The weather set the tone for the day; sunny, warm, and not a cloud in the sky! We intended to occupy a part of the morning doing laundry, but Liz here on staff at Poets Hostal did it for us. Washed, dried, folded, and ready for us at the end of the day!
We are getting a bit burned out on the “tourist, do this museum, see this site thing”. Lisbon is beautiful and there is so much to see, but it might just be here for us another day.
That having been said, we returned to the waterfront and enjoyed tea, a coffee-con-leche, and a sandwich while watching people pass by. The square is dominated by a grand arch. 2.50 euros buys you a ticket to the top where you can examine the tower clockwork mechanism. The view from the top is stunning!
Returning to ground we caught a street tram to the Belem District, about 4 miles away, and the location of a number of very fine museums. We only had time to visit the monumental structures and grounds of the Monastery of St. Jerome. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is over 500 years old and was once the home of the monastic Order of St. Jerome. It was secularized in the 19th Century. A number of members of Portugal’s royal family members are entombed here, but the most notable crypt within the church is that of Vasco da Gama, the Portuguese navigator who in 1497 discovered a route to the wealth of the Indian Ocean via rounding the bottom of Africa. The resulting trade enshrined Portugal as a dominant world power for the next 200 years. A link at the end of this post will give you access to more pictures of the Monastery.
I received a message the prior day from Jerome (no relation to the Saint or Monastery!) and Morgane, the young couple we met on the night train from Madrid. Apparently they had not had their fill of our company and asked if we were available for dinner. We responded with an enthusiastic “Yes!”. We met in The Chiado District and found a venue to eat, drink, and make memories. Sharing a love of life has a way of erasing the decades that otherwise separate us in age.
Christine and I enjoy the sights of travel, but most of all we love the chance encounters that become endearing friendships. Our evening with Morgane and Jerome was special. We suspect that this will not be the last time that our life paths cross!
Peace Everyone! Pete