Joined May 2017 Message
  • Day15

    Leaving Lisboa

    November 20, 2021 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 11 °C

    We had a few hours after breakfast before we had to get to the airport, so we went to the Gulbenkian. Not my favorite museum in Lisbon, but Joe really likes it, so I was a good sport. This is the private collection of an Armenian businessman. He made his money in the oil business and Wikipedia calls him “Mr. 5%.” He endowed a foundation and the museum, which has a highly acclaimed collection of Islamic, Chinese, and European art. The gardens are beautiful, and open to the public. Nice café too.

    I thought some of the 13-14 C Islamic pottery was beautiful, but I don’t know much about it.

    With an hour or so at the airport after checking in my 15 liters of Portuguese olive oil, joe was able to get one last pastel de Nara, though certainly not as good as yesterday’s.

    And as we taxied for takeoff, I saw the first raindrops of our two weeks in Lisbon.

    So we are not flying home today. I wanted to avoid transit through London because of many stories about how Covid and Brexit combine to create lots of headaches. Since there is no way to leave Lisbon early enough to make the US flights from Madrid, we came over the night before.

    I had never stayed in a Madrid airport hotel and I won’t do it ever again. Much better and just as quick to take the Cercanias into town and have a nice dinner and sleep in a place that’s not marooned in highwaylandia. I thought it would be easier for Joe but in hindsight it’s really not and it’s certainly not as nice. Live and learn.

    Tomorrow home!
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    Vira Walks

    Yeah. A friend and I stayed in an Ibis somewhere near the airport. Once was enough. Wishes for a safe and easy journey today. (And may all that olive oil arrive in one piece! 😬)

    11/21/21Reply
    Tina Colombo

    Welcome home!

    11/21/21Reply
    Carm Walsh

    Looks like a miniature pumpkin pie.

    11/22/21Reply
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  • Day14

    Christmas Lights

    November 19, 2021 in Portugal ⋅ ☁️ 15 °C

    How wonderful to see the lights! With two bits of local flavor— streetcars and chestnut sellers.

    60 degrees, a full moon, and lots of smiling people. Then dinner in a tried and true popular hole in the wall off the Avenida Liberdade— Floresta do Salitre.Read more

    Carm Walsh

    Joe looks great. Glad you are enjoying yourselves, Laurie.

    11/19/21Reply
    Vira Walks

    It is perfect! So happy that you got to see the lights.

    11/20/21Reply
     
  • Day14

    Full-time Tourists

    November 19, 2021 in Portugal ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    First thing on today’s agenda was to get the covid test for re-entry to the US. I’ve had more than my share of covid tests, but usually using saliva. We had those awful nose swabs when we were leaving Spain in June so I was ready for it this morning!

    By 10:30 we were in Belem, at the edge of Lisbon, where we visited the Jeronimos monastery, the Archaeological museum, the Monument of the Discoverers and the Naval Museum. WHEW, that sounds like a lot, but we took a break for lunch, and a break for some of those delicious Pasteis de Belem, crispy thin dough surrounding unbelievable custard filling. The monastery facade has undergone extensive cleaning and it just looks beautiful. Even if you are not a fan of Barroque/Manueline architecture, this place does dazzle.

    I made sure that we got back to the hotel in time for Joe to rest before we head out for downtown again. We just learned that the Christmas lights will be turned on tonight! So we made it by the skin of our teeth. Last year there were none, because of covid, and the city has promised that this year’s will be special. So we will probably walk a few kms and then hope to find a nice place to eat for our last night in Lisbon!
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    Carm Walsh

    Absolutely amazing sculpture!

    11/19/21Reply
    Vira Walks

    What a day! (This sent me on a merry chase, looking for information about those Aras.)

    11/20/21Reply
     
  • Day13

    Last day teaching and Camino meetup

    November 18, 2021 in Portugal ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

    We didn’t have much time for a long walk this morning, so we went down to my favorite sock store, Pedemeia. (Portugal makes wonderful high quality socks – who knew?). It’s located next to what they call the Loja do Cidadão, the Citizen’s Store.

    It’s a great concept — all public utilities, government services, etc. have a counter in this large place. Phone companies, electric utility, gas, drivers license, passport, labor questions, it’s all under one roof. When you enter, there’s an automated kiosk, so you can get your number for the place you want to go. The one I like best, but would dearly hate to go to, is the one for “I lost my wallet.”

    As always, class went quickly, and now it’s over! I just can’t bring myself to consider that this might be the last year so I will just keep my hopes up.

    The day ended with a real treat, a get together of five members of the online camino forum. We met, appropriately, at a bar with the name Peregrina. So great to meet some people whom I had only known virtually before today. It was so much fun, even for the three spouses who are not quite as enamored with the Camino. 🤩
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    Vira Walks

    We peregrinas want to see the socks! 😊

    11/19/21Reply
    Caryn

    Yes!!

    11/22/21Reply
     
  • Day12

    Morning in the museum

    November 17, 2021 in Portugal ⋅ 🌙 13 °C

    Teaching from 2-5 makes it hard to do much on teaching days. But this morning we headed to Lisbon’s municipal museum for a short visit. It’s in what used to be a beautiful palace, owned by a marquis in the 18th century. So the rooms are covered in gorgeous blue and white tiles.

    There are bits and pieces going back to the first human settlement 20,000 years ago. I was most impressed by a Neolithic scythe. Some beautiful moorish and Roman pieces and a great model of Lisbon before the 1755 earthquake.

    We walked back, going through the decidedly unattractive campus of the Universidade de Lisboa. I have to say the Católica is prettier.

    One more day of teaching!!!!
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  • Day10

    Back in Lisbon

    November 15, 2021 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

    Back into the routine, and today I was happy to meet up with one of my closest law prof friends in Lisbon. He was in charge of the international program way back in 2004 when I first came to teach, seems like just a few years ago! Our time was cut short by the fact that we had to head to a Millenium bank to take care of some issues — turns out the local branch couldn’t deal with this simple transaction, and we had to go up to the Colombo shopping mall to a bigger branch. That gave me a chance to remember that this shopping mall set the gold standard for an homage to consumerism.

    After today’s class we had to head downtown to find an “oculista” that would repair Joe’s glasses. That gave us an excuse to walk around some of the main central parts on the way to our favorite pizzaria. Sitting on the outdoor terrace next to the river, much of our view was blocked by a huge cruise ship. But the pizza is just as yummy as we remembered.

    I am so sad to be going home just days before they light up the holiday lights. There were none at all last year, and the city has promised that they will be better than ever.
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  • Day9

    Romans and the moorslayer

    November 14, 2021 in Portugal ⋅ 🌙 14 °C

    Weekend trips go fast! Today we decided to head to Miróbriga, site of a Roman town. It isn’t as spectacular as Conímbriga further up north, but we enjoyed walking all around, climbing up and down around the baths, the forum, the rows of shops. No mosaics, but there were a couple of rooms with some paintings.

    Then a stop in Santiago do Cacém, where there is a hilltop castle (much more impressive from the outside, because nothing much other than the local cemetery is located inside) and a church dedicated to Santiago. Not the peaceful loving Santiago the pilgrim, but the Santiago the moorslayer.

    After a lunch in a small local restaurant in the middle of the old town, we headed “home” to the Marriott. Workout done, we will go get some grilled fish in just a few minutes. Not that we have been deprived of grilled fish, by any means! Back to work tomorrow.
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  • Day8

    Aljezur

    November 13, 2021 in Portugal ⋅ 🌙 12 °C

    A lovely little town on what used to be a river that went straight into the ocean at Praia Amoeira. But the 1755 earthquake pushed the river underground and the town was essentially cut off from the sea.

    There are ruins of a Moorish castle, ruins of moorish settlements all over the place, a lovely municipal museum some beautiful pieces found in the castle from the 10C, and signs that the town is stubbornly refusing to bite the dust.
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  • Day8

    Arrifana and its Ribat

    November 13, 2021 in Portugal ⋅ 🌙 12 °C

    I knew we wanted to head south today, and when I put “Arrifana” in my Google offline maps (which work GREAT btw), up popped “Ribat de Arrifana.” With a castle icon next to it. So off we headed. But first we got detoured by signs to Monte Clérigo with binoculars next to it (symbol for picturesque). A few miles walking on headlands, café on the cliffs, and finally we arrived at the Ribat.

    As we later learned at the municipal archaeological museum in Aljezur, the Ribat was an Islamic religious site, where the ruins of nine mosques have been discovered. It was also a fortress and place where warriors off to the holy wars were blessed. And a burial site. With spectacular views!

    Aljezur has a moorish castle. We walked up to it. The Portuguese flag flies there because it was one of 7 castles in Portugal conquered from the Moors. The local museum is very interesting and has artifacts from the Iron Age forward.

    On the way home, we couldn’t resist a turnoff for the Praia (beach) and found ourselves on the other side of the glorious Amoeiras beach, which has a wide river snaking around the hills to empty in the ocean. Tomorrow back to Lisbon.
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    Kathy Vance

    What a fabulous adventure. I’ve not seen a smile on Joe’s face before…love it!!

    11/13/21Reply
    Carm Walsh

    I do love the ocean from any shore!

    11/19/21Reply
     
  • Day7

    Weekend begins!

    November 12, 2021 in Portugal ⋅ 🌙 13 °C

    About three years ago, when we checked out of a hotel in the Algarve, the receptionist suggested we drive back to Lisbon along the western (Alentenjo) coast. We stopped in several random beach towns, each one prettier than the next and decided to come back for a weekend. So here we are.

    We left Lisbon right after my class on Thursday and were in the hotel here by 9. The hotel is not on the beach but in a great location, about smack dab in the middle of the area we wanted to explore.

    Today we walked about 10 miles and got into a routine of driving to some pretty place, getting out and walking for an hour or so, and then driving on. Sometimes up on the headlands, sometimes down on the beach itself. We had a very late and very delicious lunch in a fish restaurant in Zambujeira de Mar — one of those typical Portuguese places where you point to the fish you want (knowing it arrived no more than a few hours ago from the ocean) and then they grill it. Heaven! The bigger fishes are much easier for us ignorant Americans to debone, so Joe and I frequently get one to share.

    After lunch, a long beach walk, and then a drive to the Sardao lighthouse, where we walked along the cliffs for a couple of miles and then saw a beautiful sunset.

    Though our balcony doesn’t have much of a view, we are going to sit out there and have a few snacks instead of a real dinner. Given our lunchtime feast. Tomorrow we will repeat the routine, except we will head south instead of north!
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    Kathy Vance

    Oh my!!! Spectacular!!!

    11/13/21Reply
     

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