Lisbon-a day in our holiday life
Today, we nearly took a cramped tram out to Beleme but realised a taxi was much cheaper! How we laughed at those other foolish tourists wedged on that smelly tram.
No, we didn’t.
I decided to take over as tour guide for the group, using a fool proof self guided itinerary from Marion’s book. First stop was the Torre de Beleme, which means the Tower of Beleme, to you, plebs that just don’t “get” that crazy Portuguese language.
The Tower was described as whimsical and flamboyant and it was that, I suppose. I had taken up new rules for holidays-don’t queue and don’t pay to get in anywhere.
So, we gazed at the tower for a minute, moving on towards the Padrao dos Descobrimentos, this is a imposing monument, celebrating some random explorer’s discoveries like Vasco de Gama, Diogo Cao and a poet and a painter thrown in for good measure. It juts right onto the sea and we watched “hilarious” tourists all trying to strike a pose in front of it, as one does, when you are a hilarious tourist.
I allowed the group to take a small break in an ice-cream parlour, the members of the group all bought uninspiring ice-cream while I had a mango ice pop. No one gave the ice pop any attention so I made up a game to amuse them.
The game involved a question which you might like to guess at. Who are the highest grossing music band of all time?
Moving in after the ice-cream incident, I brought the group to the Design Museum. How embarrassed was I? The Design Museum had been relocated years ago. Luckily, the trip was saved. The Design Museum had been filled with a history of modern art. Unfortunately, the story was told in the most boring fashion but the pictures of rude things on playing cards, a scary spider and a Salvador Dali phone with lobster receiver made up for the constant bickering between the various modern art eras.
After, the museum, we walked past the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos, this is the coolest looking monastery I had ever seen and I’ve only seen 2.
There was a big queue, so I refused to allow the group in, we took photos instead. This monastery was commissioned by Don Manueline I to celebrate De Gama’s return after he discovered the sea route. A bit over the top, I would think but you know what those old Portuguese explorers are like. Big show offs.
The second last bit of the trip involved having a “long” lunch on a “long” street. Terry and Simon insisted on buying some tabloids while Marion and I read from the classics. We ordered fish again. The menu here consists of fish with potatoes, meat with chips or omelettes. But, the fish is no ordinary fish. Oh, no. The salmon I had was the best I’ve ever tasted or can remember.
To reward the group, I saved a little surprise as the finale of the day. It was a trip to the world famous bakery, Pasteis de Belem. Go on, figure out what you think that is in English.
Anyway, this pastry shop of Belem is famous for making the first ever pasteis de Belem. These are the Portuguese custard tarts. We joined the queue with the other plebs but the security guard spotted me immediately and asked us to step aside. We were worried but fear not, it was a happy ending, reader. He asked if my group and I would like to “jump the queue”? Terry and I agreed immediately, we had no problem using our fame in Beleme. However, Simon and Marion declined and stayed at the back of the long, sweaty queue. Terry and I had the last laugh, we had finished all the custard tarts off and they had none. I think they have learned their lesson as they agreed to skip the queue on the next occasion, if approached.
The above may be fiction.
The custard tarts were divine, though, really. The custard tart was served warm with a choice of sugar or cinnamon coating. The pastry was shiny, crisps and sugary and the custard within had the perfect amount of sweetness.
After that we caught a taxi back, endangering our lives a million times to the Hotel. The group were sad to see me go but paid me a generous tip, which I will not reveal to you. This shows how professional I am.
In my next article, I will tell you all about Terry’s birthday drinks and how it started and ended. Until then, farewell and remember, guys, it’s not cool to go to the back of a queue.