Today marks the 2nd full week that we have been abroad and a full 2 months since we left Maui on our journey. Somehow, we have now managed to ‘live’ in four dwellings during our travels so far. Some good, some very good and some not worth writing home about. Our current dwelling is in Sintra, Portugal which is about 15km west of Lisbon proper. Our favorite taxi driver (Carlos, a proud native of this area) informed us that Sintra was originally the vacation get-away spot for the many royal families that ‘ruled’ Portugal for centuries. We are currently in a large 3-level guest house (our family is occupying the main floor only). The house is comfortable and well built but distinctly musty in many rooms. I have noticed that the builders in Portugal use a lot of marble and granite. For everything it seems…furniture, stairs, guardrails, doors, sidewalks, street lamp posts, park benches, etc., This is just an observation that I have made probably from an ‘engineers perspective’.
This week we have visited two of Lisbon’s very prominent landmarks, geographically and historically. Popular with tourists and locals: The Pena Palace and the Moors Castle. Both of these structures have a very storied history which goes all the way back to the age of kings and queens in the middle ages (10th to 12th century). I won’t bore anyone with any of the history which has been well researched and documented. I just find the structures fascinating from an ‘engineers perspective’ since I find them to be compelling from a ‘how did they build this’ instead of ‘why did they build this’. The structures seem to almost grow out of the rocks organically which are immense granite boulders.
I inserted and interspersed as much ‘history’ into our recent excursions that I thought our girls could handle. They may not be aware of it but ‘field trip’ days are also homeschool days, of sorts. In keeping with our general expectations so far in our travels there has been a lot of walking and physically it has been challenging for all of us at times.
After the palace excursion while exploring the narrow walkways of Sintra we heard a strange sound as a crowd gathered around. There was a bronze that came to life. Whenever anyone tipped this mime he would pound his spear on the stage and take aim in a manner of thanking the person for their contribution. Later on the walk home the girls enjoyed making large bubbles with the locals.
I hope that you enjoy the attached photographs from our self-appointed photo-journalists on this trip, Tiffany and the girls.
Onward and upward, until next time.