So Jordan and I went on a four day, four night trip to Lisbon, Portugal and it was AMAZING!!! I absolutely adore Portugal. I don't understand why more people don't go there! We stayed at a hostel called Home and it really was like home because it is run by a Portugese family and the mom (Mamma) makes dinner every night that you can have for 9 euros. It is really a deal because it is a 3 course meal that includes dessert and as much sangria, port wine, moscatel and ginjinha as you can drink. The sangria was delicious but all the other things are wayyy too sweet. The food was absolutely delicious and seemed to be very authentic.
All the Portugese people that we met and talked to spoke amazing English and many of them spoke really good Spanish as well. I don't know what the English teaching situation is like in Portugal but whatever it is they are doing a good job. I might have to start looking into English teaching programs there....I was really excited because I was able to read and understand spoken Portugese quite well. One year there and I'm sure I could pick it up quite easily.
We arrived in the evening and got to our hostel pretty smoothly via bus. The weather was rainy on and off for our entire stay there so I was never without my rain jacket. It was kinda a bummer but everything else was great so it didn't get us too down. That night we got dinner out and just walked around Lisbon for a while exploring.
The next day we did a 2 and half hour walking tour with a very good looking guide. There were a lot of Americans and Canadians staying at our hostel so the tour was in English. There are so many beautiful old and very colorful buildings in Lisbon. All the plazas and sidewalks are beautifully cobblestoned like in one of the pictures below. After the tour we took the tram to Belém where we visited a free art museum, where we saw a Picasso and a piece of art from Dali. Then we headed to the Tower of Belém, which over looks the river and you get a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Jesus statue like looks like the one in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. It is not actually called the Golden Gate Bridge but I will call it that because it looks almost exactly the same. We also sampled the delicious and famous Pasteís de Belém, which are like little toasted custardy cheesecakes? My powers of description are not up to snuff because they were to die for. That night we did a crappy pub crawl that the hostel recommended. It only took us to crappy clubs that we were not nearly drunk enough to enjoy. They also gave you hardly any alcohol in the included drinks with the pub crawl.
I met a really cool Canadian girl who is married to one of the guys that worked at our hostel. It was really great talking to her because we had a lot in common. She married her husband when she was 23 because her visa was almost up and they wanted to be together. They met during school in the UK. They got rings after they got married and she didn't take his last name. They had lived in Brasil and the UK together and just decided that they couldn't live without each other. She says it still feels weird to be married and it makes me feel better that I'm not the only one that thinks that. We talked about how it sucks when people look at you weird when you say your age and that your married. Or ask you why you are married. She is turning 27, thus getting to a more "acceptable" married age. Sometimes I wish I was older just so people wouldn't look at me strangely. Oh well, who cares what other people think!
I really liked our hostel but we stayed in a 8 bed room so we didn't really get much sleep because people would come and go at all hours of the night and morning. It wasn't really too bad, we just made sure to have a couple cups of coffee with the free breakfast in the morning.
The next day we went to Jorge's Castle in Lisbon and wandered around that side of town. Our whole trip we never really ate lunch, Jordan and I would split a couple amazing pastries every 3 to 4 hours and have some fruit and almonds. Not very healthy but TOTALLY worth it because the pastries in Lisbon are the best I have ever tasted. I really don't want to go back to the donuts and cake in the US. We went to the famous flea market near the castle and got to check out all sorts of cool antiques and local crafts. Too bad most of the stuff I wanted to buy was way too big to fit in my backpack. That night was the second night we had Mamma's delicious dinner and we had a good time drinking and eating with all the people in the hostel at the dinner. There was a group of hilarious Italians that sat next to us and sang and played some songs on the guitar.
There were a lot of people there as well who were also auxiliares in my program. Because of the break this weekend for the international day of labor many people had decided to go to Portugal because it is quite cheap. I spent 306 euros on everything; flight, food, lodging, souvenirs, etc.
On Sunday we went to the town of Sintra, which has the Castle of Pena and the Moorish Castle. The town was absolutely adorable and filled with art. All of Portugal that we saw had tons of art and I love that. The town was very colorful and surprisingly lush. It reminded me of Humboldt with all the moss and ferns. We were very lucky there because the weather was beautiful! It was sunny the entire time! It was quite a hike up to the castle but it was totally worth it. It was beautiful and the gardens surrounding it were unforgettable. We even saw redwoods in the gardens! So many species of trees and shrubs from around the world. We didn't go to the Moorish Castle because the Castle of Pena was expensive but we did get an amazing view of it from Pena. That night we went out with one of the girls from our hostel named Lisa to listen to some fado music. It is Portugese guitar music that is played on a special Portugese guitar and it very beautiful. It is reminiscent of flamenco, but with more variety and less dramatic probably because there is no dancing. I finally got to drink an over priced capirinha that I split with Jordan. I thought they were supposed to be cheap in Portugal?!
The next day we were super tired and sore from our day in Sintra so we just shopped in the few hours we had before we had to fly back to Palma.
|Jordan and I drinking some way too sweet ginjinha that is made from wild, sour cherries. The best part was eating one of the sour cherries that we got in the shot.|
|Cool mix of old and semi-destroyed and new|
|All the sidewalks and plazas looked like this|
|Super cool monument in Belém|
|Tower of Belém|