Archive for the 'Portugal' Category

Pretty Places in Portugal, III

Posted by sue on 7th August 2008

Behold, the walled village of Óbidos.


It’s one of those places, like Sevilla in Spain, where you can tell they really work to keep it cute. I mean, they must hose it down with cuteness at least weekly! There’s a wall all around the city that you can walk on top of, giving you a good vantage point from which to observe all the cuteness. The town is called “the Wedding City” because it was the traditional bridal gift of the kings of Portugal to their queens, a tradition going back to 1282.

Posted in Portugal | 41 Comments »

We’re going to London!

Posted by sue on 6th August 2008

We just got plane tickets from Lisbon to London for August 27 to September 2! Then I come back here for my final teaching term, starting September 8. Yay!

Posted in Portugal | 34 Comments »

Pretty Places in Portugal, II

Posted by sue on 6th August 2008


We went camping a couple of weeks ago at Praia de Galé, on the Alentejo coast (about halfway between Setúbal and Sines) where a friend has a camper, and this was the scene, just a 5 minute walk from the campsite.

Posted in Portugal | 27 Comments »

Game night

Posted by sue on 5th August 2008

Did you know you can make Scrabble into a drinking game? Well, let’s just say that this was an awesome party–still memorable as a favorite Lisbon moment months later. Too bad the neighbors called the cops!


Posted in Portugal | 32 Comments »

The Edge of it All

Posted by sue on 4th August 2008

To cap off a road trip we did a few weeks ago in a rental car, we drove with a couple of friends out to Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point in Europe. It’s not all that far west of Lisbon, though the road to get there is pretty sickness-inducing for the delicate-stomached (don’t know anyone like that…). It’s notable for how cold and windy it is out there at the edge, even in July, so we just watched the sunset and took a few photos then retreated to the warmth of the car and then the further warmth of an Italian restaurant in Cascais.


The quote on the marker here, “Aqui… onde a terra se acaba e o mar começa…” means simply, “Here… where the land ends and the sea begins…” Yeah, kind of obvious? This quote is attributed to Luis Camões, venerated Portuguese poet–The Rough Guide to Portugal quips that here his muse, for once it seems, deserted him.

Posted in Portugal | 20 Comments »

Pretty Places in Portugal

Posted by sue on 4th August 2008


Does your country have random medieval Knights Templar castles built in the middle of rivers that are accessible only by small boat? Didn’t think so!

(This is Castelo de Almourol, in the Ribatejo region near Constância.)

Posted in Portugal | 34 Comments »

Our stove

Posted by sue on 2nd August 2008

Since we left the U.S. in October of 2006, all the stoves we’ve had have required a lighter or a match to light them– they simply haven’t had electric ignition or pilot lights. And we went for about a year without a working oven, so we did all our cooking on the stove top.


This is our current stove, which is a pretty new one because our landlord replaced the old one when we told her the oven didn’t work. So we have a working oven now, which isn’t something everyone has here (in the low end apartments that we and our friends occupy), but there are a couple of strange things about it. First, to light it, you have to turn the knob to high, and push it in for about 5 seconds, then light it with the stove lighter, and continue holding in the knob for 8 seconds or so before releasing it. Weird! I suppose it’s a safety against the gas being turned on accidently without the stove actually being lit. The other odd thing about the oven is that is doesn’t have a thermostat to maintain a set temperature. Like the burners on top, there are just symbols for low and high. But, if the fire maintains a set level, the oven will get hotter and hotter as time passes, so it’s rather tricky to actually bake something. We bought an oven thermometer in the U.S. (need degrees in Fahrenheit!) but we still have to adjust the knob as things bake to avoid burning.

We do occasionally make chocolate chip cookies in our crazy oven. But another weird thing– it’s Len who makes them now, not me!

Posted in Portugal | 26 Comments »

My Big Break

Posted by len on 5th July 2008

Look at those winning feet!
Three weeks ago it was starting to warm up in Lisbon.
One afternoon…one like any other…I was walking around the apartment barefoot.
Coming from the dining room into the kitchen I had to move through a relatively narrow space between our dining table and the wall.
Then occurred the stubbing. Damn that hurt! Stubbing my toe, which I’ve done countless times in my life, is incredibly painful. I’ve never understood how such a repeatable, temporary, short-term pain could be so intense.
Well, after “cursing a Finnish cottage” (Lisbon’s version of ‘cursing a blue streak’) I casually glanced down at my feet, even though, of course, I had just stubbed my toe so…what was there to see?
This image, minus the expensive digital graphics, is what I saw. And it was weird. Why is my toe pointing the wrong direction? Oh God! I just broke my toe!!!
First thing I’ve ever broke! I actually text-messaged every friend whose number I have in Lisbon and ‘announced’ it. I was oddly proud.
Well, 3 weeks later and I can walk easily and feel a little dull pain in the area after I’ve been on my feet for a while.
Never went to the doctor. From what I’ve heard they can’t do much for you anyway. I did tape the toe to a nearby toe for the first week as per a scene near the end of Blade Runner when Harrison Ford breaks a finger.

An Extra Bit on Bunions
Apparently those are bunions on my feet. I didn’t know this for most of my life. This is just how my feet have always looked, as far as I can remember. But most people don’t have that angular big toe action going on. And I guess these “bunions” hurts some people and they have expensive surgery to ‘remove’ them. I can’t even imagine how that’s possible. I don’t think they hurt me, unless I’m always suffering a ‘background bunion pain’ that I’m no longer aware of and just explains why I like to tip the bottle from time to time.

Posted in Portugal | 36 Comments »

Would You Eat This?

Posted by len on 7th June 2008

These are snails. SNAILS!
Yes, summertime in Lisbon means beer and snails.
They’re washed, boiled (I think), and put in a tasty sauce.
You grab their little heads with your teeth like you’re eating corn-on-the-cob and then suck the bodies out.

The flavor: very cajun, if I had to compare them to something Americans eat.
Quite yummy, actually, after getting over the fact that they’re SUPER GROSS!

That’s me, over there on the right, dipping some bread into the “snail sauce” left behind.
Yes, I know, the idea grossed me out before..but you can’t argue with FLAVOR!!

Oh, and see our plates? That’s how many we had eaten at the time of the picture.

Posted in Portugal | 50 Comments »

Asia Temblor Rocks Lisbon

Posted by len on 25th May 2008

Asia In Lisbon
Last post on this, I swear!
So the supergroup to end all supergroups of the 80’s reunited, came out with a new album called Phoenix, and played Lisbon.
They got pretty close to selling out the Lisbon Coliseum, which, granted is not huge.
But still…hundreds of Portuguese people showing up for Asia…? Pretty wild.
I was asked twice to put away my camera, that from the second row, allowed me to capture some pretty hot illicit video here:
Hot Hot Asia Video
See Steve Howe’s fretboard work as he plays “The Clap” and “Roundabout”.

One of the highlights was their rendition of the Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star”. Jeff Downes, the keyboardist had co-wrote it, apparently.

I think Steve Howe (bald guitarist on left) noticed the bunch of us in the first and second rows videotaping him so now and again would gesture over his guitar between chords at us. I was perplexed during the concert what exactly he was doing. I didn’t get it. Only after did Sue suggest that he was, in fact, ‘being the MAN’, and alerting security guards to our shinanigans! Leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. He’s still cool (and skeletal! Don’t miss the video!).

Posted in Portugal | 21 Comments »