The next morning, we ate ( and ate) one of the best buffet breakfasts we have ever had in a hotel. Since our group tour tomorrow is on a Monday, many of the museums and tourist attractions are closed. Knowing this, we went to Belém to see the famous Monastery of Jerónimos. This giant, white, limestone church stretches for 300 yards along the waterfront, King Manuel erected it as a "thank you" to the discoveries of the early Portuguese explorers.
The architectural style is Manueline, and Belém (spared by the 1755 earthquake) has some outstanding examples. Rope-like Arches, gargoyles, palm-tree like Arches, and even monsters, monkeys and artichokes hide in the designs on its columns and arches. It was quite mesmerizing, all the details led to a multitude of pictures trying to capture the intricacies of its many parts.
After we left the monastery, we split up to get onto two separate lines- Jim, for the Tower of Belém, where the king would welcome home Vasco da Gama and others with their treasures from the New World (also closed tomorrow), and Wendy for an eating adventure- the famous Patseis of Belém. These are little custard tarts that are everywhere. However, this shop started the trend, and are supposedly the best in Lisbon. We sat near a beautiful fountain across the street from the museum and had our "lunch"-two each which were still warm! With any luck, we’ll get some more tomorrow.
Oh yeah, tower line was way too long, so we have nice pictures of the outside.
Home to a relaxing afternoon writing this blog, swimming in the pool, and getting ready to meet our fellow travelers at the welcome dinner tonight.