Day 8 – Lisbon

We started out in Lisbon with a view from Parque Eduardo VII to the Tagus River.

As we headed towards the water, we saw the cross on a hill on the other side of the river. It is the Santuário de Cristo Rei, inspired by a similar cross in Rio and constructed in thanks that Portugal was spared the devastation of World War II.

We stopped at the Jerónimos Monastery, a National Monument that was classified a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. The interior was not included in the tour!

So we did not go in, but charged off to the Antigua Cafeiteria de Belem. This our guide said produced the best Pastéis de Belém, little tarts, based on an ancient recipe which only four people know, and they can’t travel together. Perhaps another embellishment?

Again the long lines to get in the door meant that many others had heard the same story.

Tarts like this are everywhere in Portugal, but these are the best ones we’ve had yet.

All the bathroom and stall walls are covered with a wallpaper called the “sexiest paper on earth.” I didn’t see much sexy about this paper, but I liked it a lot.

After our delicious little snack, we visited an area down by the river, where we stopped by a monument dedicated to the people of the age of discovery.

One of our tour members mentioned that there is no recognition of the negative aspects of the age of discovery, as in the transatlantic slave trade and the annihilation of indigenous peoples.

Our guide introduced each figure, one by one: Henry the Navigator, Vasco de Gama, Magellan, and so on.

Could this be San Francisco Bay? Could be, but nope, it’s Lisbon.

A very large stone map of the world embedded in the pavilion shows the routes Portuguese explorers took in their journeys.

And the dates they arrived. Here’s the Cape of Good Hope

Next on our walking tour, we passed by a vintage Ginjinha shop where for generations customers have come away with a tiny glass of the very strong liquor.

The plaza in front of the Church of St. Dominic has a horrific history. The church was the home of the Inquisition. In 1506 a Christian mob massacred thousands of New Christians (previously converted Jews). This monument is in memory of that event.

The church’s interior shows the fire damage inflicted in 1959, this after the church was damaged in two earthquakes: 1531 and 1755. Some people consider the church cursed because of its role in the Inquisition.

Our Lady of Fatima with two of the little shepherds to whom she appeared.

Lots of Africans around this square. We don’t hear much about African immigration to Portugal, but there it is. I saw many more when I took a wrong route and headed up a very steep street, thinking I was going to the tram stop. I soon figured it out and retraced steps.

I wanted to take the vintage yellow tram car, but so did everyone else, so I skipped it.

I started walking and came across a very nice cafe in a leafy corner where I had a lemonade.

I then headed for the Avenida del Liberdad where the entire length was filled with booths selling both new and vintage objects.

Given I’m just starting out and space is limited, I had decided not to buy anything, but I could not pass up these little bird whistles.

I have a collection from throughout the world. I was told in Matera that they were brought back home by pilgrims to show that they had visited Jerusalem. True or not, I collect them. Here in Portugal they’re called Passaninhos.

I then thought to stop in at a place called Mamma’s Shelter, which I thought would be some kind of social service organization, but which is a hotel and restaurant combined. Quite the decor, apparently for nightly clubbing.

This evening we went to a fado bar where we enjoyed the plaintive traditional songs of Portugal.

Tomorrow we leave Portugal for Spain.

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