Just up the street from Pastéis de Belém, a bakery famous for its mouth-watering egg custard tarts, and right across the way from the Tower of Belém, the ceremonial gateway into Lisbon’s harbor, stands an over-the-top structure that exemplifies Portuguese art at its absolute best.

Iberian Adventure: Framing the Jeronimos Monastery | ©thepalladiantraveler.comIt’s the iconic Mosteiro dos Jerónimos (Monastery of the Hieronymites), and it’s suitable for framing.

I’m on the clock — less than an hour to be exact — to take in this one-of-a-kind house of worship that serves as the final resting place for Vasco da Gama, the celebrated 15th century explorer who discovered the ocean route to India, along with numerous kings and queens.

That’s a tall order, but I am a member of the intrepid “band of merry media” — 29 travel scribes and photographers hand picked by Insight Vacations (Insight) to experience a portion of its Iberian Adventure through Portugal and Spain — so, I’m up to the task.

Iberian Adventure: Framing the Jeronimos Monastery | ©thepalladiantraveler.comVAMOS!

Gathered outside around Laura, Insight’s expert on all-things Lisboa, she gives us a quick primer on the history and style of the ornate monastery.

The architecture is Manueline, a unique, Portuguese late-Gothic style named so after King Manuel I who commissioned and financed the 100-year building project that got underway in 1502.

Iberian Adventure: Framing the Jeronimos Monastery | ©thepalladiantraveler.com
The Monastery of the Hieronymites, with its elaborate sculptural details, many with a maritime motif, is the most impressive symbol of Portugal’s power and wealth during its celebrated Age of Discovery, that period between the 15th and 17th centuries when the country defined globalization, thanks to its famed explorers who plotted faraway ocean routes to India, the Orient, Africa and South America.

Like its neighbor, the Tower of Belem, the monastery is also a recognized UNESCO World Heritage site, and it shows. Lens caps off, let’s have a look.

Iberian Adventure | ©thepalladiantraveler.comFor complete information on Insight’s premium and luxury-escorted itineraries, including the Iberian Adventure and 112 other journeys throughout Europe, just click HERE, or call toll free 1-888-680-1241, or contact your travel agent.

Back on board the motor coach, reclined in my business-class legroom seat, Helder, our GQ-worthy driver, puts the sleek Insight galleon in gear and away we go. Where to? Oh, just the western-most point on continental Europe.

©The Palladian Traveler

Borsalino w/ props SMALL | ©Tom Palladio Images

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Written by The Palladian Traveler

Tom traded his hometown St. Louis Cardinals' baseball cap in the United States for a Borsalino and he now hangs his "capello" in the Puglia region of southeastern Italy. A veteran print and broadcast journalist, with well-worn passports that have got him into and out of 50 countries and counting, Tom fell in love with the "Bel Paese" years ago. As he notes, "I'm inspired by the beauty I find in all things that are very, very old, and reliving history, or at least meandering along cobblestone streets that were laid down over a thousand years ago and just looking up and marveling at what occupies the space still today, really gets my 'Vespa' running." Tom has a good eye behind the lens and is a graphic storyteller, but he'll let you decide as he keeps his camera batteries fully charged and the posts flowing from his creative hideaway in the hills overlooking Ostuni. You can also follow his dispatches along the cobblestone via TravelingBoy.com.

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