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Lisboa, Portugal

March 10, 2012

ISA Spring 2012 in Lisboa, Portugal | Photo Credit: Julia

This past weekend, ISA took us to Lisboa, (Lisbon for you English-speakers) Portugal. Here’s my recap.

Highlights from the trip:

  • When we got to our hotel, we realized that a Portuguese fútbol team was also staying there. They had their team bus parked in the front and there were paparazzi, fans, and police all around. I didn’t end up seeing them walk by, but most of the others in my group stayed to watch.
  • On the first day we went to Castilla de San Jorge which is a castle that looks over the entire city and river. It was BEAUTIFUL! We didn’t go inside but we explored the gardens and I spent most of my time looking at the view and feeling the cool air against my face. It was a perfect relaxing moment where I could have contemplated life, but instead spent it thinking about absolutely nothing — something I think is equally as valuable.
The breathtaking view from Castilla de San Jorge
  • People giving us our tour kept reminding us that Lisboa had areas that were “new” because the earthquake destroyed most of the city — in 1755! Yeah, they forgot they were talking to Americans where our country wasn’t even founded before this date. We could hardly take them serious when they said it was “new.”
  • BREAKFAST! The hotel had a buffet style breakfast. Except the hotel called it “pequeno” (small in Portuguese). Yeah… mine was definitely not small.
  • We celebrated my friend Sofia’s 21st birthday on Saturday by giving her a list of 21 tasks to complete that day. The list had everything from getting a local to sing to her Ai Se Eu Te Pego, to planking 21 historical sites. All in all, it was quite hilarious and a lot of fun.
  • We tried to go to the beach, but it was much further and took longer than expected to get there. Instead a few of the girls and I hung out by the river — another relaxing moment spent in Lisboa.
Molly, Sierra, Kelsey, Kortney, Me, and Marissa next to the Taugus River | Photo Credit: Molly
  • For dinner we ate at another delicious vegetarian restaurant called Terra (after about a 30 minute search for the place). It was buffet style too, so best believe that I scarfed on some red peppers, salad with golden raisins, spinach lasagna, potatoes, among other things. And we cannot forget my favorite part of the meal — flour-less chocolate cake covered in berries and cream cheese. Delicious.
  • We visited some cool sites that day including the Monasterio de los Jerónimos, and the Bélem Tower. We also saw a bridge named the “25th of April” that was very similar to the Golden Gate in San Francisco. Here are some pictures from the day:
Monasterio de los Jéronimos
Courtyard inside the Monasterio
Bélem Tower
I kept feeling like I was back in California when I looked at this bridge
  • That night we went out to celebrate Sofia’s birthday — all 23 of us. We rolled out in a huge group, but we all had a good time hanging out, dancing, and of course completing the rest of Sofia’s tasks (meeting locals, photobombing, etc). We also met some players from a professional Portuguese basketball team. Who knew we would attract so many professional Portuguese athletes in Lisboa?
Happy Birthday Sofia! | Photo Credit: Julia
  • On our way home to Salamanca we stopped in two pueblos (little towns) names Óbidos (where they were having a chocolate festival!) &  Batalha (where there’s a monastery). Here are some pictures from those stops:

Cute little pueblo with a chocolate festival!

Monasterio de Batalha

Overall, we had a great time in Lisboa. I was hoping for drastically warmer weather, and didn’t get that but I can’t complain. Portugal was beautiful and I could see myself going back again someday.

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