Sorry it’s been such a long time since my last blog, it’s been crazy here! I left off right before my trip to Portugal! The bus ride to Lisbon is about five hours so we had to be on the bus at 5:30 am, and leave our house at five am. It was rough, but our Senora packed us breakfast and fruit for the bus ride which definitely made life a little easier. We arrived in Lisbon around 1, but it took us another stressful hour and a half driving through packed streets to find our hotel. After a quick nap we all climbed back on the bus with our own personal Portuguese tour guide. Her English was excellent and she rode our bus with us for three hours telling us all about Lisbon. One of the most interesting things I learned was that Lisbon suffered from an earthquake in 1755 and the entire city was essentially destroyed. The surviving Prime Minister, Marque de Pombal, oversaw the rebuilding of the city and insisted the city be built on a grid. It is thanks to him that Lisbon is currently so beautiful and easy to navigate.
We hopped off the bus to walk through the Cathedral, which was designed to look like a cave inside in honor of the Saint Jerome who was known to have spent much of his life in caves while he translated the bible into Latin. Next, our tour guide took us to try a world famous Portuguese pastry, which was delicious of course. We also were able to walk around a gorgeous statue dedicated to Vasco de Gama and a fortress. It was a long day and I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.
Inside the Cathedral
High Point University with the Vasco de Gama monument!
Enchanted forest in Sintra :)
Saturday we were on the bus headed to a mountain city called Sintra. We spent the afternoon hiking up the hillside and looking out on a breathtaking view of Portugal. The entire hike we were surrounded by green lush foliage and fortifications hidden among moss. Down the hill in the city we wandered around I tried a Sintra delicacy consisting of a cherry liquor inside a chocolate shot glass. Very economic. As afternoon arrived we all hopped back on the bus and drove about 20 minutes to the coast to a city called Cascais. Once again the views were breathtaking, although the landscape was almost opposite of the mountain city we just left. We spent the late afternoon walking along the harbor and taking in the views, boats and the crashing waves (and of course eating ice cream). Sunday we traveled home and all was well until Sunday night when I was hit with food poisoning :( Thank you everyone for your prayers and good thoughts, I feel great now and my Senora is making sure I put back on the weight I lost! SAIIE and my Senora took great care of me and I was very blessed to be in such good hands.