What a full day! Our destination was the district of Belem, so after a quick breakfast in our apartment we traipsed down the hill and set off in the sunshine. Jeff had figured out an easy way to get there on a commuter train, so we paid Belem€1.25 each for a 7-minute ride and saved ourselves about 28373 steps. We arrived at this retro-feeling station and walked along the Tagus River to the Padrão dos Descobrimentos monument, which was quite striking against the gorgeous blue sky. monumentIt is located along the river where the ships used to depart to trade and explore with India and the Orient, and it celebrates the Portuguese Age of Discovery (15th and 16th centuries). For a relatively small country (both in size and population), they sure got around! 


By that point we had gone about 16 hours without gelato, so we grabbed a cone to enjoy while making our way to the Maritime Museum. Part of it was under renovation so the tickets were really inexpensive - our entire family got in for less than €10 and we definitely got our money's worth. We spent a lot longer in the museum than I think any of us would've anticipated; it was full of treasures! The first part of the museum had small replicas of all of the Portuguese military ships and they were fascinating. We also saw really old compasses, cannons, and learned to understand the mechanism that allowed ships to rotate huge cannons from one side of a ship to the other. Another hall held huge ships from the past, and my favourite was the Royal Barge built in 1778 which held 80 oarsmen along with a coxswain and a bowsman. That is a full 82 humans to row that boat! At the end of it was a fancy glass room with two chairs and a table to protect whomever the precious cargo happened to be. The boat was last officially after transporting Queen Elizabeth II down the Tagus when she came to Portugal in 1957. Is it wrong that my first thought was wondering what she would do if she had to pee? I'm sure they boatplied her with tea and aperitifs - Queen Elizabeth must have a great bladder. I assume the oarsmen just dealt with it.


The museum is housed in a part of the old Jernimos Monastery which is a gorgeous old building. I fear 'old' may be an understatement as it was built during the 1500's. It is huge, and we walked along the outside of it to get to the Church of Santa Maria which, pleasantly enough, is free to the public. The inside is quite nice with extremely high ceilings and it has many tombs along the outside walls. There were a few stained glass windows, but not as many as I would've expected in a church of that size and significance. We paid a few euros to enter the cloisters at the back of the church where there were Santa mariaa lot of paintings depicting different religious scenes. I don't want lightning to strike me by saying this, but there was a painting of Jesus that seriously looked like he was posing for a selfie. I didn't feel right taking a picture of it, but we now have a better understanding of where this phenomenon came from.


By this point we were all exhausted and decided that it was time to make the journey back to our apartment. We walked through a beautiful little park full of orange trees and went back to the same train station we had arrived at. Our return trip was much different, as it was rush hour and very crowded, but thankfully it was only a 7-minute trip and very manageable. The kids were worried when the train doors literally closed on me, as I was the last one to squeeze on the train, but I am super tough and barely felt a thing.  ;)


We took a much-needed rest for a few hours before heading out to dinner. We had a half bottle of wine to finish, and it would've been a shame to waste it! After some crackers and cheese and a few hours of relaxing we were ready for dinner; we followed TripAdvisor's advice and ended up at a sushi place. What a strange restaurant! The lights were so bright that it felt like you were being interrogated, and the walls were intense orange without any sort of artwork to break it up. The menus were on iPads, and you had to click on what you wanted which sent the order directly to the kitchen. If you wanted sushi you had to order these strange combination plates that we literally zoomed in with our fingers to try to figure out what we would be getting. To top it off, it was an all-you-can-eat place for €12 each - what were we getting ourselves into??? Well, it was delicious and completely unexpected. Fantastic sushi, interesting rice and noodles, great miso soup, and a banana tempura dessert that the kids devoured. I must admit that we had low expectations after sitting down, but it was really great food and definitely something to remember.


Tomorrow we have to get up early to catch a 10:30 a.m. flight to Madrid. Early in the sense that we haven't managed to get out of bed before 10 a.m. so far this trip! We will pick up a rental car and drive to Seville where we had a cute little place to call home for the following 6 nights. Our time in Lisbon has been great, but we are now looking forward to another exciting adventure. Boa noite!


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