Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Lisbon, Portugal - Spring Break 2010

May 18, 2010

Hi there folks.....sorry it has been longer than promised for this update about my april trip to lisbon, portugal....time in the last month of school just seems to disappear and as i type this update i have 15.5 days of school.....YAHOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

it's been a crazy year for me...from my friend judy having her brain explode & live throughit, thank goodness....to a great group of 7th grade (the grade i normally do not like) and a horrible group of 8th grade (usually my favorites)....to making the decision to stay longer than intended because i just didn't feel like job searching....and now i wonder if i made the correct choice....but we live with what we choose....to having only 15.5 more days left and a packed calendar until that date of freedom.....and so it goes.....

but onto the update about my trip to portugal....which i took all on my own....many people ask if i get lonely when traveling by myself....well, of course at times....but i really like making my own schedule, seeing what i want to see, eating when i want to eat and having whatever i want....it's a pretty good deal.....don't get me wrong, i love traveling with people too, but you learn quickly if you will travel together again soon after your trip has started and there are folks i will travel with again, and others i will not...i am sure you understand

so i like traveling alone.....and with people....so this summer should be a good one....but back to portugal.....wowowowowowow....what a great town this one is....so much old world charm.....they may be in the EU....but its got more soul than many of the polished cities of the EU....with its cobbled stone streets sporting many sea-oriented mosaics...to the old world rickety tram system....and modern underground....to diversity on every corner due to being so close to africa....its a terrific mix of old world and new and i really enjoyed it and may try and get back when its a smidge warmer to be able to go swimming along the coast.....

i was in the city for easter....not the greatest time to be there, as it is a catholic country and everything shuts down....but its a fabulous town to wander up and down the streets of and there is lots of music and water to be seen and heard....and it's hilly....really hilly.... the old town is in a valley between two hills...on top of one is the castle and on top of the other is the remains of a burnt out monastery....easter sunday i wandered up and down both of the these hills, took trolleys and explored all over....i even was lucky enough to come across a ben and jerry's that was open....haven't seen one of those is a long time

i did get out of the city for one afternoon and what i saw of the coast of this country was stunning...it has a beautiful coastline....some that is the best on the world for wind surfing
and some that is great for swimming....and of course lisbon is along a river that empties into the ocean and much of its history is tied into the sea and exploration....it's a cool place that i recommend for tasty food and port, beautiful vistas, and lots of old world charm.....plus, it is a bit cheaper than many other countries of the EU...always a plus :)

okay....onto the pictures......the first shot was taken in the old part of town where they have this cool elevator that links the monastery hill to the bottom of the valley...that's the grey thing in between the buildings...i didn't take it, but it's wild, you turn the corner and suddenly see this elevator to a place you can't see at the top....crazy...

the second shot is also down in the old town....you are looking at one of the main theaters of lisbon, but i took this picture mostly for the mosaic tile on the square than for the building itself...
this tile was everywhere and all of it has a story....this one in particular was made to represent waves of the water....cool huh!!!!

the third shot is one of my very favorites....it was easter and i walked into the biggest cathedral, that had just mass, and was closing up....and look at what i saw....it was incredible....this shaft of light....amazing....and what perfect timing....so i lit some candles for my grandmothers....and wished them well and left....loved it :)

the next shot was taken up on the hill where the monastery is, looking over the city towards the river....you can see the castle across the city and that is where i walked to next....

this shot was taken from a spot where i stopped to have coffee, read a book & listen to some terrific buskers....they were playing fado....these songs are often played in a minor key and are of course all about love lost and love hoped for....these players were terrific...and an interesting mix of men and women and different ethnicities....
from this almost too perfect stop i hiked up the hills to the castle...where i got to climb the walls and look down on the city and the river...this is one of the towers i climbed and at one point i got the perfect shot of the flag of portugal waving....

after hanging at the castle for the afternoon....reading, catching some sun and watching people, i headed back into the main part of town....took a trolley....these are very similar to the trolleys of san francisco, except no outside seats or hanging off...which means no getting wet in the rain :)

the day after easter i toured some places on the edge of lisbon and outside of the city....i took this shot of the maritime museum and monastery of jeronimos from one of those hop on and hop off buses....awesome buildings that i went into the next day....but this was the better picture....

outside of the city i went to sinstra....and the pena palace....a castle up on a hilltop with many different architectural styles....making it seem more like a frosted birthday cake in my opinion....it was wild....
here's a shot from the main entrance the other picture i took here is based on mythology and the sea...they call it the triton - half-man, half-fish....and he watches over the gateway of creation....i loved it!
from this incredible palace we drove out to the coast to the farthest point of continental europe without falling into the ocean....here you see me at that spot with the sea and light house behind me...spectacular views here....but really windy....this is the area that is known for wind surfing.....i even got a certificate that said i was at this spot on the globe...pretty cool :)

the final day in lisbon i was back on the outskirts of town....in the belem district....i stopped by the monument of discoveries....i loved this statue...it was built to honor the many people who left portugal is search of the passageway to other lands like india and the west indies and parts of africa....even to circumnavigate the globe....i really wanted to show you what the whole thing looked like and this was the best i could do....this was taken from the terrace of the modern art gallery across the street....the gallery itself was awesome!!!!

they had this amazing exhibit of soft sculpture made from colored cloth and done as creations people of all ages could snuggle up to & roll around....this next shot is of part of that sculpture....you can get a sense of size with the person standing in the picture....it was fun to watch adults and kids play among this art....and then they had a part where you could create your own....they also had a chandelier made entirely of ob tampons still in their wrappers....you couldn't tell what it was until you got up close....it was wild....
the next shot is the tomb of vasco de gama....the same man who stands at the front of the statue in the last set of pictures....it was in the monastery of jeronimos....and i thought it was neat to see the ceiling and walls have such a sea oriented motif....the entire church did....it was a cool combination of religion and ocean.....
the last shot is not from portugal....but i got complaints from people who missed the shot at the end last time of me plus a beer or a drink....so i have included one from the recent labor day celebration here in zagreb....it was saturday and the city makes beans and bread for everyone....so went we and enjoyed the celebration...i didn't have any beans as they were of course cooked with meat (its croatia afterall :) but i did have some of the beer that was being served....and it was a beautiful day....

okay...hope you enjoyed this update....again i am sorry it took a while to get this out..and this will be the last "regular" update....i will be trying to get one or two out over the summer as i have some amazing plans that include sailing in the southern islands of croatia, hanging in boston for a conference and meeting up with friends, and hanging in PA....i may try to hit NJ, NYC and DC too, so if you live in one of those places, you may hear from me saying i am coming your way :) and then i am traveling in europe in august before school starts with a few friends and visiting a few folks :) it should be a blast :)

so i hope all of you have a terrific beginning of your summer and that each of you does something fun and different over the summer as well....and i should be dropping you a line
at least once over the summer and then will pick updates back up again for the next school year here in croatia...i am hoping to make it to prague, ireland, macedonia, montenegro, and maybe iceland before i am done here in europe....but we'll see what happens....happy summer to you and yours and drop a line and say hi if you get the chance....thanks for reading and looking at the pictures :)

Have a fab day :)

dani

3 comments:

Mel Bowman said...

Beautiful pictures, Dani! Portugal is the country of my grandparents and I've always wanted to visit. I'm glad you enjoyed your stay!

Anonymous said...

I never comment on blogs, but this one is awesome! Thanks.

Viktor said...

Ms. D! How could you not visit Joao?!