Monday, May 23, 2011

Lisbon, Portugal (And getting "a little better" with the camera!)

So now we have made it to Lisbon.  I arranged a private driver for Dad, Uncle Les, Jane, Marsha and I.  (Alice and Carolyn dumped us and took a shore excursion since they had never been exposed to the private driver experience.  I think they are converts now!)

Dad loved Carlos, our driver even if he was 15 minutes late and I freaked out thinking he would be a no show.

I loved him too because our first stop was a visit to the most popular bakery in the city to pick up the most delicious dessert I have ever eaten.  These little custards used to be made by the monks. Then the monastery closed but the desserts were so good it became a booming business.  They sell 15,000 of these daily.  (I got the web address and there may be a custard in your future.)

Next it was over to the Tower of Belem and nearby Jeronimos Monastery both of which are Unesco World Heritage Sites.  The tower was built in the 16th century to protect the mouth of the river from invaders and the monastery is where those delicious custards were invented (although I don't think that's why it was designated a Unesco site) !!  Actually the monastery is considered to be one of the most prominent sites in Lisbon and is quite beautifully detailed.

Then we visited the monument that honored Henry the Navigator which we all know from our history books was a famous Portuguese explorer.  That's him out front with the less famous explorers behind him.

From across the river we could see the Holy Redeemer statue that overlooks Lisbon which is similar to the one found in Brazil.  (Hard to see I know.  That was before I learned how to use the zoom.  But that's Christ with his arms outstretched.)

Then we left town for a drive up to the beautiful village of Sintra.  That is where the Royal Palace and Pena Palace are located.  It is a picturesque little village with narrow lanes and beautiful scenery which was home to the royals due to its weather.  Unfortunately, it is also very touristy.

This is a picture of the Royal Palace.  Those two tall funnels are actually the chimneys in the palace kitchen.

I thought I had taken several more pictures of the interior of the palace but somehow they disappeared during my constant attempts to learn how to use this camera.  The ony surviving shot of the interior is this one I took of the royal chapel.

This is the view of Sintra from the steps of the Royal Palace.

This beautiful house was a HUGE complex built by a Mason.  Interestingly he had a mausoleum built, the key to which matched the key to his home linking this world with his next life.  To each, his own.

Here we can see the Pena Palace in the distance followed by a scenic view of Lisbon below the town.

Upon returning to Lisbon, were able to see parts of the medievel city in the heart of town
below our vantage point as well as a large part of the city.  I also had a picture of the building where St. Anthony was born but unfortunately it ended up in the photo graveyard when I accidentally clicked delete!

Before leaving Lisbon we tried a local libation, some kind of green wine that was actually pretty good.  So good, that I forgot the name!  Next stop Bruges and Ghent.

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