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Belem is Stunning

Visiting Belem and getting the best pasteis de nata

Happy Freedom Day to Portugal! 25 of April is a super important day as it marks the end of the Carnation Revolution and the beginning of democracy in Portugal. Many shops were closed and lots of people were out and about. We also saw quite a few people with carnations….

Today, we headed straight to Pasteis De Belem for breakfast egg tarts. We ordered a 6 pack and ate 2 each right away. They were so delicious and creamy with the perfect amount of caramelization and a mix of crunch and flakiness to the crust. These were by far my fave egg tarts of the trip.

After delicious breakfast, we walked over to the Jerónimos Monastery, which had this gorgeous archway filled with saints. Unfortunately, it is closed on Mondays so we couldn’t venture inside. But marveling at the outside was good enough as we made our way to the Torre de Belem (Belem Tower). We walked about 0.5 miles over to the tower and were greeted with a plethora of people and this surreal violin music that a musician was playing. It felt very whimsical and the water that crashes alongside the tower added to that ambiance. We easily could have spent the half day there, eating and drinking a picnic, which some people looked like they were planning to do. We admired the tower which was an embarkation and debarkation point for many Portuguese explorers and finally left to find lunch.
Jeronimos Monastery
Torre de Belem

We walked down the water way and stumbled upon a waterside restaurant called Portugália Cervejaria. We got seated with no wait at around 1230 but by the time we left there looked like there was at least a 45 min wait. Popular place! We decided to order olives, a whelk salad, and a Bacalhau à Brás (Portuguese specialty of codfish mixed with eggs and potatoes). The olives were salty and refreshing and blended well with the chewy (very chewy) whelk salad. Salads with seafood here are actually mostly seafood mixed with chopped onions, herbs, oil and a citrus and cost like 7-8 euros. My favorite was the Cod a bras however. It sounds like a super weird combination and the potatoes are more like thin stick potato chips but something about the way it is seasoned and stewed together makes for this super delicious and soft codfish platter.
Codfish A Braus
Whelk Salad

After eating our lunch, we already knew that we wanted to get some oysters and a boozy drink from this oyster cart right outside next to Padrão dos Descobrimentos (a monument dedicated to Portuguese explorers). It was a perfect location to enjoy the Tagus with a view of the 25 de Abril Bridge (or the Portuguese Golden Gate Bridge). We loved eating these fresh and super briny oysters while sipping our drinks and people watching. It made for a great relaxing afternoon.

After sun soaking, we took an Uber over to Castelos de Sao Jorge, this beautiful 8th century castle that was built by the Arabs occupying Portugal at the time. The cars can only take you so far and you have to expect about a 0.25 mile uphill climb. The entrance fee was ~10 euros but the view was absolutely worth it. It allows you to see the best and widest view of the entire city of Lisboa including the 25 de Abril bridge and the famous elevador de Santa Justa. We enjoyed the amazing ocean and city views and then headed in to explore the ruins of the castle. They allow you to climb up the towers and fight with the other tourists for these steep stairs. The top of the towers offered sweeping views as well.

We left and were duped and tempted by Casa Portuguesa do Pastel de Bacalhau. We got 2 codfish pastries, one with cheese and one without cheese. They were 5 euros each and the cheese one was so disgusting…..the regular one was better but nothing compared to the one we had at the Timout Market. Don’t be a dumb tourist and avoid this tourist trap.

We then wandered into Comur-Conserveira de Portugal where we bought some canned seafood to take home and enjoy. The worker was extremely friendly in explaining the different kinds of canned goods they sold.

After that, we headed back to the Time Out Market to try other stalls and to end the night. I was craving sushi because the place I had originally wanted for lunch was Japanese so I ordered a mixed sushi plate at Sea Me and Nick ordered a stewed octopus from Monte Mar. The sushi satisfied my rice craving but it was pretty average sushi. The octopus was stewed in a tasty broth but I am not really a fan of octopus in this texture. We finished our meals and headed home to prepare for the next day.

Posted by E.M.N 22:27 Archived in Portugal Tagged tower market of monastery out time lisbon lisboa belem jerónimos portugalia

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