Thursday, 5 July 2012

Culture vultures

Day 73 - 04.07.12 Belem

Padrão dos Descobrimentos, monument in Belem, Lisbon
After a little lie-in we got up and set out to explore our surroundings in Belem.  It’s a lovely little place alongside the Rio Tejo with lots to see.  Firstly we got and visit the Padrão dos Descobrimentos, the famed huge monument commemorating the death of Henry the Navigator.  It’s a building I’ve seen lots of pictures of but never understood the massive scale of before.  It truly is gigantic and the sculptures along the side are very impressive.  I really am still taken aback by how astonishingly huge it is!

Torre de Belem, Lisbon Portugal
Tower of Belem in Lisbon PortugalOur next stop is the UNESCO protected Tower of Belem a little further along the river.  Again the building is incredibly impressive with decorative turrets, huge crests and ornate window shapes.  It’s surrounded by the river on 3 sides, which really adds to its beauty.  Sadly it’s all open to the elements and inside looked to be pretty bare so we didn’t bother with the 5 euro each entry fee.  Nonetheless I’m sure the views from the top would be great. 

Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, Belem, Lisbon

After lunch we headed out again, this time to the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos that dates back to 1502.  It’s a colossal building that seems to go on for miles, housing two museums either side of the central monastery. We enter the free section, a huge hall with high curved ceilings held in place by ornate pillars.  The building is flooded with light pouring through the spectacular (if quite modern) stained glass windows.  There are some incredibly detailed stonework tombs, some creepy statues and yet more of the gaudy gold paint we’ve come to expect!  We intend to return to the monastery for a full visit on Sunday when the adjoining museums are free.  From what we’ve seen so far the monastery is fantastically beautiful so we’re looking forward to seeing what else it has to offer.  Outside there is an attractive fountain and large sculpture-filled gardens.

After the monastery dos jeronimos we headed over to the centre of culture to investigate the free art exhibition.  Sadly it was modern art (rubbish) but on the plus side they had free wifi so we caught up on a couple of online bits and bobs while we were there.  The gardens outside are very nice with some pretty water features.  We’ll most likely head back there with the laptop for more wifi theft (and blog updating) tomorrow!

It’s been another busy but pretty damn good day!   


  1. It's great to hear from you again you look as though you are really enjoying it. Your photos are fantastic and the descriptions great. Keep it up and keep enjoying yourselves.

  2. Thanks Bryce :-) We're still having a great time, long may it last!