Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Post 16: A trip to Portugal

The Marqués de Riscal vineyard's hotel
Last Tuesday was International Workers Day and, as a result, I had no classes.  To celebrate as the Spaniards do, I went to a local vineyard with my friend and her aunt and uncle.  We went to the Marqués de Riscal vineyard and learned all about the art of making wine.  The vineyard's hotel was designed by the same architect (Frank Gehry) as the Guggenheim in Bilbao and therefore looked very familiar.  I learned the proper way to taste wine, enjoyed a couple of tastings, and left the museum feeling much more cultured.  Plus, I felt like a good student for learning something on a day off of school.

On Friday, I embarked on my last trip before the big one back to the U.S.  I went to Lisbon, Portugal.  Before the trip, I didn't really know too much about Portugal, but I had heard from multiple people that Lisbon is definitely worth going to.

Just one of the many rooms with filled
wine barrels at Marqués de Riscal
After a long day of traveling (we had a 7 hour layover in Madrid because of an unfortunate flight change), we finally arrived in Lisbon.  We walked to the water and slowly made our way over to an Irish pub for dinner.  Yes, we went to an Irish pub.  As odd as it may seem, I've actually eaten or drank at an Irish pub in almost every country I've been to.  The Irish pubs always have great food and a fun atmosphere that reminds us of home.

On Saturday, we started off the day with a little shopping and eventually made our way onto the bus tour of Lisbon.  Through the bus tour we saw a lot of Lisbon and learned some interesting history in the process of it.

Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon feels like a true vacation town, but the struggling economy is definitely more evident there than in any other place that I've visited.  Lisbon is still beautiful, but it is sad to see the economic struggle that the city is so obviously going through.

Before coming abroad, I knew that this semester would probably be my only chance to ever visit Portugal.  It just isn't a place that many people think of going to when they go to Europe, but I'm glad that I was able to experience it.  It was a good place to see, but it is unlikely that I will ever go back.

In other news, I will be returning to the U.S.A. in exactly 10 days.  I'm sure I will see all of you at the airport to welcome me home...

Until next time...¡Adios!

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