Lisbon and Belem

Jeronimos Monastery

We arrived in Lisbon around 12:00pm, as planned. After taking the airport bus, we found our hotel with the help of the GPS. The hotel is cool; its decorated in a traditional-meets-contemporary style.  

We dropped our stuff to go explore Lisbon.  The overcast sky combined with fog gave a fuzzy, dream-like effect to the busy city.  The smoke from vendors cooking chestnuts on the street made the air seem even thicker.  Trams run up and down the steep roller coaster-like streets. We hopped on tram 15 along the waterfront to the Belem area to visit Jeronimos Monastery.  It is a great example of Portuguese architecture from the late Gothic period (Manueline architecture).   The monastery included a chapel and courtyard.  The chapel featured impressive stone columns and colourful, detailed stained glass.  The courtyard also had impressive, ornate stone work but it was smaller than we expected from photos. 

We also visited the Belem tower.  It’s a four story tower built of limestone. It was used to defend the mouth of the harbour leading to Lisbon. The tower is  located just off the shore, surrounded by water on all sides (you get to it using a wooden walkway). 

A bridge, very much like the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco spans the harbour. We read that it was actually created by the same company.  

We headed back to the hotel just after dark. What A Christmas light show! A huge Christmas tree made of lights lit up a large square. The main streets were arched by lighted designs.  Each street had different designs and colour schemes. However we didn’t spend too much time enjoying it because I was exhausted and hungry. Time for laundry and bed!

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