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.

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”

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 – 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”

Iceland -Reynisfjara, the black sand beach

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We were so lucky on this trip. In moments when the dry weather did not make any difference, it was raining, and the moments that we needed to spend more time in the open the weather was dry and sunny. When we arrived at the Reynisfjara beach the day was amazing. The sun changed colors and made everything brighter and happier.

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Continue reading “Iceland -Reynisfjara, the black sand beach”

Iceland – Tips to see and take pictures of the Northern Lights

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Attraction value: be lucky and freeze at night waiting for it. (It’s worth it)

Main tips

You can check the aurora forecast on this site Icelandic Met Office. Here is a brief explanation:

  • The white areas of the maps are the clear sky areas. It means that it is a good place to see the aurora. The hard green means High clouds so it will be hard to see it.
  • On the bottom, you have the forecast for the actual day and the next two days and hours.You can choose a different day or hour. The map changes according to your selections.
  • The aurora forecast is found on the right corner of the page. It has a rating of between 0 and 9.
  • Try  not to stay in big cities/towns. The building lights will reflect the sky and fade the northern lights. We saw it in Borgarhöfn (accommodation: Lækjarhus Farm Holidays) and Myvatn Lake (accommodation: Vogafjós Guesthouse). Both accommodations were good for seeing the northern lights.

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Main tips for taking aurora pictures:

Continue reading “Iceland – Tips to see and take pictures of the Northern Lights”

Iceland -Glacier – It’s cold outside, baby

  • Attraction value: face the cold of the glacier (free)
  • Parking: Free

At some point of the trip, we saw something blue on the horizon. It was very hard to identify what was the blue point between the dark rocks and mountains. It was not the sea or the sky. It was a GLACIER! 

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Continue reading “Iceland -Glacier – It’s cold outside, baby”