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Entries about pastel de nata

Portugal Day 10: Belém Me!

sunny 93 °F

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We started our day by going to mass at São Sebastião church near our hotel. It was very small on the inside...
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But incredibly beautiful. It was rather full, too. Mass is fairly easy to follow in Portuguese, since it is similar to Latin. However, the sermon was a bit difficult. We did pick up that he mentioned bread, and buying things, and eating and drinking.
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It was heartening to see that even new/replacement fittings of the church are done in the old style to match with everything else.
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Some pictures of the Parque Eduardo VII, which is named for King Edward VII of England. Our hotel had a view of this park, and we walked through it to get to the church.
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We got a taxi to Belém for lunch. We planned to explore the area, which we hadn’t seen much of yet. We got toasted cheese and chips at this little cafe, and Catherine tried a lemon radler (beer with lemon flavor.) It seemed to be made by Sagres, as most of the beer in this country seems to be.
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Missangas.
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Which is a jewelry store where you can make your own jewelery. Catherine loved it, and made herself a cork bracelet with blue Portuguese tile.
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After that we went to the famous Pasteis de Belém, arguably the first bakery to create the pastel de nata. The recipe is supposed to be a secret, but we have now found pasteis de nata all over the world (if Hanford and Portugal count as all over the world.) These were very good, and we got an orange juice and a galão to go with them.
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Next we visited the Jerónimos monastery. It was beautiful from the outside. There was a long line to pay to get into the cloister, so we chose to simply visit the church.
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First was the tomb of the poet Camões.
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Tombs featuring elephants: most of these graves belong to Portuguese royalty.
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Various tombs and altars around the church. It is a beautiful place, obviously designed to impress the viewer with the glory of the Portuguese empire.
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Catherine loves the elephant tombs.
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The tomb of the lost king Sebastião. He went deep into enemy territory and was never seen again. This led, in the years afterwards, to a rumor that he was still alive. Various claimants insisted that they were him (some of whom didn’t speak Portuguese, making it less likely.) Later, it led to a legend that he would return someday to restore Portugual to its former glory. Apparently, Philip II did have some bones, which he claimed were Sebastian’s, placed in the tomb during the Iberian Union in order to solidify his power, but the legend persists.
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The tomb of Vasco de Gama. We are hoping that this visit inspires Catherine to improve her sense of direction, in emulation of the great Portuguese navigators.
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Various monuments around Belém, including the Monument to the Portuguese Discoveries and the Christo Rei statue on the other side of the river.
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Some pictures of Belém tower.
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Wine With a View stand, as well as the accompanying view of the bridge and the statue. The bridge was built by the same company that designed the Bay Bridge in San Francisco, but painted the same color as the Golden Gate Bridge.
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We went to dinner and a fado show in Bairro Alto. Anthony, Catherine’s dad, tried octopus.
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The singers.
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Both of us remember the commercials for the “Vienna” ice cream lasagne, but neither of us have tried it. We took our chance and tried it.
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Some pictures outside the fado restaurant. We had a wonderful night. Tomorrow we fly to the Azores!

Posted by danielcatherine 18:26 Archived in Portugal Tagged elephants bridge music dinner monastery kings octopus belem camoes fado discoveries jerónimos pastel_de_nata vasco_de_gama sebastião Comments (2)

Portugal Day 5: Cloisters and Fado

semi-overcast 85 °F

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We started our day with a breakfast that reminded us greatly of our Portuguese lessons. On each lesson some character would order bottles of water (Aguas minerais), some custard pastries (pasteis de nata) and a latte (um galão). This is what we got at a cafe called “The World Needs Nata.”
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Some views around the cafe, including the buskers who were playing across the street.
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The streets in Coimbra.
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Next we went to the Santa Cruz monastery, where much of the knowledge of the Portuguese explorers had been gathered and collected. It was founded by St. Teotonio/ Theotonius in 1131.
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Inside the church.
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The sacristy of the church. There was a great deal of artwork on the walls, and several very beautiful liturgical artifacts. The church appears to still be in use to some extent, as there are current liturgical books on some of the shelves.
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A side room with some religious art and relics. The “bust reliquary” in the middle holds the skull of St. Teotonio. The other two hold relics related to the Five Martyrs of Morocco, Franciscans who were killed for preaching the Catholic faith.
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The Chapter room where meetings took place, with its own altar.
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Some pictures of the cloister.
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The tile work around the walls.
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Tapestries.
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The relic sanctuary. This room was amazingly beautiful. It is highly symmetrical and perfectly arranged, but each element on the walls contains relics of various saints. It felt like something out of a fantasy novel.
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Some pictures at the sanctuary of the church, including the tombs of the first and second kings of Portugal, Afonso Henriques and his son Sancho.
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Some views of the street after we left. On our way up towards the old cathedral, we stopped at the Fado ao Centro and booked tickets for the show at 7:00 PM. We also stopped at the shop of an artist named Marcia Santos, who does illustrations with ballpoint pen. We purchased two of her drawings in frames to take home.
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Then we arrived at the Old Cathedral (the new one was built in the 17th century.)
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Inside the cathedral. Some tombs of various people, including a Byzantine princess who was a lady-in-waiting to Queen Saint Isabella (who lived in Coimbra at the end of her life).
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This little creature at the foot of the tomb of one of the bishops. Is it a shih tzu?
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The cloister at the cathedral.
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For some reason, the floor of the cloister is covered in “2”s.
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Outside the church.
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A little restaurant across from the cathedral where we had a quick snack: caldo verde, a popular Portuguese soup.
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The fado show was beautiful. Fado de Coimbra is distinct from other fado. The instrumentals were really impressive, as was the singing. After the show we got to drink some port wine and talk with the musicians. We bought a CD which they signed.
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After this we went towards the river for dinner and a short walk. It was beautiful at sunset.
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Gelato! Daniel got Azorean pineapple and mint, Catherine got Madeira banana.
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And then, another fado show! One of the musicians from the first one played at this one as well. However, it was different: this show was Fado de Lisboa, which has a female singer and a different kind of sound. We bought this CD as well. It was an amazing show and we really enjoyed learning about the different varieties of the music.

Posted by danielcatherine 03:48 Archived in Portugal Tagged sunset river cloisters cathedral music port dinner wine relics gelato fado pastel_de_nata galão Comments (2)

Portugal Day 1: Vamos!

sunny 100 °F

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Yesterday, Daniel went to Hanford to purchase some baked goods at the Portuguese bakery there. The pastel de nata and the biscoitos were especially delicious, but we can’t wait to try the ones in Portugal!
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We finished packing and then got on the road to San Jose. We fly out early in the morning tomorrow for Portugal (by way of Boston). Tonight, we had a delicious dinner with Daniel’s parents and then played a game of 500, our favorite card game. Now we need to get a small amount of sleep before flying out!

Posted by danielcatherine 00:08 Archived in USA Tagged portugal san_jose 500 selma hanford pastel_de_nata biscoitos Comments (2)

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