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Lisbon: Day 5 - 26.12.19............In search of a couple of tarts!

Updated: Feb 29, 2020

We needed to walk down ‘the avenue’ to get to the tram stop as we were off to Belem today….the last item on our plan which said ‘Day 4, Belem”. However, what we were going to do in Belem was another story, we hadn’t planned that far ahead.

The locals dogs were quite vocal this morning……a dawn chorus that lasted at least thirty minutes and what with the ‘elephant’ in the room upstairs stomping around all night it wasn’t the best nights sleep. Of course sleeping beauty in the next bed slept through everything except the barking dogs!

After breakfast we frogmarched ourselves down the avenue for one last time, making our way to the number 15 tram stop via the post office which of course was closed! Not to worry, I could always get stamps in Belem. We boarded the modern tram, standing all the way and set off on another days adventure. What did Belem have in store for us we wondered. Andrew at work, who’s just come back from Lisbon let let me have his top up travel cards, which are really good to have, but of course I’d forgotten I had them on me so we had to pay on the tram. Honestly, what a ‘malaver’ trying to get into my ‘Fort-Knox’ bag to get my purse out to pay for the tickets. It really was! Yes, malaver, this is Maice’s new word, a made up word. I think she was trying to say palaver but got totally confused and our of her mouth came this new word, so malaver it is. We alighted the tram at Belem although we were a bit dubious as we expected all the other tourists to get off here, but they didn’t, they stayed on. We wondered if they knew something we didn’t, or if their ‘plan’ was more detailed than ours. We needed to regroup and make a plan for the day so headed off to the gardens across the road. Okay, so this is what we decided. We’d go and find somewhere for coffee and have ourselves another regroup. Sounded like a good plan to us. With that we walked down to the river and walked along the promenade and came upon a large statue called Patrao dos Descobrimentos, dedicated to all the explorers and historic figures in Portugal, and even the world….possibly! We were even able to go up to the top for some stunning views of the San Fran look-a-like bridge over the River Tagus. When we came down we were still desperate for coffee and eventually found a nice cafe in the harbour. Ah, Cappuccino. At last, normality was beginning to set in!

Our next stop was the Jeronimos Monastery but the queue was so long we decided to go round the corner and visit the Santa Maria de Belem Church instead, which is right next door to the monastery, and we’re so glad we did as it was absolutely stunning inside. We visited the sacristy and inside the church was this amazing nativity scene of the town of Bethlehem with houses and fields and a stable. It was Incredible and the attention to detail was stunning.

Leaving the church, the queue for the monastery was still long so we decided to walk all around it only to find we couldn’t. Okay, so what to do now? What we really needed was a map. You wouldn’t believe we’ve got four back at the hotel but of course they’re no good there. I also had one in my bag but that was for a walk around Lisbon old town so that’s no good either! So we just wandered around on instinct and came across this lovely café, O Coche where we had our lunch. The waitress was a bit abrupt with us at first as we sat at a table for four but she soon softened when we said how nice the café was. We couldn’t believe how cheap it was….just €1.20 for leek and potato soup! Two soups and four glasses of wine later we exited the café determined to find the Pasteis de Belem, the café famous for its tarts, custard tarts that is. Apparently it’s so famous people come from miles around and literally queue for miles to purchase these tarts. It’s very easy to find apparently, if you have a map that is! We’d wandered the streets looking for this shop and over lunch we googled it to see if we could find the location and to see what it looked like. It had a blue awning so we set about Belem looking for anything with a blue awning. Well, can you believe it, we actually found it almost opposite to the church we went in this morning. Had we have walked straight on we would have come across it immediately! Ah, if only we’d had a map! So, when we finally arrived there was a queue. Maice was put in charge of paying so she ran the gauntlet of the queue whilst I observed and took photos of the experience from a distance. Needless to say it was a bit of a scrum but happy to report that Maice came out of it unscathed. We took our purchase to the park and sat on a bench surrounded by pigeons! Seems they’re also quite partial to a custard tart! I have to say they are the best tarts we’ve ever had, absolutely delicious and well worth queuing up for.

As we’ve gone about our sightseeing duties here in Lisbon we’ve observed that the majority of girlies have been sticking one leg out when having their photos taken, that’s after the hair-flicking and make-up checking of course. So we decided to go along with this method and have been practising all morning and now think we’ve got the hang of it and d’you know what, it’s actually quite effective!

We made our way back to Lisbon centre with a plan. Firstly we were going back to the tights shop we passed this morning to see if there was anything we liked, then we were going to the Apple store to buy a connector for our iPads then we were going to the Tapas n’ Friends restaurant for supper, which we’ve been meaning to do all week. Well, success at last….we bought some tights, bought a connector and ate in Tapas n’ Friends. The tapas we chose was lovely, washed down with a very nice glass of Portuguese wine after which we made our way up the avenue back to our hotel. Of course we did make a detour to the oldest Ginjinha bar for one last Ginjinha then, on the walk up the avenue we stopped off at another Ginjinha bar for another Ginjinha. Well, it was our last night after all.

Back at our hotel we packed our bags, set our alarms for the morning and retired to the bar with our ipads for one last glass of wine and to do some blogging and sorting out photos. Well we had another voucher to redeem as we said we didn’t need our rooms cleaned again. We even spoke to Maice’s mum on this, her birthday, via FaceTime and wished her Happy Birthday, face to face. It was when Maice knocked over her wine and I spilt mine that we decided to call it a night. We had an early morning start. Breakfast at 7am and taxi to the airport at 7.45am. We can’t believe we’re leaving tomorrow. My, how time flies when you’re having fun…….!

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