Friday, September 30, 2011

Goodbye, Portugal!

Wow- it's hard to believe it has been a month and the time has come to say goodbye to Portugal. We have so many great memories and this was such a wonderful trip. I know our children learned a lot and they experienced new and exciting things each day. So, I would like to leave you with these pictures and thoughts:
Goodbye to our little feathered friends and to all the furry, fluffy creatures we met while here.

Goodbye to all the amazing sites we were able to visit. We learned so much about the history of Portugal.

Goodbye fresh baked bread and foamy, hot coffee. We will miss you dearly...
Goodbye funny little mailboxes. 
Goodbye, extremely narrow alley in which my husband had to drive our rental car through each day!
Goodbye giant marshmallows- you looked good enough to eat!
Those are really just bags the farmers place over the rolled up hay.
Goodbye breath-taking scenery. We never tire of looking at you!
Goodbye, Beco do Torcato (the name of my parents' street). We walked many miles down your path and will always remember all the fun we had, exploring the town.
Thanks to my parents for a fantastic trip we will never forget. We are all so blessed to have you in our lives.

Goodbye Portugal. We will always keep you close in our hearts...

Underground Caves

On our last day in Portugal, we took the kids to the underground caves of Mira de Aire. There are really no words to describe how completely amazing these caves are! They were discovered in the 1940's and are a common field trip for school children throughout Portugal.

The Mountain Town of Arouca

A few days ago, we went to the mountain village of Arouca for a festival they were having there. The first thing we did was get something to eat!
Doesn't the soup look delicious? Well it was! Kale soup is one of our favorite Portuguese foods and our children can't seem to get enough of it. When I make it at home, they each usually have 2 or 3 bowls full!
After lunch, the kids enjoyed jumping over this little crack in the ground.
They also made friends with one of the local furry residents. He is a Pyrenean Mountain Dog. Isn't he just beautiful? He was really friendly too and enjoyed all the attention from the kids.
We watched the parade go by and enjoyed listening to the different bands.
We also went inside the local cathedral to view all the beautiful decor and of course, there was a tomb of someone there too ( I can't remember who!).
Then, we hiked about a mile up the road ( a steep one at that!) to see the crosses above. This display of crosses was built in the 1700's.
Our last stop at the festival before we journeyed back home was to the rides. The kids (and grandma!) really enjoyed them and had a great time.

Another beautiful day spent in a picturesque little village on the other side of the world. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Grape Picking

September is grape harvesting time in Portugal. One day, while driving back from one of our fantastic field trips, we saw some people picking the grapes and so we pulled over for a closer look.

This particular farm was family owned and they were more than happy to share the process with us. They allowed us to pick some grapes and have a taste right then and there!

Another fun and memorable activity for us!

Lisbon: Capital of Portugal Part 2

After our lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe in Lisbon, we headed to the Monastery of Jeronimos, which is one of the most magnificent things you will ever see. The monastery was built over 1000 years ago, and it takes up an entire city block!
Just to show you how large it is, my husband and I are standing across the street from it. Do you see how tiny the people look compared to it?
The central courtyard was very peaceful and I really enjoyed having a closer look at the details on the pilars.
There were 12 of these little doors and we found out that they represented the 12 apostles. These were where the priests would listen to the confessions of the people.
I couldn't believe how detailed even the ceilings were.
Here is a view of the inside of the monastery. Again, you can see by the size of the people just how gigantic this place is!
There is a life-size replica of Jesus on the cross. I am not acustomed to seeing it that large and it was that much more special to me.
The display above is made of solid gold!
And of course, the trip would not be complete without some dead people! Portugal seems to have a fascination with keeping their famous desceased people above the ground, either in a box for all to see, or in the very least, in a tomb. The ones above are of the famous explorer Vasco da Gama and the famous poet Luis de Camoes.