Sunday, December 5, 2010


Thank-you, Portugal! Yes, I'm a little behind with posts. Sorry 'bout that. Excuse is that I got behind with grading, and now grades and comments are due. Procrastination is an art form for me, and I've been practicing this craft for a lot of years now...honing it little by little along the way.

Anyway, so Portugal. Fabulous! "obrigado" means thank-you in Portuguese. And there are many things to THANK Portugal for during my 5-day stay, most of which is giving me somewhere to go in order to avoid the sacrificial killing of lambs and/or goats all over Morocco as they celebrated an important Muslim holiday here.

Lisbon (Lisboa) was where we stayed, in a fabulous hostel that was about a 10 minute walk from downtown. Lisbon is a city of hills, so we got some good workouts in trudging up and down them throughout the days. But, at the tops of these hills are some gorgeous views of the city! Looking out over red-tiled roofs, with an old castle in the background, was worth the walking! Lisbon is known for its tiles. They actually have buildings that are still tiled, on the outside, from back in the day. Really cool!

Funicular, coming up the hill

We spent a lot of time walking around the different 'barrios' of the city, exploring the views, architecture, people, etc. There ended up being ten of us from school who traveled to Lisbon during this break, albeit in different groups. We all managed to meet up for lunches and drinks a couple of the days we were there. Lisbon has an area of small bars, where patrons just pour out into the small bricked streets...drink in hand, smile on their face...looking for the next bar to head into. We started two evenings at a tequila/margarita bar that was a lot of fun. We met some new friends (Australian trampolinists) and eventually even found a karaoke bar. We were thrilled! We all belted out some tunes, with yours truly singing a rousing rendition of Prince's "Kiss", with some help from my friend Danni. :) 

Danni and I rockin' out to some Prince

Me with bartender.

There was also a day trip with friends to the town of Sintra, which is about 45 minutes from Lisbon. Beautiful little town, full of castles, palaces, beautiful views of the countryside. We climbed all over an old Moorish castle, despite my slight fear of heights. It was an amazing day and an incredible experience I won't soon forget.

I also attended my first soccer match. Portugal vs Spain in what my friend Filipe called a 'Friendly'. Meaning they were playing each other, but it wasn't as big of a deal as some matches? I dunno. I was cheering for Portugal, and they won 4-0. Stadium of Lights in Lisbon was pretty amazing. We were a little disappointed, however, that they did not sell beer in the stadium. Weird.
Corner kick...

St. Jeronimo's monastery, where Da Gama's tomb is located
Another day consisted of a visit to the town of Belem, just outside of Lisbon. They are known for their custard pastries, and tribute to the Age of Discovery. Think back to elementary when you were learning about the Explorers who sailed from Portugal, or who were sailing FOR Portugal. Well, there's a massive monument dedicated to that 'era' if you will. Vasco Da Gama's tomb is also in a huge cathedral there. Pretty cool to see...

Vasco Da Gama's tomb

Discovery Monument


Belem Tower

Sidewalk outside of famous pastry store

 A few of us also visited the castle that dons the hillside in Lisbon. This is the castle that was featured on an episode of The Bachelorette a few seasons ago. I can't remember which crazy-train lady's season this was, but I remember thinking how cool it would be to go to that castle. Alas...
Castle of Sao Jorge, in Lisbon
Me entering the castle
Steps going down the castle

Of course, in addition to all of the sight seeing, we managed to just have a lot of fun. Eating, drinking, dancing with old friends, and while meeting new ones.
Fil, Nina, me...modern art.                                              Tom, Karissa, Pauline - CAS friends
Jenny and I on way to soccer game.

New friends from Australia + friends from CAS = Gooood karaoke!

The whale looked thirsty.

1 comment:

  1. Belem isn't a town or suburb, but a neighborhood/district of Lisbon.