Saturday, March 17, 2012

Portugal Days 3 and 4

On Tuesday, our third day in Portugal we stayed in Lisboa and visited the monastery of Jeronimos. A giant monastery that stretches imposingly along the shore line. It was quietly beautiful with arched ceilings and architecture in the Manueline style.

Afterwards we ate at a cool sandwich shop that literally had sandwiches in every style possible. Qix and I ordered falafel which was very delish. In the evening we went to the largest mall in Portugal and Spain. It was massive. We wandered around in a daze popping into various shops until we took an espresso break. Qix and I became fans of their national custard pastry call pastel de nata and took every opportunity to eat some!

On Wednesday our legs were beginning to ache so we decided to take the day a bit slower. We clambered aboard a small trolley, in a teeny tiny alley, crammed full full of tourists to an area called Chiado. At the top was a beautiful lookout point with a man selling his canvas paintings. Naturally, we could not resist purchasing some of his exquisite artwork!

Our journey then took us to Sao Roque, a catholic church. The inside was breathtaking, and we probably would have meandered around if not for the service in progress. It was quite serious, lots of prayer and singing involved, and may have been more interesting had we been able to understand it, but instead it was hilarious to listen too. Everyone with their solemn faces and voices droning on in chants.

With much regret, we left the priest and his followers to go to the ruins of a convent. The convent arches towered above us in an open ceiling. It is amazing how ornate and incredibly huge the convent was. Qix got to see her first mummy on display there!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Origami


If anybody's been on Google today, (and I suspect you all have :D) then you probably know today is (or was, since the day is almost over) Akira Yoshizawa's birthday. He was the pioneer of modern origami, and invented many paper folding techniques. A fascinating documentary about origami, Between the Folds explores the many genres of origami, and while it is not exclusively about Akira Yoshizawa, it does feature him.


Photo source. Songbird created by Robert Lang from one uncut square of tissue foil paper.

Portugal Day Two, Sintra

Monday found us in the delightfully picturesque mountainous town of Sintra. We hiked up a mountain-much huffing and puffing involved here-to Pena Palace and the Moorish Ruins. The view from the palace was quite spectacular. You could see all the way to the coast! Apparently the Moorish castle used to offer protection to the coastal towns (which you can see in the vista shots) and once a year they would burn a huge bonfire to remind the towns people they were being protected. So, kind of a threat as well.

Pena palace and castle grounds were interesting because the King Ferdinand who designed them, had quite the vivid imagination. The palace was a mishmash of all different kinds of decorative and artistic influences. It looks Moorish and Arabic and exotic on the outside of the palace and the inside is all modern plumbing and Victorian bric-a-brac! The grounds are a mix of native Mediterranean flora and German countryside because dear Ferdinand wanted to import his favorite trees from back home into his own fantasy forest. King Ferdinand sounded like a whimsical character and we got the impression his contemporaries must have rolled their eyes at him a time or two.

Sintra was adorably quaint and had a sleepy, dreamy atmosphere. Naturally we managed to go the looong way up the mountain but leaving the Moorish castle ruins we met up with a man we just happened to have bumped into earlier in the day. He was from Brazil and living in London and very kindly showed us the way back to Sintra which turned out to be quite the speedy shortcut! Sadly he was neither young nor handsome but our tired little legs were very grateful nonetheless!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

An Update

As you can probably tell from the previous post on Qix and Mox, Mara Unni and Qix are in Portugal. So exciting for them! They will be updating the blog when they can.

Arrival and First Day in Lisboa

We stumbled off the plane and into Mediterranean Lisboa. We weren't able to check into our hotel so we dusted off a bit and then went out to explore the city in true European fashion - without having showered for several days. First off was Castelo Sao Jorge.

The weather is absolutely beautiful with blue skies and a lovely mild coastal breeze. We've seen lots of palm and orange trees which have been quite fun. We decided we will be quite sad to leave.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Shoes

These shoes look super comfy and very indie urban (can you even put those two words together?)!



Found here on Pinterest.

Friday, March 2, 2012