Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Portugal, the fifteen minute version

So we´ve been in Portugal for barely a week and a recap of events is already near impossible. Each day is packed with new discoveries and events I could devote an entire post for. I´ll try and do a quick overview.

We visited Porto, home of the Port wine distilleries, for the first two nights. The city is quite old and beautiful and the 3D landscape on which it is located pulls out the buildings like an elaborate pop-up book to great effect. Beyond the our overwhelmingly beautiful surroundings, it is the little touches that make Europe come to life; the impromptu opera singing stand-off during a late night snack in a local restaurant, the midnight festival in an open courtyard as we walk past, the people, the food.

Having Pedro along as a guide has been great. Not only is his joy for being in his "homeland" contagious, but his memories of foods tried as a child has found us many tasty treats we probably would have never contemplateded trying before and his ability to speak the language has us joking with locals on a regular basis.

From Porto it was off to the region surrounding Lisbon for a get together with Pedro´s family. Before coming to Portugal I had joked that I would pretend to be Pedro, since his family hasn´t seen Pedro since he was quite young. The premise was clearly impossible, to put it simply I don´t look Portuguese. So I was completely dumbfounded, when upon meeting Pedro´s grandfather and family, I was mistaken for Pedro. I was so shocked I did nothing. At first I was sure Pedro had let them in on the joke and they were doing it to try and fool me, but oddly enough that wasn´t the case. I have no explination.

Staying with Pedro´s family was wonderful, friendly people and so more good food than you would think possible. The country side here is very picturesque. Geoff and I had the opportunity to take a hike from the small village where we were staying up to a hill overlooking the countryside. Fresh Rosemary was growing in the fields and we crushed it as we walked, leaving wonderful aroma. As an additional bonus, the smell became infused into my sandals, leaving them pleasant smelling... no small feat on a backpacking trip.

After visiting Pedro´s relatives, it was off to Lisboa, where we´ve only been for one day, but still taken quite a lot in. It just so happens to be that the festival of the saints occurs right when we are here, so the town is in full scale party mode. Last night we saw a parade and attended a mass scale street party, that I can only compare to San Fermin in Pampalona for its intestity.

Anyways, that´s all for now. Hope everything is going well for everybody wherever life finds them.


Margaret said...

So nice to hear from you....or...read from you!
It all sounds wonderful...I am almost jeaulous. The sandals smelling like rosemary? Maybe Ted should be travelling with you!
Well...Im off to Europe in few weeks. By this time you might be back.
Looking forward to more stories from you guys. I am the biggest fan of your blogs.


Geoff said...

Howdy Margaret, great to hear from you! We are having a great time over here, and are soaking up the world cup feeling, and atmosphere(you should have seen the brasilian party last night after the game! They know how to party.) Your pictures from the party came out great, Jon regreted terribly not going, and will never commit such sacriledge again. As too being the biggest fan of our blog, there is a line up already, so your going to have to work for the title(I´m thinking more cake and goodies from the Polish shops when we return). Jon and I tried to find some salsa last night, but unfortunatly were unable to, due to the high level of brasilian partiers in the streets. However we would still like to become international stars before the month is done, and so the search will continue. Ops, gotta go, time is up. Ciao for now!


Margaret said...

Bom dia Geoff,
Yes, I should see the Brazillian parties on the streets...please make pictures of the girls outfits. I will implement such a dress code at the Studio for parties. Im sure you guys will impress many girls with your Salsa and some other skills..!!!Just don't leave too many bleeding hearts behind you!
As for the Polish goodies and cakes..?
No problema! I thought it might cost me more..;)
Say hello to Jon for me and tell him that he DID not miss too much...missing the Garden Party.


Moms (aka Cathy) said...

Wow - I think I figured out how to use this thing, Not bad for an old fogie. Glad to here you are having so much fun!!!! It all sounds so wonderful - no matter how much I travel there is always another place that calls me when I hear about it. Have and awesome time and keep me filled in