Whether they're small weekend trips, or week-long holidays, here's a blog to help you do more than two vacations!

Lisbon’s Manueline Architecture

Torre de Belem terrace overlooking Rio Tejo

On the west end of the city lies the sprawling buildings that creates the distinctive Portuguese touch to the decor – Manueline Architecture. I was wondering why I haven’t heard of this type of architecture, and I cite two main reasons: the style was limited to Portugal and its colonies; and it lasted a relatively short time (approximately 30 years). I couldn’t find the words to describe it, but Wikipedia captures the essence perfectly as “sumptuous…bridging Gothic and Renaissance.”

Monastery columns at Jeronimos

Providing inspiration to Calatrava for his train station, the monastic cloisters at Sao Jeronimos is definitely worth a visit. You might find the elaborately designed crypt of Vasco do Gama very interesting as well.

Ceiling designs at Jeronimos

Just outside the garden plaza is a monument to commemorate the golden age of discovery of the 16th century as led by the Portuguese; you may remember a certain Ferdão do Magalhães (that’s Ferdinand Magellan to us) that ‘discovered’ us in 1521. At the end of the river promenade is the Torre de Belem, a watchtower that initially was at the middle of the mouth of the Rio Tejo, but has now been integrated with the rest of its northern flank. Climb the dizzying and narrow spiral staircase to have a sweeping view of the river and the 19 de Abril bridge. On Sundays and holidays, the €5 entrance fee is waived until 2pm (unfortunately, I took at a photo at the entrance of the tower, delaying me by a minute – d’oh!).

Yachts surrounding the monument celebrating the Portugal's great legacy of exploration

Torre de Belem

Finally, to recharge your weary bones, conclude the trip with a visit to Pasteis de Belem, a world-famous bakery selling Portuguese tarts. The custard-filled tarts are a well-kept secret (only 3 people know it, I heard), but reputation of the bakery isn’t – queues all the way around the next block are not uncommon. Whilst waiting for a table you can walk around the restaurant at marvel at the azulejo-filled walls depicting the history of the famous Portuguese sweets. Just a note of difference the tarts’ crusts are crispy, instead of the crumbly Macau versions I am used to.

The tarts need vigorous sprinkling of sugar (as if they were not sweet enough)

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One response

  1. Diogo Almeida

    amazing time Ronnie!

    15 November 2011 at 07:58

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