Here is another post I forgot to publish while I was in Lisbon, Portugal.
As soon as I crossed the border into Portugal (surprisingly anticlimactic, btw) I was hit with a wave of nerves. I was finally getting used to Spain and fumbling my way through
bars and menus life with the (more than expected) Spanish I could remember from four years ago in high school. And now what? I’m being told that speaking Spanish in Portugal isn’t such a good idea, and that *OK PHEW, JL just said a lot more people speak English here* but, still… Pulling into our fourth city in 8 days is a lot. I’m nervous about moving to Madrid soon and leaving the safety of my seminar, I’m starting to really miss being able to call my mom whenever I want, and I have no idea what to expect from Portugal, aside from my dad’s stories about visiting the Castle of the Moors (see, I listen!).
After a good pep talk with Allison, we met up with Rachel and Hailee and Rhiann and went down to dinner. While it may have seemed a little intimidating a few hours ago, THE FOOD IN PORTUGAL IS THE BEST SO FAR and now I am feeling optimistic and less grumpy. Even
a tiny bit better than the food in Granada! The next day, we had a lesson in the morning and then went to the Tajo River to view the Torre de Belem which used to be a customhouse for incoming ships to pay the “Royal Fifth” tax on their imports- 20% of their riches going straight to the Portuguese crown- and mimic the Padrão dos Descobrimento.
Then I really fell in love with Portugal…
After that joyous reunion, more churches! This time, the monastery of “Los Jerónimos”
That night, Rachel, Rhiann and I went to Barrio Alto, the cool downtown area of Lisbon, rich with bars, staring people, and cheap sangria. We met up with a ton of people from our seminar, met some girls from California, and the night ended with a Portuguese man professing his unrequited (she’s happily taken) love for Rhiann. SO entertaining until he got a little creepy…
Wednesday morning, we got up early and traveled to the city of Sintra, Portugal, a small, rich beach town for the wealthy socialites to escape to their royal estates. We visited the real Castle in the Clouds (sorry New Hampshire…) the Palace of La Pena and I’ve found my new summer home.
Later, we went to the beach AGAIN!! Did I mention how much I LOVE PORTUGAL?
We had a group dinner at Café In right near the water, and I had salmon, saffron rice, Mediterranean salad, and a delicious custard with mixed berry topping. YUM.
After toasting to the final night of the trip with 2 Euro bottles of wine (cheaper than water in some places), we set off to the clubs! We came across Urban Beach kind of by accident, but it ended up being a great final night of Imperium.
SPAIN HERE I COME!