Saturday, August 29, 2009

Farewell Portugal and our European daughter

Today we packed up our bags, did some last minute shopping, double checked the flights and said good-bye to Erin. We walked Erin to the train this afternoon and made sure she was settled in for her 20 some hour train ride before heading back to do our own last minute stuff. Erin is heading to France for a week before her/our other friend comes to meet her. We were not even to the end of the train before Miranda said "I miss Erin" in her sad voice. Then as we headed out for supper she said "oh, where's Erin"and then quickly remembered she had left. We will miss her. As we have travelled together with Erin the last 4 weeks she has been asked by many people if we are her parents. She ends up explaining that no, we are just friends. Then it became easier to just not explain it any more so we decided that for this trip she would be our European daughter. We almost traded her for 2000 camels to a very nice boy in the Sahara. But he ended up not having quite as many camels as we wanted.

Last night Erin talked of needing a bit of a trim. All I had was a leg shaver. But in a pinch it worked really well. We had some great laughs while I took a bit off here and a lot off there. She looked great in the end.

This evening we went for our last European supper. We went to a Fado restaurant. Fado is the Portugees traditional music played during a meal. We sat outside and the music was inside which was probably best. Dean and Colton had a seafood meal called Cataplanta. It is salmon, cod, shrimp, clams, potatoes, red pepper and onions all cooked in a round copper roaster that gets clamed together and rotated over the fire to evenly cook the food inside. Dean also had the traditional vegi soup which was made with cabbage and was a bit creamy. Miranda and I shared a beef steak and potatoes all cooked in a really sumptious mushroom gravy.
* Erin, the restaurant was the one on the corner just down from the tart place.
Portugal is famous for its tarts. So we had to have tarts everyday. The only problem with finding a really great tart place is finding it for the second time. The first day as we walked along in the evening. Erin bought a tart from this little shop down a path up the hill and around the corner from this other place. Well.....thats easy to say unless you really want another tart from the same place. A few days later we were in the same area and tryed to find it. After all NOT agreeing on the direction we did acually find it and the tarts were as good as we had remembered. Then today we decided we had to have one last tart to remember Lisboa with. Of course we couldn't find it. Dean thought it was up there Colton thought is was around the corner, Miranda though she recognized something, Erin thought she could find it if we went back to the other street and I of course was not arguing at all that I knew where it was. LOL.
So Dean took off up the hill and the rest of us took off back down the hill and we yelled to meet back at the church. Guess who got the tarts.
Yup, the girls and Colton. Yes! It was very fun and the store owners were laughing as we ran up and down talking fast and in the end holding up the tarts in victory.
Well, that's all. Tonight we wake up at 3:30am and start the long day travelling back to Manitoba to begin the rest of our journey.

movies, malls and cemetaries

We had another fun day. We again bought the all day trolley pass so we could explore the city. We started by visiting a really old cemetary. The cemetary was all little buildings made of brick. Some of them were huge and very beautiful. Many of them had windows and we peeked in to see very old (400 years) coffins. It was very interesting.
We decided to go to a big mall that Dean and Miranda had found during their travels. It had a massive food court. Dean, Erin and I had Thai food and Colton and Miranda had pizza and burgers. We also found a movie theatre. Colton and Dean watched GI Joe and us girls went for the more fun 17 again. Halfway through the movie they stop for a 7 minute break. That was very different and it gave us time to take some pictures.

We also needed to do a little shopping. This was the fish section. We saw a variety of very unique looking fish.

Notice the large fish head at the top left.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Aug. 27- Day 58

We are having a very fun last few days. We decided to embrace the city and spend our time seeing the sights , eating the food and at the same time resting. We know that when we get home we will hit the ground running and we will be 6 hours behind.
We bought a 24 hour trolley, metro, bus pass today so we felt free to travel around the city jumping on and off the local transportation as much as we wanted to. We first went by metro (subway) to a large shopping mall at the top of a hill and walked along a park downhill. We had pizza for lunch beside a little green area. Colton woke up with an ear ache todday and after lunch was not feeling very good so Colton, Erin and I headed back to the hostel for a much needed nap.
We have been having some very short nights recently because of city noise, heat and mosquitoes in our room. Miranda and Dean headed by themselves in a different direction for the afternoon for a little daddy/daughter time.
The markets are filled with all sorts of fresh vegi's, fruits and sea food. We picked up some produce for our supper here.
We fell in love with fresh mint in Morocco and had to make some mint tea and used it in our thai peanut sauce at supper.

Miranda thought the snails did not look appetizing. But many people use them to make soup.

Dean can't resist buying fresh olives whereever we see them. He has tried them all over Europe.

Many of the little shops sell in bulk whatever you would like.

Here is a typical picture of us trying to figure our where we should go next. Dean and Erin both have a map and I stay out of it.

We stopped for lunch yesterday in a little shop and had a tart and some fruit. portugal is famous for their tarts. We have really enjoyed buying them in tiny shops as we walk around exploring the city.

Here are Dean and Miranda on their date. They where shopping and the rest of us where sleeping.

They found a high end tack shop and checked out the saddles and briddles

When they got back from their shopping day, Erin, Colton and I were rested and ready to explore some more. We walked a bit and jumped on a trolley headed for somewhere and ended up next to a Hagen Daaz shop and HAD to have a pre-supper snack. After we were all trolleyed out we headed back for a supper of Chicken fryed rice at our hostel. Mmm
All in all we had an awsome day

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Aug. 26- Day 57

We are doing our best to keep ourselves busy these last few days of our trip. We have been to 11 countries and visited many many churches, museums, castles and markets and shops. Yesterday, we spent the day on a self guided walking tour around Lisboa. We stopped at a flee market, church, museum and castle. The best part of the day was the walking. It felt good to hike up and down the narrow streets. Peeking into the shops and lives of the people of Portugal. You can learn a lot by taking the time to walk down back streets and this city like many others that we have visited is full of tiny streets, sidewalks and winding staircases that lead to no where. The streets either go up or down. Most are not straight or level. We found many of the streets have the same names and so when we were looking for a street by one name we found 3 or 4 by the same name. It made for a very interesting tour as we had to ask directions many times and get the answer in Portugees many times. But we did manage to find all the spots that we had planned on seeing.

I love the old massive doors everywhere. This one leads into yet another church. I love how even though the churches are all similar in the basics. They all have there own style. It has made me very interested in the Catholic religion as to why they have there churches set up as they do and what it all signifies. As we sat in the pews waiting for Erin to take a short tour. We watched as people walked around the church, kneeling and bowing at certain times. We had no idea why or what it was all about. But never the less it was interesting to observe.

As we were on the walking tour we got a bit lost and needed to ask for directions. We noticed this sign on a little shop and stopped to ask which way, up or down the hill we should go. After he told us we chatted a bit and decided we needed a break and he gave us some Portugees wine, port and local cheese to sample. It was very good. (see Erin's blog for pictures of the wine and cheese she took).

Another huge door. We think we should definatly have doors like this at home.

We LOVE skype. We have been able to keep up with friends and family (almost in person) as long as we have internet connection. Colton and Miranda talked and played skype games with their friends.

We stopped at a small cafe that was in a museum for lunch. The museum was closed but we got to pass by this great carriage and had to stop for a picture.

We also found this side saddle and couldn't resist to boost Miranda up for a picture before we got caught. Hee hee

We took a little ride around the area on this original trolly. They are located all over the area we are staying in. The old roads are far to narrow for regular busses and trains.

We found the most interesting shop on our walk. It was a shop that sold only canned fish. We couldn't resist buying all sorts of differnt pkg's. It was so much fun to watch them very carefully package each tin in a piece of brown paper and a bit of twine. They seemed to really take the time to cater to their clientle. It was no wonder they were the busiest little shop around. Filled with tourists and locals alike.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Albuferia, Portugal

We spent a glorious day at the beach our last day in Albuferia. We walked along the beach from one town to the next, hiking up cliffs, stopping for a dip when we got hot, playing in the sand, soaking up the sun and just relaxing. We had a great lunch and then headed back to our apartment in the late afternoon.

Colton was very excited to have a milkshake. Even though it ended up being only strawberry milk.

Ahh, the beach

This is a before and after picture of the tide from the beginning of our day to the end

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Albaferia, Portugal

The beach near old town

I went for a much needed pedicure today. The place across the street had pedicures for only $15 and so I just couldn't resist the 1 hour of me time.


We went for a walk around town and found a market with these huge bunches of grapes. They were so very good.

The view from our apartment

We are still in Albiferia, and still having a very relaxing time. We spent the morning at the pool at our apartment. It is very hot here. We get up to a cool 27 derees every morning and go to sleep every night to a sweltering 30 degrees. Because we haven't had A/C for the last week we are slowly finding it easier to fall asleep even though we are really hot.

Yesterday we heard sirens all day and on our walk to supper saw on Portagees news that there had been a mud slide on the beach and 5 people had been killed and so the town is in shock. We thankfully were in our pool all morning and so we are safe.