Saturday, August 07, 2010

Belem (Bethlehem)

Today we decided to visit Belem, about 30 minutes away by train.  Belem is Portuguese for Bethlehem, which tells you something about the rich "religious" heritage of Portugal.

We first walked past the "Discoverer's Monument".  It's hard to tell from the photo, but this thing was huge!  It depicts the many famous explorers from Portugal (Magellan, de Gama, etc.), as well as other prominent people (Francis Xavier).

Then we headed over to Jeronimo's Monastery.

Built in the 1500's, this monastery is also the final resting spot of Vasco de Gama.  Pretty cool, huh?

It was an impressive building and we only saw a portion of it.

Afterwards we tried another famous thing in the area: "Pastel de nata."  These rich custardy partries were created by nuns from the monastery in the 1700's and are now popular all over Portugal.  They were delicious

It was a fun, educational day!

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