October 23, 2012 – Lisbon, Portugal

Today we are spending in Lisbon. We get some help from the nice lady at the front desk who lists our five visiting sites on a map and explains how we can get there. Since we are driving we are always afraid we will end up with no parking at our destinations. She assures us that all will be fine and we start off.

We drive along the shore of the Tagus River to the Torre de Belem. From here you can see the entrance to the port of Lisbon. It is a wonderful natural harbor which was guarded in part by the tower completed in 1519. There is also a modern bridge spanning the river that I am definitely not walking over.

The 25th of April bridge built by the same engineering firm as the Oakland Bay Bridge and Christ the King statue overlooking Lisbon.

The Torre de Belem guarding the entrance to the harbor

In the same park with the tower is a replica of the seaplane that flew from Lisbon to Rio (with many stops for refueling) in 1922.

Seaplane that crossed the Atlantic in 1922

Now we take a longish walk over to the Monument of Discovery. Both John and I have always wanted to see this. It was built in 1960 so we had heard about it as middle-schoolers. It honors Prince Henry the Navigator and the Portuguese explorers of the late 15th and early 16th centuries.

Prince Henry along with Barolomeo Deos, first to go around the Cape of Good Hope and venture into the Indian Ocean, Vasco da Gama, first to sail to India and Pedro Cabral, discoverer of Brazil

My favorite picture, Prince Henry the Navigator

John and the monument

From the top of the monument we can see our next destination. It is the Monastery of St. Jerome.

The Monastery of St. Jerome executed in Manueline style

Inside the church is the tomb of Vasco da Gama.

Tomb of Vasco da Gama

After a lunch break for some more bad food we head off to the Museum of Ancient Art. John and I collaborate on a truly excellent job of parallel parking. I never cease to be amazed at how adept Europeans are at fitting their small cars into tiny spaces. We are quite proud of ourselves.

Mary in front of Musuem of Ancient Art

By ancient art, they mean painting from the 14th century onward. We spend some enjoyable time looking at early renaissance paintings and identifying various saints. Our favorite is Hieronymus Bosch’s Temptation of St. Anthony. Bosch had a very fertile imagination and his paintings are full of weird creatures.

Hieronymus Bosch’s Temptation of St. Anthony

Now the not-so-good lunch is catching up with me and we are getting tired. We have done a ton of walking today. We decide to head back to the hotel. We spend some time catching up on the blogs and tracking down our laundry that we had sent out yesterday. Only part of it came back. Two pairs of my pants are missing as well as one of John’s shirts. This would be disastrous for me because I only have one other pair of pants. John and the housekeeping lady try communicating in various languages, they settle on some German. The laundry is found. Hurray!

Our dinner will consist of some tapas in the bar. We are not prepared to spend big bucks on iffy food. Along with some bread and olives we order marinated swordfish. We expect this to be a cerviche-like preparation. It comes out breaded and fried like fish sticks. Sigh.

John in the bar

Tapas of bread, cheese, ham and olives

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