About Me

I am a 45 year husband and dad, currently adjusting to life back in the United States after living in Italy for a little over two years. I love spending time with my family, cycling, model railroading, mosaics and watching TV and movies.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Belem and Home Again

Today was our last day in Portugal.  We flew home this evening, so we had time in the morning to go see a few more sights before heading to the airport. 

We planned to take the Metro down to the waterfront, then catch a streetcar to the Belem district.  Belem is home to some of Lisbon's grandest monuments and museums.  It was from this district that some of Portugal's greatest explorers set out during the age of discovery.  The wealth brought back helped pay for some of this neighborhoods structures.  

The Mosteiro dos Jeronimos

Unfortunately, we found out the hard way that many of Portugal's important and popular sights are closed on Mondays, with not much left to do for tourists.  This is true in a lot of countries we have visited, but seems especially true in Portugal.

Love trains, so I had to show off a Lisbon streetcar

Botanical Gardens

Brandon tests his balance

I loved these mosaic walkway patterns

The art museum was one place that is open on Mondays.  Brandon was even excited to visit.  The current exhibit was all about architecture, which fascinates him. 

Sculpture outside entrance to the museum - made from glass bottles

Ok, so I don't normally take photos of restroom doors, but I thought these two were interesting and well done.

The exhibit was very interesting.  It had displays of architecture of the 'future', according to a few decades ago.  It also had examples of unique, innovative and interesting architectural ideas from all around Europe.  

I really enjoyed all the scale models that were on display.  They inspired  me to think I can build more from scratch for my train layout at home in Corvallis.

Before heading back to the hotel to pickup our luggage we made one last stop in Belem, at Pasteis de Belem.  Our friend Sheila told us we had to try the Pastel de Natal.  They are custard filled little pastries.  Katrina also learned that we should try Carioca de Limao, a drink of hot steamed water with lemon zest.  

Katrina really enjoyed the pastries.  Brandon and I did not really like them, mostly because we don't like custard.  I did enjoy my drink.  Very tasty with a touch of sugar. 

Well, it was time to head to the airport.  We had to catch the streetcar back to the Metro station, then ride the Metro to the hotel, collect our bags and catch a bus to the airport.  We just missed the bus as we came out of the hotel, so we had to wait for the next one - 30 min later.  While we were waiting, a taxi pulled up and offered to take us to the airport for the same price as the bus.  Quick and efficient. 


Novotel Lisbon

We had a late lunch at the airport then waited at our gate.  We had a 7pm flight home that ended up being delayed by about 45 minutes.  Portugal's time zone is an hour earlier that Italy's.  We finally arrived at Malpensa airport just after 11pm and arrived home around midnight.  That was not fun.  We chose this late flight due to cost and lack of other flights, but we will be a be choosier next time. 

Our Madrid and Lisbon vacation was a great success.  We had a wonderful time.  We can now add Portugal to our list of new countries visited. 

Our next trip will be a weekend trip to London on the 28th....

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