Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to learn as much Portuguese as I should have. And English didn't seem to be very wide spread, except in Lisbon. The climate in Portugal was nicer than the parts of Spain I was in - not as hot. I was surprised that when I crossed the border between Spain and Portugal there were no border buildings. I expected something like the border between the US and Canada. I was in Lisbon when Timor was invaded and ran into a HUGE demonstration! Seeing how I look very non-native, I stood back until I was able to decipher enough Portuguese to make sure the signs with "Bill Clinton" and "USA" weren't too negative. They didn't seem to be - they were along the lines of why the US intervened in Kosovo and not in the case of East Timor. I was impressed at the crowd and how impassioned they were.
Guarda - this is a little town in the northern part of Portugal. This is in the older part of town, which is where I stayed. This is the immense 800 year old church there. The buildings were too close to get an overall picture anywhere. I saw a funeral procession walking down the street - I wanted to take a picture but felt it'd be disrespectful. After it left, I walked around the elaborate cemetery. I saw some stones with one of my family names, but they all were decorated with crosses.
This is a view from a hilltop in the old section of Lisbon. The view is out over the ocean (in case you couldn't tell what that watery stuff was!) You can tell from the picture how narrow and twisty the streets below are!
Some of the archways in Jeronimos Monastery in the Belem district of Lisbon. Gorgeous building, though outside were lots of persistent vendors. This was a touristy area, but worth the visit.
This is the tomb of Vasco da Gama (they think - I don't know why they don't know!) in the Monastery. It's matched with the tomb of a Portuguese poet. Spain and Portugal both seem to honor their men of literature. Below is a monument to the Portuguese explorers. It's at the base of a tower that you can go up in for some great views.
I spent a night in Beja, a quiet little town in the southeast of Portugal. The hotel I stayed at was near the outskirts of town by a residential area. I did a little strolling around the neighborhood - the houses were cool - very modern.
Olive groves are everywhere! I took a break for a picnic lunch in one of them.
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