Abi & I decided to make the most of the morning’s gloomy weather by cruising around some of Lisbon’s renowned historical sights, in the hope that our cultural efforts would be rewarded with sunshine in the afternoon.
We headed to Belem just outside of the city centre where numerous of Lisbon’s most popular attractions are located, and where one might also just so happen to *stumble* upon a very famous Portuguese sweets shop.
Our first stop was the Jerónimos Monastery, considered by many to be the most beautiful and impressive building in all of Lisbon.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the monastery is one of the most prominent examples of the Portuguese late gothic Manueline style of architecture.
The inside of the monastery is equally as detailed & beautiful, with the elaborate tombs of Vasco da Gama and poet Luis de Camões flanking either side of the entrance.
Although, personally, it was the cloisters that I found most impressive.
^ I can’t even begin to imagine the time & skill that must have been required to make this so pretty over 600 years ago.
I think we can all agree that sightseeing is tough work.
Abi & I crossed the road and joined the snaking queue outside Pasteis de Belem.
I waited (im)patiently to get my hands on what I had heard on the grapevine were the crème da la crème of Portuguese custard tarts.
Before long we had had our turn and were strolling through the park with our goodie bag in hand in search of the perfect spot to enjoy our treats.
Bench found, it was time to put these little eggy puffs to the test.
Against her wishes, Abi was up first.
Considering she dislikes both sweet pastries and egg (bad Asian!), the custard tart was never going to be a big hit, but I wanted to capture her full reaction before tasting them myself.
^ The look of pure satisfaction.
It’s fair to say that she wasn’t a fan, but as a gal that LIKES both sweet pastries and egg, I could fairly judge that they were a decent dessert, just not really my thing.
Fuelled for the next few hours, we crossed the road to see the Monument to the Discoveries.
Before proceeding to walk along the port to the Tower of Belém.
The tower is another UNESCO World Heritage Site due to the significant role it played in the Portuguese maritime discoveries.
It was commissioned by King John II to be part of a defense system at the mouth of the Tagus river and a ceremonial gateway to Lisbon.
^ With pretty decent views.
With the sun starting to make some welcomed appearances, we headed back to the town centre and decided to put our tourist caps on, hopping on the famed Tram 28 through the Alfama Quarter.
The Alfama Quarter is most famous for its narrow streets & staircases, but it also has a few wide places where churches and sightseeing points help to observe the intricate maze of houses and colourful confusion of roofs.
The Alfama is also Lisbon’s oldest district, and consequently one of the city’s most appealing neighbourhoods.
It has a Mediterranean atmosphere, but with a distinctive Portuguese touch, namely the ubiquitous azulejos (tiles).
All that touristing earned us a damn good treat, and so without a moment’s hesitation we entered Lisbon’s Time Out Food Market.
A lofty, chilled space with plenty of seating and an even wider selection of amazing foods to sample.
Seriously, you could go on holiday and eat breakfast, lunch and dinner just there and you would leave one foodie-satisfied camper. Just check out the reviews.
With dinner not toooo far away Abi & I decided to keep it relatively light, opting to share a fresh charcuterie board and simple (but sensational) tomato, mozzarella and basil salad.
That said, we couldn’t resist the crispy pork belly… all I can say is #NOREGRETS.
It was juicy and crunchy and everything it should be.
Promise me you’ll go if you’re ever in Lisbon!