It's been a while and I've admittedly been lazily riding off the fact that Geoff is doing a lot of the blog updates. Currently we're enjoying Munich with Karl's relative, Wolfgang. Since he has an unlimited Internet plan, that means I'll have the rare opportunity to do a post accompanied by pictures. So what follows will be a speedy recap with pictures and a few snippets of text thrown in.Porto
I already wrote a bit about Porto. One of the neat things about Portugal was the colourful tiles used on the buildings, as can be seen on the buildings below.
Porto is of course famous for Port, a fortified wine, which gets its name from the city where it originated. Although created in Portugal, port is a British invention created out of desperation to keep the wine flowing to their country despite the efforts of the French. The result is a very smooth and full tasting drink, which now lives on for its own merits.
Below is the street festival (mentioned in a previous post) that we randomly came across during our night time exploration.
Monsanto and surrounding towns
Our next destination was with Pedro's relatives
After a morning mass in beautiful little church, we spotted an old stone tower on top of a nearby hill. What followed was somewhat inevitable for those of you who know Geoff McGrath. The mission proved to be a very aromatic and picturesque one. Crunching through the arid but beautiful landscape, Geoff and I found our way to the tower, which offered and excellent vantage of the surrounding country.
Lisbon is Portugal's capital and we arrived at the height of the cities summer celebrations.
Earlier I compared the festivities to the intensity of San Fermin, that description may have little meaning for the average Winnipeger. Picture walking from Market Square to The Village. Now transform Portage and Memorial into cobblestone streets the width of a back alley. Fill those streets with young partiers until you can barely walk through them. Turn all the buildings into tall and narrow store fronts, each blaring music to the streets outside. Throw in the odd street vendor, selling food and alcohol of questionable origin. For good measure, make the city a little more 3D and you'll get an idea of what the experience was like. That's the first party area, now copy and paste that, except now make it an all ages crowd and superimpose it over an even older part of the city that feels like you're stepping straight into the middle ages (which architecturally speaking, you pretty much are). It was an amazing experience to say the least.
Lisbon has a reputation for thuggery. The amount of people that the festival brings out makes it quite safe, but the old part of town around the castle is essentially a labyrinth and the difference of a block can lead you to dead ends or side streets which are devoid of any company you would wish to share. Below is view of an area in which one would not want to visit at night (even during the day we walked through it at a decidedly quick pace).
The castle on top of the "old" part of town is pictured below. I use quotation marks, because by North American standards the main part of the city could be considered quite old as it is. The "old" section, distinguishes itself as being the part the city which remained intact after the earthquake of 1755.
The Algarve is the incredibly touristy section made up by the south of Portugal. The reason it attracted both tourists and ourselves, is fairly self explanatory. Gorgeous beaches at Portuguese prices.
I think I'll revert back to being as brief as I planned. Stuttgart is a really nice city where we saw our World Cup match.
The day of the match I had the great opportunity to visit with Olga again. It was wonderful to catch up and be thoroughly spoiled by her great cooking. Thanks. For those of you in Canada who remember Olga but haven't had a chance to see her new baby, her new baby is super sweet and quite cute (the photographic evidence is below).
Staying in Munich has been a complete blast. Our host, Wolfgang, has been so great that, I'm sure that we would have had an amazing time no matter where we met up with him. The fact that Munich is such a great city is simply a multiplier. It's almost three o'clock in the morning here and everyone else is in bed, so I'll try and add a more deserving and detailed post of the past few days tomorrow. For now, a small sample picture.