2.28.2011

on the port: porto, portugal (part 1 of 2)

we like to take pictures of each other taking pictures
big, bigg, bigger, biggest
lovely waves at the lighthouse where porto meets the atlantic ocean
just another castle...
and another...
i love rental cars... and posing with portugal's most attractive person ... ronaldo.
i love random art.
porto at night
porto at day
while we were in portugal, ben was portugal's most attractive man.
a little bite to eat

porto is in the northern part of portugal, the second biggest city in the country.

and i thought it was a bit prettier than lisboa (lisbon is a little run down to be honest... and the food, well...).

porto is a great hilly city with a beautiful, clean metro, devoted soccer fans and lovely buildings.
it seemed pretty tourist friendly and easy to navigate.

a bit more on food:
food portions are HUGE in portugal. i really don't get it. at all. because i am american. americans generally serve ENORMOUS portions right? and in europe one can usually expect normalish to small portions.
nope.
not portugal --- huge.
so we learned our lesson and started sharing things. and ordering off the "snack" menu because those portions seemed more manageable.
we found a place called gran caffe just up the street from our hotel that totally saved us. we ate there three times. the servers totally thought we were crazy but it was good food and because we shared stuff, it wasn't that spendy! i actually loved it. loved it.

2.25.2011

lisboa, portugal (part 2 of 2)

monestary
monestary
lovers in the park
why yes, the peeps who built this bridge (25 de abril) in lisbon also built the golden gate bridge (in san francisco)
forgot where we were for a second...
a monument at the mouth of the ocean for all the "explorers" who set out from portugal
belém tower
belém is sort of like the big touristy spot in lisboa. and it's sort of obvious because... it's beautiful in this area.
we took the metro (which i loved by the way because it is 4 euros for an unlimited 24 hour pass. that is a good deal) and then the trolley car to belém... which was romantic in itself because i love the little trolley cars.

we walked around and saw the sights and then ate dinner on the water. well in a restaurant on the water. and it's just sort of funny because
we are either speaking english or spanish to the portuguese and they are speaking a mixture of all three and then sometimes ben is throwing in italian words and we are all confused.

it is too fun.

every time i come to europe i feel like i am in a dream. and i just want to live in that dream. but if i lived here would that dream be reality or would reality take that away? hmm. i wonder.

p.s. i might have spoken too soon about the portuguese food. better experiences in porto, portugal to come.

2.24.2011

lisboa, portugal (part 1 of 2)

oooo metro!
i love the hanging laundry...
loved the tram cars
gorgeous no?
lisboa (lisbon) is a beautiful city. then again, i am sucker for any city with public transit and a fun language.

hmm. first off. haven't really been able to figure portuguese people out. not that i really have other cultures or people figured out but the portuguese seem very to themselves and mellow. which is cool with me.
the portuguese seem nice... and luckily since ben and i can only say "thank you" in portuguese (obrigado/a), ben's fluent spanish has proved very useful.
(expect for that lunch when we weren't exactly sure what we were getting...)

that's the other thing. even though lisbon is lovely, it doesn't seem like people are really into going out/night life/food.
we've got a problem, folks.

i think a big part of why ben and i love to travel together is to experience the food of a city or an area or a culture.
and well... not only have we had a hard time even finding a place to eat... it seems like a lot of menus are the same and the food is sub-par.

please don't misunderstand. the food isn't bad. but it isn't amazing. i haven't taken photos of any food here (which is saying something). pretty sure every menu has "legumes" soup on it and it's just like this creamy-squashish-cabbagey soup. not bad. but not amazing.
our last night in lisbon we actually had a great meal. so there's that.
seafood is big here and some of it has been good. some not.

that's that. you can't always get what you want and you can't always have high expectations or something.
those are the lessons i've learned.

remember: i love the portugal. but i just needed to record those feelings about the food...

2.22.2011

sintra, portugal (part 2 of 2) : pena palace

the pena palace

so. beautiful.
it was nice and misty up there
this yellow dome was my favorite

wow. the pena palace in sintra was really very beautiful. again, better than i was expecting it would be. such a pleasant surprise.
it's not technically a "castle" because it wasn't built to defend the area. but again, it's on top of a mountain and overlooks everything.

i just get so excited when i get to experience such amazing architecture and history.
and i couldn't help but love that the palace was mostly yellow, blue and red. how stylish was the royalty who had it built?