Saturday, May 19, 2018
After that, I made my way to the Discovery Monument which I think is an ode to the great Portuguese explorers. At the front is Henry the Navigator, which I am ashamed to say I have no knowledge of whatsoever. I am googling and reading up on him. There is also only 1 lady at this monument, she's Philippa of Lancaster and I am also googling her up. The monument is tall and at one side, you see a relief of a sword. I thought that was very cool.
On the floor near this monument, there's also this very cool tiling that shows the map of the world and the years in which I think the Portuguese explorers arrived. Indonesia has like 5 centuries of history and really back in school, it got quite tough having to memorize all the dates and such. I don't remember much anymore, but I do remember that the Portuguese arrived in Indonesia first, even before the Dutch and I remember they arrived in 1511. So when I saw this map and saw 1512, I don't know why that is. Is that the date when they completed the fort? Because there is a remain of a Portuguese fort in Maluku.
Then I made my way to Jerónimos Monastery. The queue was long and the sun was hot and thank God, I booked the ticket beforehand. This is something that I like to do these days, if there's anything that can be booked beforehand, I'll do it. So I basically breezed through. The monastery is quite big and the sculptures all around are all different and unique. The cloister is quite plain though, just grass. There's some exhibitions and there's a room where there's the tomb of Alexandre Herculano. I don't know who that is. He's just very important in the history of Portugal. There are 2 floors and at one section of the upper floor, you get to see the inside of Church of Santa Maria. I spent quite a long time here, looking at the unique sculptures.
After that I went to the church next door, Church of Santa Maria. It's free to enter and there isn't a queue. The church is quite impressive. It has high ceiling and this section of the ceiling is particularly beautiful for me.
There's a treasury and you have to pay to enter. Here I met the Canadian couple from the day before. The day before we found out that everyone in the group was planning to go to Belém that day, but I only saw this Canadian couple. They're the only one who talked to me so I guess that's why they could still recognize me and said hi. They didn't go to the monastery because they said the queue was too long and it was quite a hot day. Book people, please book if you're planning to go. There are precious items inside the treasury but I guess because I couldn't appreciate them, I didn't stay long and pretty much don't have much recollection of them now. Other interesting thing in the church is the the tomb of Vasco da Gama. I thought it's very cool to have seen that. There's a boat relief in his tomb, obviously because he's an explorer. After I got out, I took some exterior photos of the church.
I spent quite a long time there and I think it was already like lunch time, but instead of taking a proper meal, there's one more stop, the famous Pasteis de Belém. They're famous for the egg tart or Pastéis de Nata as they call in Portuguese. There's a queue for take away and the recommendation is to eat inside the shop because they have a spacious space inside. Stupid me didn't go all the way in, I just quickly sat on the first empty table I found. It was quite a busy place, the waiters were busy walking around serving people. Once one got to me, I ordered 2 egg tarts and tea. Actually there are like other tempting snacks inside the window display, but there isn't like a written menu and I was afraid it'd take too long if I asked and the main reason I was there was the egg tarts so that's the only thing I ordered. The egg tarts came and gosh they were really good. However I think the reason why they're good is because it's freshly baked and hence the cream custard was soft and crumbly. I think that's the thing why egg tart here in Singapore is not that amazing. It's rare to find fresh from the oven kind (at least for me) so when we buy them, the cream has set and coagulated and not as soft. The Belém egg tarts were so good that I embarrassingly ordered another one. I was quite embarrassed about it, really. For my third one, I sprinkled a bit of cinnamon. I couldn't have eaten more, but I had to restrain myself. I miss those egg tarts now *sigh* When I used their rest room, I found out that inside there's really a big space and it's not full. I should have gone in really. I also saw their production line. Their kitchen has windows and you can see the amount of egg tarts they produce, it's a lot and it's so interesting. I could just stand there and watch, but I thought that would be too weird so I didn't and I also didn't take any picture. Yes, I have no picture at all from Pastéis de Belém, but believe me it's good, spend some time there when you're in the area.
Anyways the stew was interesting. The portion was surprisingly not a lot. Aside from sweet potatoes in the stew, there's also sweet potato chips. The octopus was very soft which is okay, but I realize that like squid, I would rather the octopus be more chewy. Now, this Time Out Market food court is actually located next to an actual working market. By the time I finished eating, this market was closed though. I think it's closed at 02:30 pm. I kinda regretted not going into it before I went to eat and see how the market really looks like. Anyway so then after lunch, I walked to the ferry terminal. Upon arriving I didn't see the sign for the Cacilhas ferry. I thought, gosh this is not straightforward. Luckily before I asked someone, I turned 90 degrees and saw the direction. That was silly of me, I thought of myself. I waited for a bit before the ferry came. It wasn't full and I sat on the outside looking at Lisbon, getting more sun (I got back many shades darker), but the wind was good. Upon arriving in Calcihas, I made my way to the bus terminal and when I located it, I saw bus 101 leaving. Gosh, that is the bus I supposed to take and they only depart every half an hour :( So then I walked to the nearby lighthouse looking at some old men fishing. Some also sat by the lighthouse and there I sat too wishing I could understand Portuguese so that I could understand what they're talking about. Some of the uncles fishing managed to get some fish. It's a small kind of silvery fish. Around half an hour later, I went to the bus stop. The transport card doesn't work here because it's not considered Lisbon anymore, so you need to pay to the driver directly. If I'm not mistaken, it's 1.45 euro.
It was windy up there and you get a different view of Lisbon across the Tagus river. You also get a nice view of the 25 de Abril Bridge. The colour may remind you of the Golden Gate Bridge, but somehow when I was there and passing it from the streets, it reminded me more of New York, like the Brooklyn Bridge.
I don't think I spent a long time there. I made sure I was down to catch the bus. For pictures from this visit, please go here.
Then it's Ascensor da Glória. Apparently this one is more popular. When I arrived there's already a queue and the tram was getting crowded that I decided to skip and wait for the next one. It was quite a wait, they don't go very fast, but standing in a crowded tram is just something that I didn't feel like doing. Also as mentioned, much has been written about pickpockets. When the next tram came, I got to sit and I thought it's better than standing. The way up the hill featured more interesting graffiti on the walks. On the top, there's like this small open market where you can find snacks and food and people were just having fun enjoying the evening and the view is quite nice. A group of string players were playing the Game of Thrones theme. That was something familiar to hear :) Anyway, I guess this kind of environment is why this funicular is more popular.
Since the tram was always full (seriously by comparison Lavra funicular felt so calm), I decided to walk down instead of taking the funicular again. It is quite steep and I had to go slow on some parts. Took pictures of the interesting graffiti and the passing tram. This is basically what they look like. It's not very big and it's graffiti all over them too.
I also decided to walk back to my last stop which is also near my hotel. The 3 squares: Restauradores, Rossio, and Figueira are quite near each other. My last stop was Santa Justa Lift. The funiculars and this lift were chosen to maximize the use of my transport day pass. This lift is not free and like the name indicates, it's literally just a lift that take you up. I was thinking how nice it was to go up nearer to sunset and when I arrived it's still quite bright. There was quite a queue, but I thought it would be going quite fast so I wouldn't get the sunset time. How wrong I was, it was going so slow that there were many times when I thought I should just give up. There were many people around me giving up and I kept on thinking if it's stupid waiting that long just to go up a lift. Somehow I didn't give up. It may have taken me more than 1-hour wait. It's quite silly, I wouldn't do this again if I have to wait that long. Nearer to the lift entrance, I saw that there's actually 2 lifts, but the other one didn't work and then they only put just a few number of people inside the lift. There are benches and most of us just sat while going slowly up. Up there, you can walk the small bridge or pay a bit more to take the stairs up to the roof. I forgot how much it cost, maybe 3 euro. I went up and in the end, I did get a bit of dusk view. It's all God's plan making me wait that long. You can see the castle and also Rossio square from above.
With the sun setting, it's getting chilly and the wind was rather strong so I just quickly took a few pictures. Another reason why I didn't want to linger is because I was afraid it's another queue taking the lift down. Luckily it wasn't so. When I got down, I saw that there's no longer a queue for the lift. It's closing it seemed. I wonder if they had to turn down people. That would suck because people waited a long time in the queue. I think by the time I reached my room, it was 9 PM, I couldn't quite remember. A long day, but a nice day spent alone :)
:) eKa @ 8:56:00 PM •
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