A Day in Belém, Lisbon

Monday, November 27, 2017


One day in May, we were having dinner together in our kitchen. Suddenly Rita told me that she will go back home to Portugal for good in the beginning of July and finish her dissertation at home. Max added that he also will go back to Germany in the middle of July. There were actually 6 of us living in the same flat but Rita and Max were the closest, since the other three were rarely seen around. We were studying in the same university but they both were law students, and the thing about law students in my campus is, they do not have any presentation for their dissertation. Therefore, after finishing all exams, they are free to go and they can finish their dissertation wherever they want. When the deadline came they can simply submit their work and wait patiently for the result. 

It was different for me as a computer science student. I need to meet my supervisor once in a week to report my progress, and there will be a viva presentation after my dissertation submission. So I should stay in London until mid-September, at least. Thinking that all my flat-mates will go back to their countries and left me alone in our flat made me kinda mellow. 

"Why don't you come to Portugal to visit me? Summer in Portugal will be nice!", asked Rita.

And just like that, on that day, after discussing the perfect date that will work for three of us, me and Max booked two return tickets from London to Lisbon.

The Mosteiro dos Jerónimos

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"Hey, the weather is not that bad," I observed the sky from the car windows. When we were waiting for the boarding call at Stansted Airport in London, Rita sent us a message that the weather is bad in Portugal.

Rita's mother was driving and her father sat beside her. The three of us sat in the back seat.

"It is! Look at that gloomy sky!" Rita answered me and pointed out the sky.

"Oh no, it's fine for me, we had enough sun in London. When you said bad weather, I thought about storm, heavy rain, and such things," I said, little bit relieved.

"Cause, you know, I always told you and Max that here in Portugal we always have perfect summer. I told you that it will be near 40 degrees and sunshine all day," 

"No, it's fine really. It's always summer all over the year in Indonesia. I prefer cloudy days."

"Yeah, it's perfect for me as well. Can't handle too much sun. I'll be all red." added Max with a bit of chuckle.

The Padrão dos Descobrimentos

"So, our schedule today is visiting some attractions near Belém, it's a nice area near the river. We will visit the one that will closed early and after that we can see the other things. After that we can get some coffee and eat the egg tart in the traditional place. My boyfriend and my friends will come and join us for dinner. Is that okay with you?" Rita explained our itinerary that day. She sounded like a professional tour guide.

"Sounds like a plan!" 

Rita's parents dropped us at Belém and we continued walking after that. The first thing that I saw was a big monastery called The Mosteiro dos Jerónimos but Rita said that we can visit that later as there are the other attractions that will be closed soon. We walked across a garden then I saw a large monument that look like a sword. The Padrão dos Descobrimentos (the Discoveries Monument) is one of the most iconic monuments of Lisbon, and was constructed to promote national self-confidence, and to honour the great Portuguese explorers. There was a huge map on the floor to mark the area that were discovered by Portuguese. 

Hello, Indonesia!



"Just sitting there, listening to the silent, we don't have such thing in London" said Rita.

Torre de Belém (Belém Tower)

Our second destination on that day was Torre de Belém (Belém Tower), which was build to guard the city from the sea bound attack. Although the number of the visitor to enter this tower is limited, the inside was still packed with people. Moreover, the stairs to climb to the top of the tower was really narrow so it was not a pleasant experience. 



The view from the top of Torre de Belém

Rita and Max


We went back to enter the The Mosteiro dos Jerónimos. The architecture of the corridor inside this monastery somehow reminds me to Gloucester Cathedral in UK. Rita said that her grandmother got married in this cathedral. Looking around the beautiful architecture, I can imagine how beautiful the wedding was. Unfortunately she can't get married here since it is no longer allowed.


Such a huge monastery



Look at those egg tarts!


This one was my favorite destination on that day, cause we got to eat the delicious Pastéis de Nata or the famous Portuguese egg tarts! The name of the shop is Pastéis de Belém, which is the most famous and the oldest in Lisbon (they have been baking since 1837!). I actually tasted the egg tarts before as sometimes Rita brought them when she went back home. But eating it right on its store, fresh from the oven, was totally different. The pastry was crunchy and the egg fillings are somewhat warm and melted in my mouth once I bite it. It was like a party in my mouth. Don't forget to sprinkle a bit of cinnamon powder on top of it. I ate three egg tarts that afternoon, accompanied by delicious Portuguese coffee. I felt like I could ate more but I suddenly remember how many calories that it has. LOL.

Besides the egg tarts, this shop also have various cake, bread, or sandwich. No wonder that this place is always packed with people. There were two separate lines for those who want to eat-in and takeaway. I took a mental note that I should buy some before I go back to London. And I did.


Look at that line to enter the shop!

Rita said that it is really typical for Portuguese people to hang their laundry in the balcony. To me, it such an interesting view because the combination of the laundry, balcony, and pastel colored building is a nice object for my camera to catch.


This is a park in front of the president's palace. Rita's said that the current president (who just have been elected recently) is such a cool one. He's that kind of a person that always interacting with people whom he meet on the street. He also does not want to stay at the palace and prefer to stay in his own house. It kinda reminded me of our president.


We continued walking around beside the river with the view of The 25 de Abril bridge, which is slightly similar with the Golden Gate in San Fransisco (not that I've been there, but I've seen some pictures of it). 





It's not clearly seen in this picture but on the other side of the river, there is a giant statue of Jesus Christ, similar to the one in Rio de Jainero.


We ended the day by having a dinner in a nice restaurant with the view of the bridge with Rita's friends. At the first glance, I thought that this fancy restaurant will costs me a lot when in fact, it was sooooo cheap (well, to London standard off course). I ate tuna burger which was really delicious and it costed me just 9 euro! It could be 15 pounds at least in London. 


Rita and Beatrice


There were 4 friends of Rita that joined us tonight and they were all nice and friendly. Nice place, nice view, delicious and cheap foods, good accompany, I couldn't ask for more. It was indeed such a lovely day. At that moment, I knew that I would love Lisbon. 

4 comments:

  1. Me love Lisbon too! Portugal sih menurutku secara keseluruhan memang menyenangkan dan beyond expectation :')

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    1. iyaaa, underrated banget ya Portugal. apa karena emang ga ada ekspektasi apa2 ya pas ke sana. ternyata cantik banget, makanan enak2 dan murah2 bangeet.

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  2. Sounds like you had a really great time in Lisbon! Untungnya diajak sama Rita ya, meskipun kalau nggak juga kemungkinan bakal ngabur ke tempat lain juga bukan? :D Portugal ini jadi salah satu negara di Eropa yang paling pengen saya kunjungi dari dulu. Lihat foto-fotonya keren dan cakep, dan tempat bersejarahnya juga megah-megah kayaknya. Postingan ini jadi pengingat nih supaya nabung lebih keras biar bisa sampe ke Portugal. :)

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    1. Yes I did! Portugal surprisingly bagus banget dan jadi salah satu negara favorit di Eropa daratan.

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