Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Loving Lisbon Day 5: The Tower of Belem

At first the idea of taking a walk through the history of Lisbon in the Story Center seemed too juvenile for such wordly folk as Old Brycey and Arly, but since the Tourist Office is located there, and we had returned several times, we finally decided it might be worth a try. We were so glad we did, as this turned out to be one of our favourite activities so far! The Story Center walked us through several different scenes with an audio guide, telling us the story of how Lisbon was originally settled, showing a full screen movie of the earthquake that made us feel like we were actually there, and experiencing the rebuilding of the city. We always come away from a trip with a much better understanding of the history of where we have been, but nowhere has this been more true than in Lisbon!
We thought it was a castle, but it's a prison!

Since we had run out of time when we were out in Belem, we hopped back on the "Hop on Hop off bus" for another trip out to the most visited part of Lisbon. Along the way, we passed the aqueduct that was built in the 1700s. This incredible structure stretches 11 miles, and miraculously survived the earthquake!

Amazing Aqueduct

Once we finally reached Belem, we had to stop for lunch at one of the sidewalk cafes. To live is to eat here in Portugal! Mmmmmm, delightfully delicious! And, of course, a side trip to the Pasteis de Belem for the most tantalizing  custard tarts anywhere in the world! Sigh, I'll start the diet when I get home!

By the time we got to the tower, Bryce decided that he had to go admire some plumbing possibilities, but of course, that was a very long walk to the other end of the park, so I decided that I would stand in line while I waited for him. After what seemed like half an hour, I was at the front of the line, but still no Bryce! I gave up my place in line and just then, I finally saw him, but it was 5:00, and the guard had put the barrier across to prevent anyone new from joining the line. Oh no, this was the second time that we had come to see the tower, and we would have to miss it again!

"Please, kind sir, I've been standing here for half an hour and my poor husband had to go use the washroom, please let him in!" Thankfully, he took pity on us and allowed Bryce to enter. (There were a lot of people who weren't so lucky, though!)

The tower was built in the early 1500s as a first line of defense for the city, and it was well worth the trouble we went through to see it. Bryce opted to stay below while I climbed to the top to enjoy a 360 degree view of the river and the city.

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