All good in Portugal
Fun times over here exploring Portugal with my family. I'm lucky enough to have a family that loves to travel as well, and felt the urge to come join me out there in the world. A traveling holiday over Christmas is pretty fun, especially in the car when we all have to look for signs to the small cities where we are going, since in Portugal, the signs are often misleading/in the wrong place/ not there at all.
We started in Lisbon, and had our foreign exchange sister Steffi with us for the 5 nights there to celebrate Christmas with concerts, special holiday foods, lights and of course, presents. Got some new t-shirts (including an awesome travel shirt from my cousin, Alisha) which will come in quite useful since I've been using mine for the last 8 months now. Lisbon is pretty cool, and although it felt not that large when we were there, upon seeing the rest of the country, it is definitely the largest city around. Several vegetarian/vegan restaurants for the family to try out, churches all over, and some interestingly placed elevators next to hills. The day trips to nearby fairy tale castles on misty days were quite nice as well. Always good to have a home base when traveling, and Lisbon did the job quite well.
Next was north to visit the walled town of Obidos, which to my surprise, was free to walk on. Luckily the city made up for the lack of cost to enter the walls by charging too much for slightly flavored water they called soup.
We also checked out some old Roman ruins that showed how far west they went, and also why they ruled for so long: very impressive stone structures, streets, mosaics, fountains and more. It's probably not the thing people expect to see in Portugal, but it was pretty damn cool (apart from the constant drizzle on the site).
Listening to Fado music at a cultural center was another highlight. Fado is the traditional style of music with a nylon stringed guitar and what they call the Portuguese Guitar, something similar to a mandolin and yet somehow cooler. Two musicians and one singer, and boom! Fado in the the house. Very good stuff and we learned about the history, styles and heard a variety of songs. The parents got an autographed CD, so if you want to hear, give them a call!
The Convento de Cristo in Tomar was built by the Knights Templar and was super impressive, from the size, to the mosaics, to the tiles and definitely to the ornate Manueline carvings all over. One of the coolest things we've seen so far. Lots of exploring there, and it was fun to have the same view of the Tree of Life window from several angles. Seeing lots of great things on this trip, and stocking up on European culture one last time! Africa next weekend when I take the ferry to Morocco. Enjoy the photos below:
|My sister and I attempting to call you at the same time|
|Enjoying the old walled city of Obidos|
|Ancient Roman mosaics|
|Those clever Romans and their pigmentation still present in Portugal|
|Tile everywhere in Portugal. Here in Tomar.|
|Convento de Cristo, Tomar, Portugal|
|Closeup of what I would look like if I was a waterspout|
|Templar Knights fountain in Tomar|
|Tiny Megaliths! Just like Stonehenge, but older and with the sexy P-B family!|
|Jumping to save my life|