European Excursion 2017: Portugal

If you read my last blog post, you know that after being in Madrid for a few days, my family and I flew to Lisbon, Portugal. We did a lot of exploring in Portugal, so pardon me if I don’ remember every detail. Instead of formatting this post like the previous one, I’m going to make use of the photographs and allow them to guide the story.

Unfortunately, we didn’t do anything noteworthy on the first day so let’s talk about the second day:

Thursday, November 23, 2017

The first place our wonderful tour guide, Alex, took us to was the Torre de Belem or the Tower of Belem. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to go inside because my brothers didn’t have their IDs with them. I believe the tower had several purposes over centuries, but I can only recall that it was used as a prison.

These photos were taken at the Jeronimos Monastery, not too far from the Torre de Belem. The architecture is absolutely stunning. It was like being transported back to European History class and seeing pictures of Gothic style buildings on a PowerPoint.

Sadly, this is the end of the photos for day two. After visiting the monastery, Alex took us to a cafe for a famous Portuguese dessert before he dropped us off at a restaurant for lunch. I don’t remember the name of the restaurant, but I had the best gnocchi I’ve ever had there. It was delicious. Definitely my best meal of the trip. It was also my dad’s birthday, so here’s a brief shout out to him, lol.

While we ate lunch, it started raining, so we didn’t do much afterward. Alex was kind enough to continue the tour from inside the car.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Our last full day in Lisbon was an eventful one.

Our first stop was my absolute favorite! The Pena Palace in Sintra, Portugal was progressively built by the monarchs of Portugal. After King Carlos I was assassinated, the monarchy was never the same. A revolution was spurring. His youngest son, Manuel II became King, but only for two years. The monarchy was disbanded in 1910, and the castle was bought by the state. Decades later, it became a museum.

It was difficult to take photos because of the fog and because of the traffic of people inside the castle. See if you can spot my younger brother & I in one of the pictures, lol.

I think the best thing about the palace is that it’s insanely well-kept. Everything is preserved nicely. If I didn’t know the brief history, I wouldn’t think some of the items were centuries old. It’s almost haunting, to walk through a palace filled with a history of people who died long ago. Their beds are still in the rooms, their hair brushes, their wardrobes, it’s as if they still reside there.

After leaving the palace, we wandered the streets of Sintra. There were a lot of souvenir shops. My mom was keen on browsing, so we stayed for a long time. I love those pictures and enjoyed seeing more of Portugal, so it was worth it.

 

After a long drive and a subpar lunch, we drove to Cabo da Roca, the most western part of Europe. As you can see, it was breathtaking. The sun was setting, so the view was more breathtaking than usual. This was the last place I took pictures of, but we stopped at other places briefly. None are particularly interesting.

The next day we headed back to the old homestead, tired, but thankful for the opportunity to explore not one, but two different countries.

Thanks for reading,

-Sara B.

 

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