The morning was clear and the air was already hot by 10am as we caught tram#15 to Belem to visit the Jeronimos Monestary. My heart sank as we stepped off the tram and saw about 1000 people already in line and several other bus loads racing to get there. We waited in line for more than an hour. To pass the time, Monica and Maneau walked nearby and purchased some at from a local artist. Just 20 feet from the ticket booth, we learned that we could have purchased tickets at a kiosk across the park and skipped the line. I pass this along for anyone who might visit here in the future… DO NOT WAIT IN THE TICKET LINE TO BUY TICKETS… get them in the park and skip the line!
All that was forgotten when we entered this marvelous UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built in 1495, three years after Columbus discovered America, in a style known as Manuline, “a richly ornate architectural style with complex sculptural themes incorporating maritime elements and objects discovered during naval expeditions, carved in limestone” (wikipedia). It is absolutely mind-blowing to stroll around the cloisters on two levels. Impossible to look down where you are stepping, one can only look up and around and whisper Wow! And then you move inside to the adjacent Church of Santa Maria. I was in heaven snapping shots of the stained glass windows. See Gallery/World Windows for all photos.
Nex we proceeded back to the downtown core for some more shopping and sightseeing. While Maneau and Jake went shopping, Monica and I hopped the subway to the north of the city to see the remarkable monument to Sebastiao Jose, the first Marquis de Pombal, or Prime Minister, who ruled Potrugal in 1750.
Then we strolled down the Avenida de Liberdade on the shaded pedestrian-only center amid high-end shops like Pada, Gucci, Burberry and others. The statues and monuments along the avenue are fantastic as are the artistically designed cobble stone pathways.
We came across the stunning Igreja (church) de Sao Roque, oldest Jesuit church in Portugal (1506) Although there is no stained glass, the interior is breathtaking, covered in gold that was brought back to Portugal from discovery missions. The John the Baptist chapel was once described as the most expensive chapel in Europe.
Meeting up with Maneau and Jake, we took a break at a local craft brewery, Duque. Jake tried a flight of beers and we enjoyed, olives, chorizso (spicy sausages) and herbed chips. Continuing on down the hill, we found supper at a take-out Pizza place and scarfed down delicious slices and beer. Then home.
Here are the photo highlights of Day 11 – Jeronimos Monestary.