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Published: March 31st 2012
Elevador de Santa Justa
This lift connects the lower streets of the city center called Baixa with the higher Largo do Carmo (Carmo Square.) and is the only remaining elevator vertical elevator in Lisbon.
So, after this blog we should be all caught up for a while! Yay!
Immediately after I dropped Alex and Jenny off at their bus station, I walked down the Guadalquivir River walk to get to the train station to meet my API group as we were off for our API International Excursion to Lisbon, Portugal! Of course I stopped at Starbucks on my way.
Normally, spring semester Cádiz and Sevilla students are supposed to go to Morocco for our international excursion, but because of some unrest there and because airlines are cutting down on the amount of flights it became too difficult for them to fly us over there, so they changed us over to Lisbon. I really didn’t mind. Not that Morocco wouldn’t have been really neat, it’s just that my favorite Spanish professor at Clemson, Professor Anido, said that Lisbon is her favorite city in Europe and I wasn’t going to get there on my own. I was excited to see it! The only bummer was that instead of taking the money they were going to use for our plane tickets to Morocco and buying plane tickets to Lisbon,
Squeeze box player with chihuahua
At least this Chihuahua has a talent...unlike Coco.
API rented two buses instead. It’s not a terribly long bus ride, about 5 hours, but it is a bus and buses mean bus sick. Holly and I sat up front but it was still pretty bumpy. However, we got there only mildly nauseous, and a very startling discovery made me instantly feel better.
As we were rolling into Lisbon I saw a sign for a movie poster: The Hunger Games. Now, because I love those books, and I’ve been looking forward to the movie coming out for months and months and months I looked up when it was coming out in all of the countries in Europe, just in case its release coincided with a trip because it isn’t released in Spain until April 20th
, nearly a month
late. Portugal wasn’t supposed to get it until March 29th
, however this poster said March 22nd
. What do you know? That day was
. Could it be? The Hunger Games out in theaters here and whole day before it’s released in the States? As fate would have it the mall with the movie theater was right across the street from our hotel. Yes it had The Hunger
Games; yes, I went and saw it at midnight, and yes, it was awesome. Lisbon was already in my good graces and at this point could do no wrong.
The next day we actually only spent a few hours in the morning in Lisbon. We took a fairly long bus tour of the city and then went out to a few towns outside of it. Our tour guide was a spunky Portuguese woman who was so small I never knew what she even looked like until we made our first stop nearly 2 hours into the tour. You can tell she really likes her job because she just talked and talked and talked and talked. She seemed really knowledgeable about Lisbon and even taught us a few Portuguese words. So, some of you might be wondering if Portuguese is similar to Spanish; well, yes and no. They have some similar words but pronunciation in Portuguese is very different; I almost think it sounds sort of like Russian when I hear it. A lot of the time we could communicate in Spanish with the Portuguese and they could understand us but it didn’t really work the other way
Tyler enjoying Lisbon
The girl with her head turned is our director Teresa!
around, which made sense to me because of when Otto lived with us and used to watch the Spanish channel. However, a lot of people in Portugal actually speak pretty good English. Unlike their neighbors to the east, Portugal doesn’t dub all of their shows and movies; they just have subtitles so they are much more exposed to English than the Spaniards are.
The first stop after touring Lisbon was, Cascais. It is sort of like a mini Cádiz; it’s a beach town with lots of sail boats, sea walls, and old buildings. Very, very pretty. All we really had time for though was to go and get lunch. There’s really no such thing as a quick lunch in Europe, it all takes a while, and we had trouble deciding where to go because instead of just letting people wander around and look at menus and see where they want to go, the restaurants hire people to stand outside and pressure you until you come to their restaurant. I ended up giving one guy pretty rude look when he yelled at another group of girls “Hey baby!” He gave me a very dirty look back, but I didn’t look
away because I’ve just stopped tolerating that stuff. I don’t go around saying “Hola picha!” To all the Spanish guys I see. It’s not ok for them to stay stuff like that and I let them know.
The next stop was Sintra, which is a small little town even farther down after Cascais. They say it looks like a fairytale town, which I guess I can see because it’s got some pretty buildings and a fortified castle on top, but after Kassel and actually seeing Rapunzel’s
tower, it’s not really that fairytale like. But worth a look see, and the only place I have ever seen postcards made out of cork. They are also famous for their cheesecakes which can last 15 days outside of the refrigerator…yum! Totally grabbed one of those! No, I didn’t. One of the few times I was glad I could say, “Oh, sorry, I can’t I gave up sugar for Lent.” Besides there is no cheesecake like my Mom’s cheesecake.
Saturday morning was a pretty lazy day. It turned out to be raining outside in the morning so we woke up sort of late, but in time to throw
Do you see the American Flag in her drink?
on some jeans and get breakfast and then we would come back to the room to get ready to go out and see Lisbon. Getting ready to go out and see Lisbon consisted me and my roommates for the weekend, Holly and Emily, sitting in our beds watching about 5 episodes of “The Simpsons,” one episode of “Ace of Cakes” and an episode of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” We agreed it was pretty sad, but also pretty nice, and considering it was raining we didn’t feel as pathetic. It’s been a while since I’ve sat around and watched cartoons on a Saturday morning.
After that we lazily walked to the city center to find lunch and then wandered around downtown Lisbon and hung out by the river bank. From a map Lisbon sort of looks like it is right on the ocean, but it’s actually not, it’s on the Tagus River. Cascais was just around the corner and on the Atlantic Ocean, but not Lisbon. The river bank proved to be an interesting place to be. First there was the drunken man playing air drums and would literally come within about six inches of your face just
playing his air drums. Those of you who know me know I have a pretty large personal bubble and so pretending to just ignore him while he played his air drums six inches away from my face was uncomfortable. Ignoring him eventually worked because I think he got bored and so just walked away to play air drums six inches away from someone else’s face. Then
this younger guy who didn’t seem drunk, but from his blood shot eyes looked like he might have been a little stoned, came up and stood right next to me, and by right next to me I, again, mean about six inches away from face. He really startled me because I didn’t see him until all of the sudden he was just there. He stood there for a few minutes then walked over by Holly and put his foot up on the wall and just stared at her for about another minute before almost literally sitting on her.
“Oh! Um, sorry. We’ll move.”
“No, no, you’re fine.”
Ok, well, clearly you’re
not fine because there are a lot of places to sit on this wall and you chose to sit on
a person, so we had had just about enough of this guy.
“Um, guys, can we go please?”
We left and went to American safe haven: Starbucks. 😊
Walking around Lisbon there are quite a few impressive street performers, but the most memorable one we saw on our way to Starbucks. There was this street magician working pretty hard to get the crowd interested with jokes and quips and some cool acts, but he was doing it in English and we thought no one in the crowd understood what he was saying because nobody was laughing.
“I don’t think they understand what he is saying.”
“Maybe they do, they just don’t think it’s funny?”
“I mean at least chuckle at his jokes, I feel bad for him. I really think no one understands what he is saying.”
Street Performer: “So, please everyone; this is how I make my living, so if you would like to make donations they are very welcome. I mean come on, you are all on vacation just watching the show and I’m up here working so hard I’m sweating like a pedophile at a Justin Bieber concert.”
Silence. Except for Holly, Emily and I who couldn’t contain our laughing partly because we couldn’t believe he actually just said that and because it was a pretty funny joke. However after that the audience started staring at us, so we just made our way to Starbucks and called it a day.
I really enjoyed Lisbon and I can see why Professor Anido likes it so much, but I don’t know if it was my favorite place I have seen so far. It was a pretty relaxed and laid back sort of place with really comfortable weather and…colorful…people.
So now you can see why I’ve been a little behind on my blogs, it’s been a pretty busy few weeks, but now we are pretty caught up until Semana Santa (Holy Week) is over. Have a great Palm Sunday tomorrow everybody! 😊
Love and miss everyone!
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