A Travellerspoint blog

Hiking Sintra

The day trip to Sintra commences in a very colorful train
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on the ride....
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40 minutes later: Sintra

Here is the arabesque Monserrate Estate
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I decided to climb to the top of the "old Moorish fort"
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Most of my vacations involve me hiking very very far up a lot of hills
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The Fort was hidden away at the top of the mountain in the woods. Right out of "Dealing with Dragons" or any of those fun fantasy books
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The castle was constructed during the 8th to 9th century, during the period of Arab occupation of the Iberian peninsula.
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After the conquest of Lisbon (1147) by forces loyal to Afonso Henriques, the castle surrendered voluntarily to Christian forces.
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There is also a church lower on the hill in a similar style. They are currently doing archaeological excavations there.
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The Pena National Palace: summer residence of the monarchs of Portugal during the 18th-19th century
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My lunch was amazing. Cod fish is really popular in Portugal. This is a dish of scrambled egg, fish, and vegetables with cheese.
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Pastéis de Nata, famous in Portugal.
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Read more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castle_of_the_Moors_(Sintra)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sintra

Posted by gabell 05:30 Archived in Portugal Comments (1)

Love in Lisbon

A Valentine's Vacation to Portugal

sunny 17 °C

Well, I have some bad news. The piggies didn't have a lot of time to pack. And, on the morning of Wednesday, February 13th, on their rush to the airport, they seemed to have....forgotten to bring....well, themselves....

I toyed with some sort of deep, existential explanation to how this all worked out. Basically, I'm a bad farmer and forget to bring the pigs to Lisbon. So, we'll have to go a bit hog-wild and just look at normal pictures for the Portugese blog posts.

Lisbon.

The first day I mostly walked around alone.
I know [i

I know [i

somebody[/i] loves scaffolding...]

This is the copy of the French arch de triumph, there is also a copy Holy Savior, and Golden Gate Bridge.

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I stayed up really late the night before (and got up at 7am Wednesday morning, only to almost miss my flight due to snow. Not sure why they held it for me but I appreciated it) so I was pretty tired and went to bed around 8pm (Lisbon time).

The next day I felt much better (I think I'm trying to get sick again, too) and went on the free walking tour. This tour combines people from multiple hostels. So, I was with two Germans and three Asians from my hostel and we were joined by a Croatian and an American from two other hostels. The walking tour was nice, I got to talk with everyone on the tour. The tour guide told us lots of cool things about the city as well. Such as...
The doll hostel open for over 100 years, still fixing barbies and other toys!

The doll hostel open for over 100 years, still fixing barbies and other toys!


we saw some fantastic views

we saw some fantastic views


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apparently this building is actually really old. There is a lot of Moorish influence here and its said there is a diamond hidden in every cone

apparently this building is actually really old. There is a lot of Moorish influence here and its said there is a diamond hidden in every cone


I got lunch with the American girl after the tour. A bit strange, meats, cheese, salad, and a fried egg on "chips"

I got lunch with the American girl after the tour. A bit strange, meats, cheese, salad, and a fried egg on "chips"


Traditional Brazilian Dinner

Traditional Brazilian Dinner


The hostel does a dinner every night. Thursday was a traditional Brazilian dinner-meat stew with rice, spinach, and some interesting lemons in a sweet breading.

More to come.... :D Happy Valentine's Day

Posted by gabell 11:51 Archived in Portugal Comments (1)

All Out of Order

A day trip to Karlovy Vary

After a 2 hours bus ride (concluding with the bus driving off with Justin still inside), the piggies arrived in Karlovy Vary. This town is famous for its spas and, according to many of their Czech English students, Russians.

Karlovy Vary

Karlovy Vary

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Oh yeah...and it's the birthplace of the famous Czech liquor, Beckerovka.
The piggies getting wasted at 1pm

The piggies getting wasted at 1pm

spa

spa


The spa wasn't really that exciting for the starving teacher. The piggies just went to the "heated pool" (which really wasn't even that warm).

hot water from a pipe

hot water from a pipe

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also famous for spa wafers

also famous for spa wafers


nomnom

nomnom

The bus was really a disaster as they went to the "wrong stop" and missed the bus back to Prague.

Posted by gabell 07:29 Archived in Czech Republic Comments (0)

Piggies and Pierogies

a birthday weekend in Kraków, Polska

Kaitlyn's birthday was Sunday, Feb. 3rd and to celebrate she invited everyone to come to Krakow with her and her roommate Karen (who is Polish and lived in Krakow one summer).

Six people joined them, making for a very packed (and very fun) overnight train ride from Prague.

From left to right: Kaitlyn, Olivia, Katie, Javier

From left to right: Kaitlyn, Olivia, Katie, Javier


Justin, Gwen, Karen, Jordan

Justin, Gwen, Karen, Jordan

We left Prague around 1030 and got to Krakow around 630am Friday morning. Of the eight hours I believe we slept about 1-2. We spent most of the night playing cards/drinking games,listening to katie's speakers and running around the train annoying the conductors at 4am.

After breakfast, we found a Polish guy to drive us to Auschwitz concentration camp at 930am. That's a post for a different day.

When we returned, we went out for our lunch/dinner since none of us had eaten. Karen took us to her favorite pierogi place. Pierogis are dumplings stuffed with various items. I got the "Traditional Mixed" dumplings. There were ten dumplings, some had cottage cheese, others had meat, and some had a mushroom/cabbage mix.

"Mix traditional Polnish dumpings: whit cottage cheese and potatoes, whit meet, whit cabbage und mushrooms"

"Mix traditional Polnish dumpings: whit cottage cheese and potatoes, whit meet, whit cabbage und mushrooms"

So close...
pierogies! so good. Also, a traditional hot citrus drink

pierogies! so good. Also, a traditional hot citrus drink

We all returned for a pretty epic nap before a night out on the town.

The next day we explored Krakow.
main square

main square


church

church


market hall

market hall


markets

markets


curry, pineapple, chicken panini

curry, pineapple, chicken panini


apple cinnamon hot chocolate

apple cinnamon hot chocolate


cool restaurant menu

cool restaurant menu


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castle

castle


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The weekend was quite a success :)

Posted by gabell 01:34 Archived in Poland Comments (0)

The 12 Piggies of Christmas

One month since Christmas in the Czech Republic. And officially the longest place I've lived outside the US.

snow

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
A piggie in a pear tree
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I entered the "holiday flat" of the Bellingers' on Christmas day to find one of the piggies climbing a plant towering over a plate of chocolate. I thought it made a good substitution for a Christmas tree.


On the Second day of Christmas my true love gave to me,

Two dead knights
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We ventured to the castle quite a few times during the family's stay in Prague. The first time we went to the Golden Lane were there was a hallway full of medieval weaponry reproductions (and some originals I think). Here are some knights killing each other on a shield.

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
Three piggies at praha hrad

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A THIRD PIG! What could be better than this? His name is Jiří Šunka. Jiří (pronounced: Yeh zhee) is an incredibly popular Czech name. Šunka (Shune-ka) means ham....

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
Four bread dumplings

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Contrary to this title, I can, in fact, count. And yes there are only three dumplings here but let's pretend I ate one.
This is svickova, one of the most popular Czech meals. It's sirloin marinated with a gravy-cream sauce and cranberries on top. Served with bread dumplings, of course.

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
Five golden piggies!!

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In the Czech Republic, there is a tradition that says one shouldn't eat red meat on Christmas eve. The legend goes that, if you succeed, you will see a golden pig that night. It's often told to children now. I found this chocolate golden pig at Albert. :)

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
Six Czechs a-singing

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Some Czech play/singing on the castle grounds on Christmas day.

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
Seven weapons swinging

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More weapons from the golden lane.

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
Eight puppets bouncing

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The Czech Republic is known for its marionettes.

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
Nine trdeniks roasting

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Enough said. My favorite Central European treat!

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
Ten pumas pouncing

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Proof of the live puma that lives at a totally random little bar in the middle of nowhere.

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
Eleven carp a-swimming

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All over Prague there are giant tubs of water with live carp in them. It's tradition to buy one of these carp (the nice men then publicly bash the fish's head in, cut it up, and weigh the meat) and have carp and potato salad for Christmas Eve dinner.

[b]On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
Twelve days of family[/b]
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Thanks for visiting me in my little frozen Central European city :)

Posted by gabell 12:29 Archived in Czech Republic Comments (1)

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