Old friends and New Worlds
Trip Start May 21, 2011
12Trip End Jun 07, 2011
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Lots of photos taken of Grand's new stern as we angle into dock behind her than off for a chat and catch up then we head off to Belem to investigate the Monument to the Discoveries built on the north bank of the Tagus River in 1960 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of Prince Henry the Navigator.
It represents a three-sailed ship ready to depart, with sculptures of important historical figures such as King Manuel I carrying an armillary sphere, poet Camões holding verses from The Lusiads, Vasco da Gama, Magellan, Cabral, and several other notable Portuguese explorers, crusaders, monks, cartographers, and cosmographers, following Prince Henry the Navigator at the prow holding a small vessel.The only female is queen Felipa of Lancaster, mother of Henry the Navigator, the brain of the discoveries.
There is a viewing platform on top of the monument reached by a lift so we go up and take in the views across the river and to the Jeronimos Monastery.
We stop for coffee next to the Belem Tower. Built in 1515 as a fortress to guard the entrance to Lisbon's harbor, the Belem Tower was the starting point for many of the voyages of discovery, and for the sailors it was the last sight of their homeland.
It is a monument to Portugal's Age of Discovery, often serving as a symbol of the country, and UNESCO has listed it as a World Heritage monument.
Built in the Manueline style, it incorporates many stonework motifs of the Discoveries, sculptures depicting historical figures such as St. Vincent and an exotic rhinoceros that inspired Dürer's drawing of the beast.
Along with the coffee we have a Pastais du Belem which is a delicious local egg custard pastry.
After a lunch at a very nice Italian restaurant Nosolo Italia we head back to the main square on the tram then pick up he ship's shuttle.