Lisbon – The banks of the Tagus River

Esse post em Português

Click here to see the map with all of the points mentioned in this post.

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Market Square (Praça do Comércio)

Many Brazilians have a distorted view of Portugal, and I was no different. In school, we are taught that Portugal explored Brazil. What is still true, however, Portugal was doing what all ruler countries did at the time. This was the mentality of the decade. (Post about Portugal Empire and Brazil Colony here.)

Resultant of this feeling, Portugal was not on my list of countries to visit. All changed when I visited Portugal to help my boyfriend choose a college in Porto. I was amazed by Portugal. I was living in Ireland for some years, being in Portugal where everybody share my native language – that I love, btw –  and the cultural is so similar to mine. Even though I do feel Ireland is home, Brazil is always be my first and loved home too.

After my first visit in 2013, I go to Portugal at least once a year. I have visit cities from Braga to Algarve, I have lived in Coimbra for three months, I have been in Sintra, Aveiro, Cascais and some other cities. So at this point I’m pretty sure you  noticed I love Portugal, right?

Lisbon

Lisbon is such a complete city: incredible for those who like history, good for those who like to party and nightlife, great for those who like good food and divine desserts, fantastic for those who like architecture, have an immensity of activities like concerts, performances etc. A city with efficient and functional public transport… and the icing on the cake, Lisbon is an extremely cheap city when compared to other European cities. Monthly groceries for 150 euros is is not something out of reality and in Lisbon.

Clear blue sky most of the time, it rarely rains in Lisbon. The summer is extremely hot, great for going to the beach. The winter is quite pleasant and the temperature is around 17 ° C – which is considered summer for many European countries.

The banks of the Tagus River – the walk guide

  • Underground station to the beginning of the walk: Terreiro do Paço – Blue Line
  • One day is enough to do this visits.

The Tagus is a river of historical importance. It was from there that many caravels departure to explore the new world, including the one that arrived in Brazil in 1500. So changing the history of the entire world.

Departing from the Market Square (Praça do Comércio) heading to the bridge April 25, there are many things to visit.

Market Square (Praça do Comércio)

Historical note: On November 1, 1755, Lisbon was practically destroyed by a sequence of disasters: an earthquake, a Tsunami, and many fires points. Much of what is listed on this guide was completely destroyed and rebuilt after the disasters.

The commercial square is a large courtyard, surrounded by a building on three sides forming an incomplete square,  the missing facet of the square building is the entrance of the city by the river Tagus. In the extreme opposition of the river is the Triumphal Arch of  Augusta street that is the entrance to the Baixa, which in Portuguese translation is something like the center of the city.

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The Triumphal Arch

In the river, there is a platform that was used to defend the city, as you can see in the  image below.

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Praça do Comércio 1740. Wikipedia

Urban Beach

Walking towards the bridge April 25, you will find an urban beach. Make no mistake, although it seems very much like the sea you’re still on the banks of the Tagus River. This beach has an inclined area to lie down making the spot a great place to lie down and relax.

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Kiosk

There is a kiosk, not far from the urban beach, where you can buy a refreshments,  enjoying the scenery and if you are lucky enough enjoy some live music.

Shortcut or walking?

This is a decision point of the tour: Walk to the Jeronimos Monastery and see beautiful landscapes or get a train/bus to the Monastery. The total walk from Cais de Sodré to the Monastery is 5.5km, approximately 1h and 30m walk.

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On the way to Belem

The bus/train options are:

  • Buses: 727, 28, 729, 714 and 751
  • Tran: 15
  • Train: Belém station

It is also possible to walk up to as far as you can go and call a cab or take a train. The way of the train is parallel to the Tagus.

The famous Portuguese custard tarts, Pastel de Belém, the original!

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There are two names for this sweet Pastel de Belém and Pastel de Nata. There is also a reason for that and Portuguese people really respect the rules here. If you are in Belém, Portugal, the correct name is Pastel de Belém. If you are anywhere else the correct name is Pastel de Nata. The two are the same, it’s just a matter of the name.

The Pastel de Nata / Belém is the most famous Portuguese sweet around the world. It is made with a puff-like cone, very crunchy, stuffed with egg yolk, vanilla, and sugar that melts in the mouth, gratin to the oven so that it is crunchy on the top. You can or cannot sprinkle a bit of cinnamon, I highly recommend that tho.

A great place to eat this sweet is on pastelaria de Belém , it is one of the oldest places that serving this sweet.

Pastel de Belém, the history behind the sweet.

Many years later, the nuns used the whites of the eggs to iron clothes of the priests and the rest pf the eggs was wasted. It was then that fortunately, they began to make sweets with the remains of the eggs. That’s why many Portugues sweets are made with egg yolks. The result was sweets like the Pastel de Belém, fios de ovos, ovos moles, Brisa de Liz…  Thanks nuns!

Jerónimos Monastery

The Jerónimos Monastery is located almost on the corner of the Belém Pastel. The Monastery, built in the 16th century, belongs to the Catholic religious order of St. Jerónimos. Visitation is allowed.

  • The individual ticket costs 10 €. Student and people over 65 have discount on the ticket.
  • Opening time: October to April 10 to 17:30 / May to September: 10 to 18:30

Unfortunately, I don’t have many pictures of the inside. I decided to take ome time of mine to admire the place. I can  guarantee that place is incredibly beautiful and I recommend the tour. I promise to go back someday, take some pictures and update this post. 😉

Monument to the Discoveries

Close to the Jerónimo Monastery is the Monument to the Discoveries, also known as Monument to the Navigators and Monument of the Discoveries. This monument was built for the memory of the golden age of Portugal, the time of the sea exploration, which resulted in the ‘discovery’ of many lands including Brazil.

The monument is shaped like a Portuguese caravel and is populated by several important names for the history of Portugal such as Vasco da Gama, King Afonso V, Pedro Alvares Cabral among others. All aligned in the caravel and being guided by Henry, the navigator, an important persona for the era of the discoveries.

Even near the monument, on the ground, it is possible to find on the floor the design of a Wind Rose.

Another very interesting place for those who like history

See ya in the next post.

Brazilian view about Portugal – Brazil colony

I am Brazilian and many people do not even know that we were colonized by Portugal and we speak Portuguese. So before we start, I will give you a background of Brazil colony’s history. We are the only country in South America that speaks Portuguese that’s because we were ruled by Portugal.

In 1500, the navigator Pedro Álvares Cabra, trying to discover a faster route to the Indies, and discovered Brazil. Already at this point, there are many discordances since there were already people living in Brazil, who were called Indians – because they think they were in India. Thus, many people like to call this ‘the arrival of Portugal in Brazil’ and not as the discovery itself.

The soil of Brazil is extremely rich, naturally abundant and diverse and Portugal made a lot of money with Brazil. So, in 1808, the King of Portugal, D. João VI, fled from a Napolean invasion to Brazil. The escape was made during the night and the king brought with him all the Portuguese court and the riches of the country.

In 1821, due to the revolt of Porto, the king of Portugal had to return to Portugal in order not to lose his Portuguese reign. However, Brazil was ‘the apple of the eye’ of Portugal. When he left, Dom João left his son in Brazil, the then Dom Pedro IV. Pressed by rebellions proclaimed the independence of Brazil on September 7, 1822, on the banks of the Ipiranga River, in São Paulo. D. Pedro IV then became to be also called as D. Pedro I, the first emperor of Brazil.

These are facts, but the way we learn the history of Brazil colony in schools makes it seem that Portugal was a country that did everything to destroy Brazil. For that reason, Portugal was never on my list of places to visit. Interesting enough I noticed that many of my friends have this very same impression of Portugal. They consider anywhere in Europe to visit but rarely Portugal.

I remember my teacher saying: “Brazil was a colony of exploration, while countries like the United States were a settlement colony”. This is the Brazilian’s excuse for everything bad that happens in Brazil today. That we were colonized in the wrong way.

If that were true, Australia, which between 1788 and 1868 was practically the English jail, would be an absurdly insecure country. We all know that reality is quick different. Following this logic, Germany which was destroyed after the First World War (1914-1918), would never rise again. It would never have been strong enough to start World War II (1939-1945), be destroyed again, rise once more. The Germans, command the block that was created focused to prevent them from getting stronger once again. It seems that did not work very well. Or well enough to the Germans. LOL

Of course, I’ve used only countries that have managed to overcome, reinvent and succeed. Some might think  ‘but Andrea, what about India, for example?’ Well, there are a few differences between Brazil and India, more than the routes, Portugal knows that now LOL.  India was a very rich country until the arrival of the British. The result and the reflection of the English police are still there. However, India got independent of England in 1947, Brazil became independent from Portugal in 1822. Before being a colony of England, India was a colony of Portugal, Holland, and France. The first being Portugal in 1498. Do you see the difference?

Another point that people love to talk about the Brazil Colony period is exploration. They play blind to the fact that at this time there was no colony based on friendship, loyalty and fraternity. Exploration was a thing of the time and it is very easy to read history and blame the past.

They also say that D. João left Brazil with Brazilian money, but remember that he did the very same with Portugal in 1808. Does it make things right for the Brazilians? NO! But Brazil is not the poor, single and lonely victims within a sea of ​​good deeds of the time.

In fact, some members of the crown were very fond of Brazil, excluding Carlota Joaquina who hated our land. There are some documents that lead the historians to believe that the crown was already considering moving to Brazil even before the Napoleonic threat.

Some Brazilians like to say they would rather have been ruled by the British. Oh well, Britain colonies were no better. The English of that time felt superior to all other races. In Ireland, the neighboring island, they treated the Irish as inferiors and killed those who speak in Gaelic Irish. In India, they were treated like animals. ‘Coincidentally’ all the countries that were dominated by England and that rebelled somehow suffered hunger and had the population considerably reduced. The Great Potato Hunger of Ireland, 1845-1849, killed 3/4 of the Irish population.  And let’s not start with the wars… So, Portugal was not good for Brazil as they could have been, but could be worse.

A good book to read about the history of Brazil and Portugal is the trilogy of Laurentino Gomes that begins with D. João fled to Brazil. A book based on facts and without pulling sides. (Books: 1808, 1822 and 1889)

Nowadays…

Much has changed since Brazil became independent. Many say that for the worse, many say it was for the best. The point is that something noticeable happens when you go to Portugal, when a country was ruled by another you expect that the colony consumes more of the rulers… It does not happen in Portugal.

The Portuguese consume the Brazilian culture much more than the Brazilians do the Portuguese. It is very easy to find Brazilian stores in Portugal, Brazilian food, soap operas, music, art…

But what makes me think how unfair we are when we think that they played us is that the Portuguese say Brazil and Portugal are brother countries! Do not mistake, from all the Portuguese colonies Brazil is the only one that has this kind of treatment. They have a certain admiration for Brazil.

In a way, even without knowing or affirming it loud and clear as the Portuguese do, we are brothers! Maybe we have not the entire population have aknowledged it yet. Portuguese love to meet in groups for barbecue. They like to drink beer outdoor with a lot of friends after work. They like coffee. They do not pretend feelings, they say what they think. They love sweet and fatty sweets, well-served and salty foods. They are very welcoming and friendly. They love receiving at home. All this we inherited from Portugal, these things do not happen in all countries.

Mount Congreve – Waterford Gardens, Ireland

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Este post em Português.

I have to confess with a lot guilt that I know so little about Waterford. Public transport is not great, I have to say, and many of the interesting attractions are outside the routes, so it is quite difficult to get there but some places are worth visiting.

Waterford County has the so-called Waterford Gardens. 14 gardens, the most famous being the Curraghmore house & Gardens .  I hope to visit all the 14 gardens and share it with you. Let’s start with the impressive I’ve seen so far: Mount Congreve. Continue reading “Mount Congreve – Waterford Gardens, Ireland”

Taiwan for vegetarians

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Being a vegetarian is not easy in many places, it became a challenge when you are in a place where you don’t understand the language. However, I like to think of it as part of the adventure that is to know new cultures, get out of the comfort zone and pass some fun moments.

In the first few days there, as at other times, I was lucky enough to have a local person accompanying me to the right places. One of them was vegan (Thanks, Ida), which helped a lot. She always ordered my food and sometimes I did not even know what I was eating. haha

Being open to new experiences such as these enrich not only our culture but also introduce us new flavors and options of food. Many friends have commented that they do not eat different food and I’m sorry for them. So let’s go the first cultural difference.

No onion, garlic, ginger and other vegetables for vegetarians! WHAT?

The first time I heard this was a shock to me. We were at TGIF in Taichung and I made a request, even reading the request a few times before ordering, I have the habit of confirming with the attendant if the option is really vegetarian. The answer was no. Everyone at the table started to read the option again and there was nothing that was not vegetarian there. We asked what was not vegetarian and the response was: GARLIC! I laughed and asked anyway, but everyone did not understand anything!

I was so curious about this episode that I started to research about it. The question is related to the East Asian Buddhist  religion. This religion is against the death of plants. And ingredients like potato, carrot, ginger among others are actually the root. That is, once you remove it from the ground the plant ceases to exist. Interesting, right?

I know that many find that garlic and onion are the ingredients that give flavor to food, and in fact it is. However, there are other flavors and I would say that the food I ate there was very tasty.

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It’s going to be easy….

 

Food options

A good and safe restaurant

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The best thing about going to a vegetarian restaurant is knowing that you can choose anything from the menu without bothering to read ingredient by ingredient. And reading everything can be an impossible task when you do not speak the local language.

Sufood  is a restaurant chain spread all over the island of Taiwan. The ambiance of the restaurant is great, there are several options to choose from. The service is very good and the waiters speak English.

The rice ball (紫米飯糰) – My favorite option

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It was morning and a friend gave me something dark and strange and said, ‘This is your breakfast, eat it while it’s hot. I’m going to a meeting. ‘ When she saw my expression of ‘What is it for the love of God?’  she stopped and opened the same food she had and said, ‘It’s rice and stuffed’. I honestly had never seen anything like it before and it had a weird texture.

Luckily I ate the rice ball. One of the best things I’ve eaten in Asia – and I’m considering a few other countries and not just Taiwan. The ball is made of black rice, which I already love, and stuffed with black pepper, mushroom powder, soybeans, peanuts, egg and many other things. The taste is INCREDIBLE. I really wish I had a store where I could buy it near my house!

Egg soup

Not only good surprises are made a trip! A big no for that egg soup. Guys, come on,  EGG soup *? Seriously? The food arrived and no one told me what it was made of, so I start eating it.  I hated it! After that, I was in one of those moments of life where you need to decide between doing something you don’t want do to be polite OR say you hated -politely, something like ‘It is not suitable for my taste’ – and refuse something someone gave to you.

I started with the first option, eating to be polite, but I could not get very far. So, I asked what was it and they said: Egg soup. That was it! and I gave up.

I don’t even know how to describe it, it was like water and egg. Take your chances and tried it if you dare, you might enjoy it, you never know if you don’t try!

Treats

Every morning, I had something a new food to try. My friend always arrived at the office with a bag full of treats.

I remember breaking instant noodles and adding the flavor to eat it raw when I was a child/teenager. It tastes great, but, obviously, it’s terrible to your stomach. I also remember my mom getting crazy about this. Well, this is not a problem in Taiwan once you can find it in small packs on sale at the supermarket.

Another good surprise of the trip was the spicy seaweed. It comes in individual packs, very crispy and very tasty. According to my friend this food is full of vitamin B12, something not easily found on vegetarian food.

 

Engagement cake – Xibing, 喜餅

 

 

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After learning that I got engaged, my friend gave mean engagement cake. The round cake stuffed with sweet made of  bean is a tradition in Taiwan and China and is given to the bride by friends and family.

The gift message is in the gift package and the symbol printed on the cake. In the case of my cake, as you can see in the photograph, it is the symbol of happiness. It is also accompanied by a couple. So cute!

All tea combination possible

The Taiwanese love iced tea and they have a huge variety of drink. For someone who lives in the place that tea is only black tea, hot and with milk was interesting to choose from so much interesting combination.

Tea with Yakult – Honestly it was not my order, but as soon as my friend said that her tea was with yakult I must have made a beggar’s face because she exchanged with me straight away!  500ml of yakult it was heaven!

Tea with gelatin balls – The vast majority of teas have some balls inside and are very refreshing.

Tea with Pudding – I ordered this tea because honestly, tea pudding ?! How can we not prove something so unusual? I thought it would be a pudding blended in the tea. My mistake, it was an entire pudding inside the tea. Sometimes the straw would clog because it had a whole piece of pudding coming. Imagine the strength you had to do when it happened  😂 Tastes great tho

While in Taiwan do as the Taiwanese do

My trip ‘philosophy’ is to live as close to local customs as possible. We used to have lunch at the restaurant every day, and I noticed that the other employees of the company ate some boxes at the office. So I asked to eat the same food.

It was the first time I visited the factory canteen and saw how have lunch daily. The place is great, the food was very good, so much so that I ate for two days. After eating they take a nap and a siren announces when lunch time is over.

Other random options

Some random foods that I have tried in restaurants and in the hotel.

Something I really liked and deserves your attention is the Naisu souce. The texture is similar to butter, but in fact, it is coconut paste. The other ones are noodles, omelet with tomato sauce, pickled bamboo

 

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Oh well,  not sure about you but I get very happy when I found something from my birth country (Brazil) in a place as far as Taiwan.

It’s is vegetarian right? hahaha So here it goes.

*Chachaça is a Brazilan alcohol drink used to make drinks as caipirinha. YUMMY!

 

 

See ya 🙂

*I’m vegetarian and not vegan!

Two days in Taipei – Taiwan

Esse post em Português

This was my third visit to Taiwan but the first time I spent some time free in Taipei.  Taipei, the capital of Taiwan,  is a place with incredible architecture, a very different and interesting culture and a lot of things to do.

In this post:

  • Visa – How to apply.
  • Temperature.
  • Where to stay
  • Travelling around (public transport)
  • Safety
  • Temples – Confucius and Longshan
  • Shilin Night Market
  • Taipei 101 & Damper

Continue reading “Two days in Taipei – Taiwan”

Game of Thrones Live Concert (Spoiler alert) – Miami, USA

SPOILER ALERT

Be sure that you have watched the show till the very last episode of the last season, otherwise, you will see the most important scenes at the concert (and in this video)!

Continue reading “Game of Thrones Live Concert (Spoiler alert) – Miami, USA”

Iceland – From Rotten Shark to the famous Hot Dog – Best places to eat in Reykjavík

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So, that’s it, our last stop in Iceland: Reykjavík. We were so exhausted after those days that we decided to not do any  The place looks like a model city,  so well conserved, clean, organized very nice wooden houses and very colorful areas and full of life.

While walking I saw many places and a great variety of things to do over there. Many restaurant and stores for vegetarian, yoga places, shops, restaurants etc. Maybe I was a fool with all the stereotype and  I thought that the place would be small and with not much to do – because of the amount of snow they have.

Reykjavík surprised me and I’m glad I visited this amazing city. Continue reading “Iceland – From Rotten Shark to the famous Hot Dog – Best places to eat in Reykjavík”

Iceland – Snorkel between Continents (-2º C) – Silfra

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  • Attraction price: 141.51 EUR //16.900 ISK (4rd April 2017)
  • Website: http://scuba.is/snorkeling-tours/snorkeling-in-silfra/ 
  • How to get there: They collect you in Reykjavík
  • Tour: Snorkeling in Silfra (more tour options on the website – including Diving)
  • Tour duration: 5-6 hours – guided
  • No certificate required
  • All equipment included
  • Photos and videos allowed 😀
  • Chocolate and cookies after the tour

Continue reading “Iceland – Snorkel between Continents (-2º C) – Silfra”

Iceland – Inside a natural lava cave

  • Attraction price: 53.11 EUR //6.500 ISK (29th March 2017)
  • Parking: free
  • Website: http://www.thecave.is/
  • Tour: Cave explorer (more tour options on the website)
  • Tour duration: 1,5 hours – guided
  • Photos and videos allowed

Continue reading “Iceland – Inside a natural lava cave”

Iceland – Welcome to Hell: Krafla, Viti and Hverir

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Imaging moments is something I like to do when I’m traveling. I like to imagine the different times of the earth and the place I’m walking in. It’s crazy to think that the very same place I was posing for pictures was covered by lava and fire, destruction and creation. Very likely people were in panic trying to save their lives. We are blessed to live in a time that we can predict this type of situation. I invite you to close your eyes and think about the past of the places you are visiting. It makes everything even more interesting. Continue reading “Iceland – Welcome to Hell: Krafla, Viti and Hverir”