Tuesday, March 04, 2008


I went to Lisbon for the weekend with one of the other postdocs a few weeks back. The idea was a short escape from winter. Instead, it rained.

This is the Castle of São Jorge:

It's actually not much to look at: a few courtyards and the castle walls and towers.

But as the castle where you're most likely to kill yourself, the Castle of São Jorge -- of the many castles I've seen -- is now definitely my favorite. At other places, you'll see something cool and wonder, 'why can't I go over there?' Here, you want to walk the paths on top of the walls and climb the towers? No problem. Is it pouring rain and slippery? No problem. Is water running down the steps (nice and narrow and steep) as you're climbing? Sure! Are there only low or no railings/walls? Yup! Is it really windy? You bet. And are you holding an open umbrella? Well ... yeah, maybe I should put this down and just live with getting soaked.

Of course, the rain really started when we got to the castle, and right after we decided to leave, it stopped. Here's the view from the main square of the castle:

We arrived on the rainy Saturday and before and after visiting the castle wandered the city center:

We could actually see the castle from our hotel room. It's the tree in the distance on the right hand side of the photo (very Castle in the Sky-looking, isn't it?). On the last day, we tried to find the nearer tower seen on the left but didn't before we had to leave for the airport.

On Sunday, we went to Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, an art museum with a nice ancient art collection, then took the bus to Belém, a neighborhood west of the city center on the river (the Tagus). We took the bus and the metro to get around; it was all very easy and convenient.

The first thing we did in Belém was locate a pastry shop recommended by a Portugese postdoc. It wasn't hard to find: it's the place with the giant line of people in front of it.

There and every day we were in Lisbon, we ate these pastries (thanks to Sherry for letting me use this picture):

Down the street is the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The church:

The cloisters:

By the water, is Padrão dos Descobrimentos, where a few German tourists who were Jehovah's Witnesses tried to proselytize to Sherry in Mandarin.

And further down the water, the Torre de Belém:

So I'm a little low on text today. Hopefully the pictures and wiki links made up for it.


Eugene said...

Cool pictures. Did you climb those little narrow walkways on that castle? (And are those couple of guys actually standing on the tower?!)

That pastries look yummy. I want.

Jackie said...

Hi Eugene -- Yes we did (and yes they are). And the pastries were very good; you must be able to find them in NYC somewhere.