The Fresh Prince of Belém

Now this is a story all about how
My life got flipped turned upside down
And I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there
I’ll tell you how I ate the pastries in a town called Belém

We are in Portugal. And that means tarts. I was slightly disappointed in myself that it wasn’t the very first thing I ate upon arrival in Lisbon, especially since we are staying above a pastry shop, but it was all for the best, as yesterday we trammed it over to Belém, literally the birthplace of pastéis de nata. Of course every other tourist in town was also on the tram, so it was a pretty packed ride.

Belém has a few big ticket historic items, and the tram stop is right outside a giant monastery. We were a bit churched out post Seville, so decided just to admire it from the outside as we walked past it towards Pastéis de Belém. This place bought the recipe for the tarts from the monastery in 1837 (where it was invented as a way to use up excess egg yolks after the whites were used for starching clothes), and have been making them ever since. The queue outside was a little discouraging, but turns out that was just for takeaway – we walked in and sat right down at a free table with a view into the tart creation production line.

Much like Japan ruined Australian sushi for us, I’m pretty sure actual Portuguese Portuguese custard tarts will spoil us. Warm from the oven, the crispiest pastry ever, delicious custard – so good.

Sweet tooth satisfied, we continued our wander around Belém. We did queue up for a bit to get into the Belém Tower, but after the line stopped moving and the rain kept going, even I was willing to admit defeat, so we bailed and headed back to our castle home. Yes, in Lisbon, our Airbnb is literally inside the castle walls. It gives us a great view, though it does mean an epic uphill walk any time we want to go anywhere, even with the assistance of some elevators (which I really really wish we knew about before we lugged our suitcases up countless flights of stairs). The floor count on my fitbit has never looked so good.

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