Wednesday, December 03, 2008

07 November: Lisbon to Faro

This morning we took a tram from Rossio Square to Belém. We arrived just outside the Monastery there and then wandered down to the waves to see the Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument to the Discoveries) which I absolutely loved!

You cannot believe the detail carved into each explorer (according to Wikipedia, there are 34 people carved on the Monument and it's amazing to be able to see them listed because when you're there looking at it, as awe-inspiring as it is, you have no idea who is who!).

Note: The above photo is more to try and show a little detail of the carvings (my favourite part of the monument) and actually doesn't give you any indication of the actual monument. If you're interested, check out the Wikipedia link.

After admiring that, we walked further to the Torre de Belém (Belém Tower). As a building, it's not nearly as impressive (in my opinion) as the Monument to the Discoveries, but it was made awesome by hearing Vangelis' 1492 (what I consider perfect ship explorer-type music! Thanks Daddio) playing just as we got to it. It was purely by chance, but a perfectly timed coincidence :) Also, apparently there's a significant Rhino head on the base of one the turrets that has a story behind it. Sadly this was too tricky to find (or to be sure if the worn down piece of cement you were looking at, at the time was a rhino head or not?)

Then we went for a custard tart, what Belém is equally famous for! Pastéis de Belém has been serving custard tarts since 1837 and they were delish (more different that I expected from the custard tarts we'd been eating before now). We were also lucky enough to see them making the tarts thru a glass wall into their kitchen.

Didn't do much else before leaving Lisbon, but I did try a Fanta Maracuja (Granadilla / Passion Fruit - no one else knew what a Granadilla was!). I was sorta expecting it to be like Schweppes Granadilla, but it wasn't. It was good tho :)

And then we took a 3 hour bus ride to Faro (Capital of The Algarve Region).

22h45: Just got back from a delish dinner at a local spot. I think a little more upmarket than the places we have been eating (it was quite a bit more expensive). But it was definitely on my top 3 eating experiences so far! I had a Monkfish and Prawn Espetada. With plenty of wine. I am looking forward to some good weather and a day at the beach tomorrow :)

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