Okay, so on Thursday night, Karin, Stephanie, and I boarded a bus at 11 p.m. to travel to Lisbon, Portugal. the trip started out pretty interesting. We met a lot of U.S. Americans that were also traveling to Lisbon for the weekend. Also, a woman stole my seat on the bus. I really don't know why, but it turned out for the best for me because I had an empty seat next to me, which made for better sleeping on the bus. The ride was eight hours long. I tried to sleep for the majority, but it was slightly hard for a little bit with talking U.S. Americans and a crying baby., but honestly, I got more sleep than I thought I would so that's good.
|Ponte 24 de Abril--looks like Golden Gate bridge,|
but it's actually based off of the
San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge
We left to meet up with a free Sandeman walking tour and that's what we did for the morning/afternoon. We started with a huge history lesson of Portugal and Lisbon. I am not going to bore you with all of the history, because honestly, I don't even remember half of it, but I will tell you that Lisbon is the oldest city in Europe...did you know that? I had no idea. It was founded in 1000 B.C. by Phoenicians. And then there was a long history of the Visigoths coming and then the Moors, then Napoleon at some point, etc. Lisbon has a long history because it is such an old city and I couldn't even keep up with everything. I personally didn't like the tour as much as other ones so in between the information I give you, I'm going to sprinkle some random pictures for your entertainment. :)
The next stop on the tour was to talk about a guy named Joan Pujol Garcia, also known as Garbo. Garbo became a double agent during WWII and spent a lot of his time in Lisbon. He is known as the only person to receive medals from opposing sides. He received an Iron Cross from the Germans and a Most Excellent Order of the British Empire medal from the British. He originally wanted to become a spy for the Allies, but he was denied a spot there so he became a "spy" for the Axis and spent a lot of time in Lisbon creating false reports to give to the Germans. The British saw his work and then finally hired him as an Ally spy. He played a key role in Operation Fortitude, which was the "operation that misled the Germans about the timing and location of the invasion of Normandy" (Wikipedia) Apparently Lisbon was a big spy city during WWII, known as "The Capital of Espionage." Also, Portugal was helping both sides so they pretty much stayed neutral during the war. They were shipping tungsten to the Axis powers and allowing the Allies to sail on their waters. Speaking of the waters, while I'm thinking of it, Portugal is (or is soon-to-be) one of biggest countries in the world because it will be gaining a huge part of the Atlantic Ocean and that land counts in the area for countries. Also, the borders of Portugal (I think on land) supposedly haven't changed since the 14th century.
|Lisbon and the Castle of São Jorge|
|Church of Sao Roque|
A Jesuit church that has a lot of gold inside
|Carmo Convent--roof collapsed during the earthquake, but|
the entrance and archways inside are still standing
On the tour, we also learned about the Carnation Revolution, which took place on April 25, 1974. This was a military coup which overthrew Estado Novo, which was a corporatist authoritarian regime in Portugal (look it up, I'm not going there). Anyway, the coup was successful and it happened with absolutely no shots fired. After all that, we got a typical Portuguese drink called Ginginha. It's a cherry liqueur and the best part is that it comes in a chocolate glass, yum!
There was still quite a bit of tour left, but I'm gonna go ahead and kinda finish the tour up here and just post pictures with some captions. Enjoy.
|Praca Dom Pedro IV|
Statue of Pedro IV or Maximilian from Mexico
|Praca do Comércio|
|Torre de Belém|
After the pastry, we made our way back to the Parque das Nações to meet Paulo, our host. We picked up his friend, Bruno, and went back to his place briefly and then went to dinner at Taberna Maria do Correio. If you're going to Lisbon, go to that restaurant. It was delicious! Luckily, we were with Paulo and Bruno, so they ordered everything and told us what everything was. We got a whole spread of food as appetizers that came with the meal. On the list of appetizers was wild mushrooms salad (salada de cogumelos selvagens), cheese with honey and almonds (queijo com mel e amêndoas), chorizo (chouriço), and blood sausage with fig (morcela com doce de figo). Then, the main course came beef--it was pretty much steak (postinhas mirandesas) and sausage with cabbage (Alheira) and both plates came with delicious roasted potatoes. All the food was so good and I highly recommend the place. We also heard an interesting story about the sausage. It was chicken sausage instead of pork sausage and the origin is from when Jews were banned from the country. Jews had to move, convert, or hide and the ones that hid started making chicken sausage to make the rulers think they were eating pork when really they were not. Then, for dessert I had sweet rice
(arroz doce) and that too was good.
|Chicken sausage with cabbage|
After dinner, we went to a rooftop bar called PARK, which I would also recommend, but us girls were wiped out after the full day of walking and we asked to go home and we passed out once home. We had a great day and we were thankful for the good company of our host and his friends. :)