so we could have gone in the free church part the day before!) but the cloister was open and that was Ginger's main goal anyway. Entry was free with our Lisboa card. The wait to get in was almost an hour, but even if we'd had to pay, it would have been worth every euro cent! The cloister is built in the Manueline style (a mix of medieval and Moorish styles) and is a site to behold. It's a small space with a large impact and includes a beautiful small chapel and some lovely tiled side rooms.

Photos from the Jerónimos Monastery (77 images)

And you can't go to Belém without visiting Pastéis de Belém to get some of their famous pastries! These are small, hand size custard pies all still made by hand.

Photos from around Belém (18 images)

After crossing over the train tracks, walked along the waterfront toward another famous Lisbon landmark, the suspension bridge "Ponte 25 de Abril" which links Lisbon with the peninsula across the bay. We caught a bus back to the Cais do Soudré transit station to get back to the hotel, which was a trek of its own, another steep climb up a series of hills and stairs.

After relaxing at the hotel for a bit, which of course entailed an afternoon coffee, Neil struck out on his own to visit some more sites. He took the metro a couple stops and then climbed a bunch of stairs to the Miradouro de Graça, yet another viewpoint that looked intriguing from a distance. After a short pass through the Church of Our Lady of Grace on the hilltop, it was down through a park to the metro station for another short ride. Parque Eduardo VII was the final site before dinner, a large sloping park, the top of which afforded quite a view of the city all the way down to the water. Neil was back down and on the metro in time to make it back to the hotel before 6:00.

Photos from Neil's afternoon exploration (40 images)

Shortly thereafter, we began the journey (a metro ride for two stops, then a 10-minute walk) to meet Tracey for dinner at an Italian restaurant called La Villa, situated in a park called Campo dos Mártires da Pátria. Then we walked to the nearby Mú Gelato Italiano for gelato and a chocolate torte for dessert. We took some selfies and said our goodbyes to Tracey and were on our way back to the hotel for the night. We got back after 9:00 and spent some time packing up since we were going to be checking out and getting to the airport early the next morning.

Photos from Saturday evening (23 images)

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