Despite the difficult day getting here, we’ve been having a wonderful time in Portugal. We are staying with our friends Carlos and Colleen, whom we met in Panama, visited with in Spain and we are now visiting them in Portugal. We laugh that we have never once been together in our common home country – USA. Perhaps we never will! The other crazy connection that we learned last month is that Colleen’s sister works with my sister in Salem, Oregon. It was destiny that we meet and become friends!
We’ve been really enjoying Portugal. It’s currently the favorite country for our family. It’s pretty, the weather is not too cold, it’s not overrun by tourists nor expats, it’s interesting and it’s easy to get around to see and do things. The kids will tell you that one thing they love the most is Colleen’s two cats, Gordo and Nacho. I admit it’s nice to have a furry, affectionate animal around. Claws used for climbing up your pant leg notwithstanding.
But we did manage to tear the kids away from the cats long enough to go exploring. Here are just a few of the sights from the last few days. Haley received a new camera for Christmas so a lot of the photo credits go to her.
Sintra is a small town outside of Lisbon. It’s so cute with gorgeous buildings, winding, narrow, cobblestone streets and a lot of interesting things to see. We loved seeing all the different forms of transportation navigating the streets. Tuk Tuks or scooters seemed the most logical choice, but watching the bus work it’s way around town was almost comical in itself. Our most common phrase of the day exploring Sintra was “Are you sure this street is a 2-way?”. Fitting two cars at the same time on some of these roads seemed like an impossible feat. Dan was admiring all the rock walls so that didn’t help matters. The second most common phrase of the day was: “Yes, Dad, we see that gorgeous rock wall/building/fence/structure!”
Quinta de Regaleira
It’s hard to describe this place in Sintra. It’s like a palace, a castle and a botanical garden all in one. All we know is that it was great for exploring. It was so pretty and so well preserved. We have enjoyed seeing ruins in Mexico and castles in Spain, but many of them are only partially standing so you really have to imagine how it used to be. At Quinta de Regaleira it was almost fully maintained, partly due to it’s a relatively recent (in the big scheme of things) construction in the 1800’s. This is an UNESCO World Heritage Site as well. It was beautiful.
Getting 6 people out of the house at any reasonable hour is a feat but we managed to get up and going to Lisbon one morning. One of the things that makes this trip so wonderful is that we don’t have to do any of the FSO (“Figure Sh#t Out”) work. We don’t have to research what to do, where to stay, how to get there, where to eat, or even where to park. We just follow Colleen and Carlos and when they stop, we stop. When they tell us to look at something, we look. I think they are having to adjust for our exploratory nature, though. There was a lot of “Let’s see what’s around this corner” that perhaps they didn’t factor into the schedule. Worldschoolers are fascinated with what’s around the next corner. Well, maybe just Worldschooling Mothers. Worldschooling Teens and Worldschooling Pre-Teens and Worldschooling Dads seem to be content to go back to the warm car.
We started at the waterfront in Lisbon and made our way to the center. The day was dominated by exploring, food, and pictures of the buildings. Haley will be updating all of you on the foods of Portugal in some later blog post but I’ll tempt you now with just a few pictures to hold you over. Spoiler alert: we love the food here!
PS: We now have an Instagram account managed by Haley and her new camera. She posts at least one picture a day of our travels. Check it out and show us some Instalove @shermantravel