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February 16th 2007
Published: March 4th 2007
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A couple of weeks ago my mom and her friend Cathy came to visit. My mom got in on a Friday, and we rented a car and picked her up from the airport in Lisbon. On Saturday we drove up to the north of Portugal, which Jason and I had really been wanting to see. Our first stop was Braga, which is sometimes called the Rome of Portugal because it has so many churches. I'm not sure if I would go that far, but there were a lot of churches there. We had a hard time figuring out where we were on the map because everywhere we turned there were more church bell towers. After spending some time in downtown Braga and checking out the main cathedral, we headed out to Bom Jesus do Monte, a church built on a hill overlooking the city with a really cool baroque staircase. The church was really peaceful and was surrounded by very pretty grounds. We also stopped into the town of Guimarães and barely made it into the Ducal Palace before it closed.

On Sunday we went to Conímbriga, a Roman ruins near Coimbra. It was a little bit rainy but we had a good time anyway. Jason and I had been to the ruins before but not the museum, which was worth seeing, particularly because entrance is free on Sunday mornings.

During the week Jason and I had classes, but Cathy got in on Tuesday morning and she and my mom did some exploring in Coimbra on their own. They also took a day trip to Porto, which we had told them was our favorite city in Portugal. Unfortunately, they had heavy rain the whole time they were there and no umbrellas or raincoats, so I think maybe their impressions were a little less positive. We were spoiled the whole week with treats from the states and good meals in restaurants in Coimbra.

On Friday night Jason and I had a flight booked to Switzerland, so all four of us headed to Lisbon on Friday morning. We spent a few hours there, had some lunch, and then somehow managed to stumble upon several major sights without having any idea where we were going, including a cool elevator with views over the whole city and a famous café, A Brasileira (The Brazilian). That night we headed off to Geneva, and my mom and Cathy stayed in Lisbon for the weekend before heading back to the states.

- Lindsay

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