Lisboa, Portugal

3 Oct

Friday morning came very very early for us Sevilla kids. like 6:45 am. (Though our host mom told us a Spanish dicho (saying) that basically meant that we shouldn’t complain about things that we don’t want to do that enable us to do things we do want to do. Basically that but it always sounds cooler in Spanish.) We trekked through the city to find our way to where the bus awaited us. Really though, it was pretty far, even going half by bici.

The trip was long, but relatively entertaining. I sat with my brother Dan, and we took creeper pictures, shared some of our favorite music with each other (because our tastes in music are practically polar opposites, this was a mildly entertaining venture), and I crocheted a little. Six hours passed quickly since we were with our Spain family.

We took a quick break at a rest stop about halfway there and encountered our first episode of, “Holy crap I don’t speak even the slightest bit of the language they’re speaking.” All I really needed at that point was coffee, which was relatively easy to communicate. This was just what I needed at 10:30 am. But for real- I love european coffee.

We finally made it to the hotel and checked in. This place is beautiful. Seriously. I wouldn’t mind living there. There was some slight chaos with some of our friends not having rooms that were ready, so while they waited, we all decided to go to a little cafe for a snack. And mostly coffee. Such good coffee. (Though I forgot to take a picture. Drat.) Some friends tried Pastel Nata, which is this beautiful delicious sugary creation Lisbon is famous for.

After that break, we hopped back on the buses and headed to Plaza de Rocio! This place is gorgeous. There is a huge archway and clock tower, AND its a huge shopping center, basically.

I absolutely adore Portugal, by the way. It is strangely different and yet oddly similar to Spain, but I just love it. It is amazing to think that we can hop on a bus for a few (six) hours and be part of a totally different country, culture, and language. Love that.

Things to note about Lisboa: It is strangely similar to San Francisco. You have your trolleys, your hills everywhere, even the bridge.

Also, while we’re talking monuments, Lisboa has a large Rio-esque Jesus statue.

Anywho, so we’re near the Plaza, but we take a quick walk up to this castle. And by quick I mean long, and also up massive hills. I almost died, and my shoes did die. Saddest day. All in all, totally worth it though, because I got what I wanted: A picture of me being Flynn Rider.

I could get used to a view like this... Yup. I'm used to it. Guys, I want a castle.

After marveling at the view (for a complete photo set of every view possible from this castle and me posing adorably, check facebook!) we went back to Plaza de Rocio.

At this point, it was probably getting close to 8, but because Portugal is an hour less than Spain, it felt like 9, aka dinner. I started feeling kind of dizzy and hungry and blah, so we looked for a place to eat. Let me just tell you, I think I had the greatest and worst and funniest dining experience in my entire life that night. Our friend Sidney asked around and some locals pointed us in the very general direction of some restaurants. Very general. We walked and walked, and finally found a few restaurants, but they were a little on the expensive side. We didn’t like that. So we wandered down a street until we found THE restaurant. Let me preface this by saying… no. There is no prefacing. This literally just happened to us.

We walk in this restaurant, because there were five of us and no room to sit outside. There is a lady who is a little older, with fire engine red, short hair. She looks kind of crazy. We all exchange some nervous glances, as the dog tied to the chair at another table barks at us. The bird in the cage outside the door starts squawking. The lady comes over to us, and we ask if she speaks Spanish. No luck. Okay, no big deal, a lot of people in Portugal just don’t like speaking Spanish, or don’t know it. Fine. We ask if she speaks English. No again. Oooookay then. This is where we start questioning whether or not we should still stay, but at this point we’re surrounding the table, basically just hovering over the chairs. So after questioning each other multiple times on whether or not we should stay, we did. We took our time ordering, stopping to ask what things were, and for having an intense language barrier, I think we did pretty well. So we order, things are fine, the dog stopped barking at least. But then, it happens. This lady whips out a hair dryer. We are mortified. We have no idea what is going on, and conclude that she is defrosting the meat with said hair dryer. Also, I might note, at this point the dog has vanished, not helping our conspiracy theories… She runs in and out of the shop a few times, and Savannah and I finally get our omelette (and that’s why they keep the bird outside…). Dan got steak I believe, and Sidney, Liz, and Amanda all ordered Bacalahau (Codfish I think). For all the chaos and stress of ordering and sitting in that place watching the lady with a hair dryer, the food was SO GOOD. There were so many french fries and everything was wonderful. Man, I still can’t believe it happened though.

Anywho, after dinner, we found a small convenience store and bought some wine (Lisboa is known for the vinho verde, a type of white wine), and some chocolate. You know, the important things. We walked back to our hotel and had a mini-party and talked philosophy and had our wine and snacks. It was so perfect, even though we ended up staying up until 3 or later. A great night, and a great talk with wonderful friends.

The next morning (also very early) We made our way to the buses to go to a monastary. This place was beautiful, and I’m sure there was some brilliant history to it, but I was far away from our guide and couldn’t hear anything, so I mostly just took pictures.

 

This was my favorite part, there was a beautiful plaza with a fountain that was oh so perfect for picture taking. Here is my brother, Dan, and sister, Amanda. We are cute.

After the monastary, we went to the Torre de Belem. This place fascinated me, and I could hear some of the history, so here goes: This was a tower that was also used as a prison, for prisoners as well as the soldiers that occupied it. At one time it was surrounded completely by water, and therefore the soldiers couldn’t leave even if they wanted to. There used to be a sister tower across the river, but all that is left now are the ruins. This tower was so much fun because they let us roam free and take pictures for quite a while. Love that!

We took the scenic route via buses back to the Plaza de Rocio, where we were dropped off to begin our free time! We started by grabbing lunch (with coffee of course), and some dessert! We were so bad though- we stopped in McDonalds for some ice cream. Oy.

Then we went on a fifteen minute touristy shopping spree where we bought postcards, scarves, and I think Liz bought some shoes. Then, we headed to the train station for SINTRA! I will save that trip for another post, because it is just so beautiful and grand! Let me just say, there were TRAINS involved. Score!

We came home from Sintra absolutely stinkin exhauted, so we chilled in the rooms again and had a cookie party, which literally consisted of practically passing out on the beds and eating cookies. The next morning, we got up and got back on the buses (seriously, too much bussing for one weekend…) and headed out on the 6 hour trip back home.

I wish this is where the story ended, with happiness and love, and a quick walk home to our beds. But alas, it is not. Savannah and I decided to take bicis home to make our trip go a little quicker. This was a mistake. We got to the bike station super close to our house, and see two spots free! Score! JK. One of them had an orange thing in it, so we couldn’t park both. So, we took off for the next stations that we knew of. We went to five different stations, with each of them being either full or not open yet. Finally, when we were probably further away from our house than when we started riding bikes (just on the opposite side of town), we found one! And then proceeded to hate our lives as we walked home with backpacks in tow.

On a happy note, we watched Doctor Who last night and it was absolutely wonderful, so that made it much better. I’ll leave you with a few more pictures, and the promise of a Sintra post so so soon!

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6 Responses to “Lisboa, Portugal”

  1. Meg October 4, 2011 at 5:01 pm #

    Loved this! I was reading the post and I literally had to stop because it was hard not to laugh.

    • Jess October 5, 2011 at 4:50 am #

      It was quite the adventure!! 🙂 Love you!

  2. Ann Denne October 4, 2011 at 6:28 pm #

    Hi!

    • Jess October 4, 2011 at 7:15 pm #

      Hi there!! 🙂 Hope you enjoy reading the blog!

  3. Madre October 4, 2011 at 6:28 pm #

    Hey Jess!

    • Jess October 4, 2011 at 7:15 pm #

      Hi momma!

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