Cascais and Belem

CascaisIn the afternoon I took the metro to the Cais do Sodré train station.  I wanted to catch the train to the Belem area to see the explorers’ monument, the little tower there, and the Mosteiro Dos Jeronimos.  From there, I planned on getting back on the train and continuing down the track to the little beach town of Cascais.  Unfortunately, the train went right past Belem.  I watched the monument and tower fly by the window and realized the train wasn’t going to stop.  Oh well, guess I was going straight to Cascais!  I figured I would try again on the way back…

CascaisEventually, after quite a few stops, I arrived at the end of the line in Cascais.  I wandered through the crowded, touristy feeling little downtown area of shops til I arrived at the water.  The beach front was small and packed with people.  Along one side of the beach ran a dock with fishing boats docked.  I’m sure they helped make that water very pleasantly clean…  I wasn’t tempted to go swimming on this little beach, and so kept walking to the right, past a fort that I couldn’t find the entrance to, and along a series of docks for the fancier boats and sailboats.

The Beachfront at CascaisI kept walking, convinced that there had to be another beach somewhere, right?  That, and I had seen pictures of the pretty, little blue and white lighthouse in Cascais and figured I’d find that while I was at it.  After quite the lengthy walk, I did find the lighthouse, the Farol de Santa Maria.  The coast at this point was rocky with no beautiful beaches like I had read so much about.  I continued past the lighthouse, and the restaurants/hotels and still it was all rock, for as far as I could see.  Hot, tired, dehydrated, and slightly flustered, I headed back into the little downtown area.

Farol de Santa MariaI got dinner there, some type of pasta that I don’t remember, nothing too special.  I do remember the garlic roll I got there, though!  It was essentially a roll, with slices cut into it, but not all the way through.  These slices were stuffed with cheese, garlic, and herbs.  The roll was then wrapped in tin foil and baked like this.  The cheese melted with all of that yumminess throughout the roll and it was absolutely amazing!  So much so, that I had to order a second!  With some gelato for dessert, I decided not to write Cascais off as a total failure.  Especially when, as I headed back to the train stop, I found more street musicians whom I stopped to enjoy for a moment.  Portugal has some great, uplifting street music.

Walking along the riverWhile waiting for the next train back to Lisbon, I thought to ask an attendant how to get to Belem.  It turned out, while the train between Cascais and Lisbon went past the Belem stop, it didn’t actually stop there.  Instead, I had to take it to a stop prior to Belem, hop off, and jump onto another train that was already there and take that to Belem.  Unfortunately, the train stop for Belem really wasn’t very close to the things I wanted to see…

Padrão dos DescobrimentosSo, more walking, this time along the river until I reached the explorers’ monument, actually called the Padrão dos Descobrimentos, or in English, the “Monument to the Discoveries,” with Henry the Navigator heading the way.  From there, I continued on to the Belém Tower, a good deal further down the way.  I reached the tower just after the sun had set, in twilight.  At this point I was exhausted and just wanted to head back to my room.  I walked back along the road, eventually catching a ride from a taxi back to my room, where I promptly crashed for an amazing night’s sleep.

Belém Tower

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