Belém and the tart dilemma

Belém and I didn’t become friends. The reason for this was the fact that it was Whit Sunday and I really wanted to eat tartlets. That first, but let’s take it one step at a time.

Belém (Portuguese for Bethlehem) is one of the oldest districts of Lisbon and is home to two Unesco World Heritage Sites, the Torre de Belém and the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, which are also among the most popular photo motifs of Lisbon.

There are many ways to get to Belém. However, most travel guides probably say that you should take tram line 15E from Cais do Sodre. At least that was our conclusion from the huge crowd on the tramperron. It seemed as if all the tourists in Lisbon wanted to go to Belém on this beautiful Sunday morning. Since I am deeply disgusted by jostling actions, where it is about elbow strengths and such, I was annoyed pretty quickly. An alternative had to be found. Luckily, Google knows everything. Via route planner we found out that only two blocks away at the Rua da Boavista the bus no. 714 also goes to Belém. The first hurdle was overcome, because there were only a few locals at this stop and we found a comfortable seat on the bus (without using elbows).

When we arrived in Belém, we explored the district on foot. First we went past the Palacio de Belém up to the Palacio da Ajuda, the seat of the last Portuguese kings. Afterwards we strolled through the Jardim Botanico da Ajuda, the oldest botanical garden in Portugal. The visit is recommended for two reasons: firstly, the view over Belém is fantastic and secondly, I have never encountered such a photogenic peacock.






Back down in the Rua de Belém, we met all the people who had squeezed into the tram 15E again. They were standing at the gates of the monastery. Thus, a visit to the monastery was superfluous for us (although the travel guide says it is “a must”).



Those who did not wait at the gates of the monastery stood in line in front of the “Pastéis de Belém”. But I wasn’t deterred, because I’ve heard so many raves about these tartlets that I wanted to try them myself. Well, if you want to drink coffee with your tartlet, you don’t have to be in the bag. At some point, I noticed this and went inside in search of a free table, which I found. From here on it was fun to finish. We were ignored, completely. After 60 minutes of waiting, several eye contacts with the waiters and already a rotation at the next table (people came, were served, paid, left and new people came, were served…) I had enough! Without tartlets and totally unnerved, I stormed out of the shop to the banks of the Tagus. Even the beautiful Torre de Belém couldn’t save my spirits.



But the worst thing was that I couldn’t stay consistent. My head was stubborn, he wanted tartlets and so I stood in line again and bought 4 tartlets to take away. Was it worth it? Yes and no. They were delicious, indeed. But they didn’t away, because they taste like Nidlechueche… and all the fuss about it?! Well. Exactly, Belém and I have to meet again under different circumstances in order to become friends.


Conclusion: Don’t visit Belém on a Pentecost Sunday and buy the Nidlechueche in Murten.

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