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.