The first chance that I had on this trip to visit another country besides Spain was to go to Portugal for the weekend. Portugal is not very far from Sevilla but it feel very far because of the language change. I’ve studied Spanish for a decade, taken a little Italian and can recognized some French food words because of my experience with Julia Child’s cookbooks but I have no knowledge or understanding of Portuguese. Regardless of the language barrier, I loved Lisboa.
The weather was cold and rainy but we still got to see the major sights. Like the San Jeronimo Monastery and the ruins of a old castle.
We climbed the Torre de Belem, or Bethlehem Tower and explored some of the downtown plazas. One of my favorite sights were the university students who dress in uniforms that look straight out of Harry Potter- complete with black cloaks.
We also tried some of the local cuisine. Lots of local fish and rice dishes, similar to Spain but with different spices and flavors. We also tried vino verde- a sweet sparkling wine and Pasteis de nata- the famous local pastry.
On our way by to Sevilla, we stopped in the small medieval town of Evora, Portugal. There was a Renaissance style market selling yummy food and interesting souvenirs. They also had a petting zoo and a booth with all kinds of owls and falcons. We tried this pizza-burrito things, meat and cheese wrapped in dough and cooked in a wood fired stove and cinnamon sugar crepes.
The main attraction of Evora is the Capela dos Ossos or the Bone Chapel, a very strange and creepy chapel completely decorated with real human bones. The idea is to remember the dead and recognized the cycle of life. It was one of the most unusual things I’ve seen on this trip.