Tag Archives: Portugal

This is Belém (Lisbon)

Note: For a better display of this post use a laptop or desktop instead of a phone. Thanks!!!

 

 

LISBON                                                 LISBOA

 Lisbon, beautiful Lisbon

 

Lisbon
Tagus river (Rio Tejo)  and bridge , the Christ statue (Cristo Rei) and “Sophia”.

Time to write about Lisbon, the Portuguese capital, my hometown.

Lisbon is located next to the “Rio Tejo” (Tagus River) with the sun almost always shining in a blue sky. Lisbon attracts millions of tourists from all over the world every year. The native language is Portuguese however in the capital everyone has a strong gasp of the English language. 

Rio Tejo
The 25th of April bridge, or Salazar bridge as it was once named over the Tagus River.
Rio Tejo
View from the same place at night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lisbon is a very rich city in monuments together with old traditional picturesque neighborhoods such as, Mouraria and Baixa (Downtown), or the pretty riverside area of Terreiro do Paço together with parks and attractions all around, make Lisbon is a city of a unique beauty where the old styles mix with the contemporary days. 

Lisbon is also known as the city of light and offers a great night life with plenty of options for the most varied tastes. It is common to find Bairro Alto or Cais do Sodre packed with people from all ages, drinking and having fun until early morning on a regular basis, especially during the summer time. 

Lisbon is an unforgettable destination for all  who want to have a unique experience of hospitality, gastronomy, tradition, history, modernity, culture and leisure.

A little tour in…

…BELÉM

 

Belém is on the western side of Lisbon by the riverside and it is one of Lisbon boroughs. In Belém  you can find parks and gardens, monuments and museums and an attractive riverside environment with cafes and a public walk. It is one of the most touristic areas of Portugal.

 

Torre de Belém

Torre de Belem
Belém Tower
Torre de Belem
Belém Tower

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Torre de Belem
A caravel on the “Tejo” and Belém Tower

 

Torre de Belem
At night illuminated and surrounded by the “Tejo” waters
Torre de Belem
Belém Tower by night under the moon. Picturesque!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Torre de Belém is located in the borough of Belém , on the right bank of the “Tejo River” (Tagus River). It was built between 1514 and 1520 and it was originally surrounded by water around its perimeter. Its main purpose was to defend the Tagus river from any potential attack by sea and was part of a composition with other two fortresses and towers strategically built on the Tagus basin.

Over time, the tower was losing its defense function of the Tagus and, the old warehouses gave way to dungeons. In the four floors of the tower, remain the governor room, the Hall of Kings , the courtroom  and finally, the Chapel.

The Torre de Belém is classified as a world heritage site by UNESCO and was elected as one of the seven wonders of Portugal in 2007.

 

 

Padrão dos Descobrimentos

 

Padrao dos Descobrimentos
Discoveries Monument- In honor to Infant D. Henrique, the Navigator and to all the Portuguese who discovered the seas.
Padrao dos Descobrimentos
Discoveries Monument- Infant D. Henrique, the Navigator 500 years anniversary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Padrao dos Descobrimentos
Discoveries monument front view

 

Padrao dos Descobrimentos
Discoveries Monument- A beautiful place worth to visit in Belém, as usual, this area attracts thousands of tourists every day.

The Discoveries Monument ( Padrão dos Descobrimentos) is located just a couple hundred meters from the Belém Tower (Torre de Belém) on the North side of “Rio Tejo” (Tagus river). It is another Lisbon icon. The Discoveries Monument was officially inaugurated  in 1960 as a tribute of the 5th centenary of the death of Infant D. Henrique ( the most important figure from the beginning of the era of discoveries, popularly known as Infant of Sagres or The Navigator).

Padrao dos Descobrimentos          
Discoveries Monument- On both sides there are sculptures of important personalities in the discoveries history.

 

Aligned from the top to the bottom there are 16 figures of the Portuguese history, being Infant D. Henrique placed on the top holding a caravel in his hands, followed by other navigators and explorers including D. Luiz Vaz de Camões (Poet/author of “Os Lusiadas”). Note the shape of the monument as a caravel. 

 

 

 

 

Padrao dos Descobrimentos
Discoveries monument- Left side of the monument and another 16 figures from the Portuguese discoveries history.

 

32 figures in total are sculptured in Padrão dos Descobrimentos. Infant D. Henrique is on the top again, together with other worldwide known navigators such as Vasco da Gama (Discoverer of the sea way to India), Pedro Alvares Cabral ( Discoverer of Brazil) and Fernao de Magalhaes (the first navigator to sail around the globe) just to name a few figures.

 

 

There are other attractions along the river´s massive walking path such as the Electricity museum, the fighter´s museum (which I visited inside and is very well presented), a couple marinas. There are also plenty of coffee shops and restaurants around in case you want to have a drink or a snack. If you feel like exercising whilst exploring there are a couple bicycle and scooter rental tents. The area is quite green as well as there is a big park where you can relax and some playground areas for children. If you don´t drive it is very easy to get there, as Belém train station is less than a mile away (The train line goes from Cais do Sodre to Cascais always along the river and coast line, it is a quite pretty and picturesque route and well recommended). Over all it is a very pleasant place, busy with tourists all over the place, but not overcrowded. I took a couple more pictures but as usual, they don´t make justice about this spot.

 

Belem
Next to the Belém Tower, there is the Fighter´s museum. Always with the park going along the river.

 

 

 

 

Belem Tower
A mini Torre de Belém and the surroundings.

 

 

 

 

Tagus River
People sailing on the Tejo river.

 

 

 

Padrao dos Descobrimentos

 

 

 

 

 

Belem
One of  Belém Marina´s.

 

 

 

The fighter´s museum
Outdoors exposition at the fighter´s museum.

 

fighter´s museum
A BMW in exposition from the 90´s at the service of the Military Police ( from the unit where I served in the army actually).

Jeronimos Monastery

 

Jeronimos
The colossal Jerónimos Monastery, a Portuguese icon.

 

Jeronimos monastery is one of the most iconic symbols of Portugal and considered a national symbol from its early days. It was built in the 16th Century using a Manueline style mixed with Gothic and Renaissance architectural elements. It is one of the most visited monuments in Portugal attracting over one million tourists per year. Jeronimos Monastery is recognized as a world heritage monument by UNESCO and also one of the 7 wonders of Portugal along the Torre de Belem. ( A must see if you happen to visit Lisbon)

 

Jeronimos
Belém would not be the same without Jerónimos.

 

 

 

 

Jeronimos
Jerónimos Monastery from a different angle.

 

 

 

Belém
Jeronimos Monastery and park in Belém.

 

 

 

 

Jerónimos
The great Jerónimos Monastery in Belém.

 

 

 

 

Belém
Vasco da Gama tomb in Jeronimos Monastery. One of the few tombs.

 

 

 

Belém
Jeronimos Monastery church

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I was wandering around, and as it is the Christmas season I came across a motorbike meeting in front of Jerónimos. Happens that it was an event gathering over 100 bikers where most were dressed as Santa Klaus in a mission to deliver Christmas presents to the poor, as I was told by one of the bikers. I was lucky enough to record them shooting off. 

 

In Belém you can´t forget to pass by the original “Pasteis de Belémcafé (coffee shop) where the original and the traditional specialty delicatessen of Portugal is made for over a century. In Belém you must have a “pastel de Nata“… or 10!!! Although you can find the these egg pastries in every Portuguese “café” (and even in some coffee shops in the U.K.), only the Pasteis de Belém café have the exclusive secret recipe, where they serve them still hot, and with a choice of cinnamon or sugar on top.

Pasteis de Belém
The Pasteis de Belém café is the most popular café in Lisbon and maybe in whole Portugal.
Pasteis de Belém
Good luck trying to get a “Nata”. Everyone wants to eat a “Nata”, The original “Nata”!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pasteis de Belém
I introduce you, the original PASTEL DE NATA!
Belém
Inside Pasteis de Belém café
Belém
There are plenty of space and rooms and space, so pick at table and sit down.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are a few more pictures of Belém and other interesting places and museums. This post is getting long so I had to resume it a little bit with a few more pictures and a video of me riding around Belém instead of detailing it all, however I covered the main touristic areas of Belém.

 

In Belém
If you like planets and star constellations you can visit the Planetarium which is next to the monastery.

 

 

Belém
You can also visit the Portuguese Navy Museum in Belém.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Belém
An area with some Restaurants, snack bars where you can have the most varied Portuguese traditional food. One of the many places.

 

 

 

 

Belém
 “Quentes e boas”- “Hot and tasty”; typical slogan from who sells roasted chestnuts. 

 

 

 

 

Belém
President´s palace although I am not sure the Portuguese President lives there.

 

 

 

Belém
President´s palace residence guard!!

 

 

 

 

 

Belém
Detail of the president´s palace. I found it pretty.

 

 

 

 

Belém
Garden in Belém in front of the President´s palace. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Belém
Panorama of a Park in Belém… one of many around.

 

Belém
HO HO HO Just because it´s the Xmas season… Merry Xmas to all!!! P.S It´s not me on the bike.

Did you enjoy the little tour in Belém?

Merry Christmas from Lisbon!!!

More to come soon… 

 

 

 

 

The way down

Salamanca (Sp) to Lisbon (Pt) (01/12/18)

 

 

 

I woke up late, slightly hangover, dry and with a headache, silly me!!!!… Thinking I had a 350 mile journey ahead almost turned that headache into a migraine. After a shower and a good reinforced breakfast at the hotel I was ready to get back on the road. Today I would arrive in Lisbon!!!

I left Ibis around 11 am, as usual, the weather was good in South Europe despite the season of the year… nice, warm and sunny.  I did not ride much as I wanted to see a bit of Salamanca before leaving. I parked the bike and walked for a while to the historic side of the city. Sunday morning, the streets where crowded with people, coffee shops were busy and there was even some street animations going on. Salamanca is a lively city day and night for sure.

Salamanca
Walking to the historical center

 

 

 

 

 

 

Salamanca
Salamanca on a Sunday morning.
Salamanca
Historical Salamanca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Salamanca
New Cathedral at the back , I had to have a look.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The New Cathedral is together with the Old Cathedral of Salamanca one of the two in the city. It was constructed between the 16th and 18th centuries in a Gothic and and baroque styles. 

Salamanca
The Impressive New Cathedral
Salamanca
The Old Cathedral. I believe at the time I was passing people were exiting after the religious service.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Salamanca
The New Cathedral
Salamanca
One of the towers of the New Cathedral.

 

Salamanca
Salamanca old Salamanca
Salamanca
These pictures don´t make justice at all of how impressive the Cathedral is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ornamental sculptures are carved along the facades of the Cathedral. In particular the figure of a modern astronaut and a gargoyle eating an ice cream on the facade of the north entrance of the Cathedral, unlike any other, attract dozens of tourists to the door just to photograph these unusual carvings.

 

New Cathedral of Salamanca
The North entrance of the Cathedral
New Cathedral of Salamanca
Note the amazing sculptures carved on the wall all along the entrance.
New Cathedral of Salamanca
Challenge 1: Find the astronaut. Challenge 2: Find the dinosaur eating ice cream.
New Cathedral of Salamanca
The famous intriguing Astronaut.
New Cathedral of Salamanca
The dinosaur or Gargoyle eating ice cream.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How could anyone have carved such a clear picture of a modern astronaut in a cathedral built hundreds of years ago and long before such a character existed? 

Apparently this would have happened, in fact, very recently, when, in 1992, the cathedral was restored. The fact would have obeyed an old tradition, in which the restorers usually include some modern element.

Of course this is just a hypothesis, and many claim that the figure has been there since the original construction of the cathedral.

 

There is a lot more to see but I had to start making my way to Lisbon. It was getting late and I had to make a move. I was only 50 miles away from the Portuguese border and could have entered Portugal via Vilar Formoso (North Portugal), however you have to pay tolls on motorways and they are quite expensive together with high petrol prices. It was better to head South and enter Portugal in Badajoz (Spain)/ Elvas (Portugal) meaning that I would be still riding in Spain for another 200 miles or so, and then another 200 miles until I arrive in Lisbon.

The Map
My route from Santander. As usual, I am anti GPS so the route marked on the map together with notes works wonders.

The Spanish autovia A66 (E803) was quite pleasant to ride, nearly empty, in very good condition, and the best of it all, no tolls to pay. I stopped after Bejar to have a quick snack and to refill the petrol tank. Quite curvy and scenic this section and a great sigh seeing of the Autovia I was in. Had to stop for a couple pictures.

The A66
The motorway after Bejar, empty and going downhill towards…
A66 motorway
... towards this great curvy section and amazing scenery. Loved it all the way!!!
The Spanish soil
The places, the scenery, the odors, the bike, the road and the exhaust growling on my ears. All the problems, all the noise in my mind, gone!!! Nothing else matters besides what lies ahead!! That´s why I love long rides!

 

I passed Plasencia, then Caceres and then Badajoz. By 6pm I was about to enter Portugal, so I stopped again to refill my tank right before crossing the border as prices are insanely high.

I entered Portugal on the A6 in Elvas towards Pegoes and then the A2 motorway to Lisbon, in 200 miles I would be at my Portuguese home in family. I did not take any other pictures as I wanted to get home. By 8 Pm I was safe and sound in Lisbon,  although I did not feel safe at all on the Portuguese roads. 

Here is a warning:  If you are planning to ride a motorbike in Portugal, I advise you to do so only if you are an experienced biker, otherwise chances are that you might end up having a serious accident. Portuguese drivers are mad and bad, speed limits are there but nobody respects them at all, most drive dangerously, unconsciously and very aggressively. Also tolls are very expensive, I paid 16.60 Eur for some miserable 120 miles on the motorway,  please be aware of these facts.

 My holidays were just starting…                    

  … Keep an eye for future posts, more to come!!!

 

 

U.K/ Portugal Dec 2018

 

This road trip came up quite unplanned and unexpected… Personal reasons led me to embrace on this adventure. I was supposed to fly home and get back in early January, however my traveling bug on two wheels was stronger. After a brief chat with a friend I decided to book a ferry from Portsmouth to Santander in Spain and from there ride to Lisbon in Portugal.
This is a solo trip, time for myself, the road, the bike and I. My plan is to ride straight from Santander to Lisbon depending of weather conditions, or maybe I will book a night at an hotel half way so I can enjoy the scenery (which I am not expecting to be that amazing). The way back will be by the 10th of January 2019 via Bilbao to Portsmouth.
I will sail for the first time on the 30st of November from Portsmouth at 5pm being the arrival time in Spain next day around 5.30pm. It is going to be a tough and a lone trip, but I will try to update with pictures and posts in real time as I progress instead of writing it down later like the previous trips.
As usual, I did my usual research and prepared all the essentials in order to avoid surprises whilst on the road. While routing the trip I didn´t look at any scenic routes as I usually do, this time I will be mainly doing the boring motorway until I arrive at my Portuguese home.
I might end up taking you on a discovery trip about Portugal and its beauty on my future posts. It will also be my first time in Portugal by motorbike since I left to the U.K making this trip more exciting. 

 

CBR600f4Honda CBR600 F4  2001, A.K.A. “Sophia”

 

Stage 1: From Portsmouth, 30 of November 2018 at 5pm. 24 hours by Ferry to Santander. ETA 1st of December 2018 by 5.30pm

 

Stage 2:   Santander to Lisbon, 1st of December 2018 being the ETA in Lisbon unknown… I guess I will play it by ear.

 

                                                                                                                               To be continued…