Belém, Fado & the Age of Discoveries

When you go to a new city, you travel also in time. In Lisbon, you feel you travel back in the Age of Discoveries.    

This is what I felt in my trip to the neighbourhood Belém of Lisbon, packed with monuments, nostalgia and places to see. There you can visit Jeronimos Monastry, one of the most visited landmark in Lisbon.

Across from the Monastery is the Monument to the Discoveries  or Padrão dos Descobrimentos, where you can see the statues of famous Vasco da Gama, Magellan, Cabral and other explorers. Nearby is Belem Tower – the city’s icon and another symbol of the Age of Discovery.


Pastel de nata

For the sweet tooth, the original recipe of the most appreciated pastéis de nata (or custard tarts in English) is in the Fábrica dos Pastéis de Belém (Rua de Belém 84-92). The famous pastry shop is often packed, but is worth the wait to try these pastéis de nata.

Now that we covered dessert, we go to main course, since food is a favourite topic in Portugal. While I was there I tried sea food, fresh Portuguese grilled fish and bacalhau (Portuguese dried and salted cod). For drinks, in Alfama I tasted ginginha homemade cherry liquor, and green wine.

Pastel de nata. Piece of heaven

I knew that this trip would be great since this country invented two things that I absolutely adore: pastéiss de nata and fado. I first listed fado live at BOZAR in Brussels. I attended the Citizens dialogue where Katia Guerreiro sang fado to close the evening.


FADO and conquistadors

The traditional portughese music is conected with the age of discoveries. Fado is the Lisbon version of blues, together with the sounds of a Portuguese guitar. Is a music genre about nostalgia, fate and sadness, one the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists.

To listen and experience fado in the perfect location, is recommended not to fall in the tourist expensive traps, but head to listen fado in a traditional place in Alfama or Bairro Alto.

I was lucky that my friend Bia took me to A Tasca do Chico (Rua do Diário de Noticias, 39), a cute bar where you can order Portuguese green wine and listen authentic fado singers.


 to be continued

first part – Night Plane to Lisbon

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