July 8, 2015
Ruth: Gordon found his voice today!  He has been speaking Portuguese almost as a local, well at least to my ears. I am pleased that I have enough vocabulary to understand simple exchanges, and to complement people on their excellent pastries.
Gord: Yesterday we took a tram out to Belem.  This is a suburb at the mouth of the Tejo, and the historic departure point for ships during the Age of Discovery.  Commemorating this period, and all the profits it generated, is the Unesco designated Torre de Belem.  This year is the 500th anniversary of the construction of this defensive structure.  While we had seen pictures of the tower, and expected to find its Manueline style excessively decorative, we were quite taken with its whimsical, organic flourishes.  Nearby is the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos, also Unesco designated.  We were charmed by its airy, fantastical cloister as well.  Both Camoes, the national epic poet, and Vasco de Gama, whose groundbreaking voyage to India was the subject of Camoes’ epic poem, are interred in the Mosteiro.

Tomorrow we begin the Camino Portuguese. Our bikes are assembled and appear to be undamaged and in working order. We picked up our credencials at the Cathedral in Lisbon and walked the first few kilometres of the route through town.

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