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Portugal Day 10: Belém Me!

sunny 93 °F

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We started our day by going to mass at São Sebastião church near our hotel. It was very small on the inside...
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But incredibly beautiful. It was rather full, too. Mass is fairly easy to follow in Portuguese, since it is similar to Latin. However, the sermon was a bit difficult. We did pick up that he mentioned bread, and buying things, and eating and drinking.
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It was heartening to see that even new/replacement fittings of the church are done in the old style to match with everything else.
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Some pictures of the Parque Eduardo VII, which is named for King Edward VII of England. Our hotel had a view of this park, and we walked through it to get to the church.
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We got a taxi to Belém for lunch. We planned to explore the area, which we hadn’t seen much of yet. We got toasted cheese and chips at this little cafe, and Catherine tried a lemon radler (beer with lemon flavor.) It seemed to be made by Sagres, as most of the beer in this country seems to be.
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Missangas.
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Which is a jewelry store where you can make your own jewelery. Catherine loved it, and made herself a cork bracelet with blue Portuguese tile.
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After that we went to the famous Pasteis de Belém, arguably the first bakery to create the pastel de nata. The recipe is supposed to be a secret, but we have now found pasteis de nata all over the world (if Hanford and Portugal count as all over the world.) These were very good, and we got an orange juice and a galão to go with them.
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Next we visited the Jerónimos monastery. It was beautiful from the outside. There was a long line to pay to get into the cloister, so we chose to simply visit the church.
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First was the tomb of the poet Camões.
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Tombs featuring elephants: most of these graves belong to Portuguese royalty.
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Various tombs and altars around the church. It is a beautiful place, obviously designed to impress the viewer with the glory of the Portuguese empire.
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Catherine loves the elephant tombs.
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The tomb of the lost king Sebastião. He went deep into enemy territory and was never seen again. This led, in the years afterwards, to a rumor that he was still alive. Various claimants insisted that they were him (some of whom didn’t speak Portuguese, making it less likely.) Later, it led to a legend that he would return someday to restore Portugual to its former glory. Apparently, Philip II did have some bones, which he claimed were Sebastian’s, placed in the tomb during the Iberian Union in order to solidify his power, but the legend persists.
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The tomb of Vasco de Gama. We are hoping that this visit inspires Catherine to improve her sense of direction, in emulation of the great Portuguese navigators.
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Various monuments around Belém, including the Monument to the Portuguese Discoveries and the Christo Rei statue on the other side of the river.
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Some pictures of Belém tower.
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Wine With a View stand, as well as the accompanying view of the bridge and the statue. The bridge was built by the same company that designed the Bay Bridge in San Francisco, but painted the same color as the Golden Gate Bridge.
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We went to dinner and a fado show in Bairro Alto. Anthony, Catherine’s dad, tried octopus.
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The singers.
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Both of us remember the commercials for the “Vienna” ice cream lasagne, but neither of us have tried it. We took our chance and tried it.
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Some pictures outside the fado restaurant. We had a wonderful night. Tomorrow we fly to the Azores!

Posted by danielcatherine 18:26 Archived in Portugal Tagged elephants bridge music dinner monastery kings octopus belem camoes fado discoveries jerónimos pastel_de_nata vasco_de_gama sebastião Comments (2)

Portugal Day 6: Batlioteca and the Footsteps of the Romans

overcast 69 °F

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Walking up to the University of Coimbra was a bit of a climb, but we were able to get there pretty quickly using a direct route up stairs.
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Many of the buildings at the university date from the mid twentieth century, and were built under the rule of António de Oliveira Salazar, the dictator of Portugal who had been a professor at the University. These buildings, our AirBnB host told us, are controversial because houses were demolished to build them. They have a very uniform feel, and seem to form an imposing entry towards the old square of the University.
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Views of the old square, which is located in a former royal palace.
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Us in the square.
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The first part of our tour: knocking on the door of the chapel.
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Inside São Miguel chapel. It was a royal chapel but is now used by the university. They have masses regularly, which prevents tours from going through, but we were able to go in.
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A striking picture of the courtyard.
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The Joanine Library, which also includes the Academic Prison. The prison was used when students and faculty were convicted of crimes in order to prevent university scholars from having to associate with “common criminals.” The lower level of the library is used for storage of older books. The upper level is the room where students would have studied, and where there are beautifully decorated shelves and paintings. Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take pictures in that room. It is also famous because there are bats that eat the insects that could damage the books. The bats live behind the shelves and eat moths and other insects at night. Pieces of paper are set down on the tables to protect them from bat guano.
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The inside of the royal palace. One large room is used today for students who are defending dissertations: there was a student doing so when we toured.
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Some last views of Coimbra before we left. Also, a couple pictures of our car and our AirBnB.
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Next we visited the Roman ruins of Conimbriga. Coimbra is named after Conimbriga (in Roman times Coimbra was called Aeminium, and was renamed when Conimbriga was razed by the Suebi and the residents fled to Aeminium.
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The ruins are fascinating: baths, houses, mosaics, and other buildings.
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The Roman influence continues, in the form of gelato.
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We then drove to Porto. We are staying at the House of Sandeman, located immediately above their tasting room and port cellars. Our room is very nice and comfortable, despite the somewhat creepy painting.
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Porto is beautiful. At night, it feels like a city for making plots and schemes.
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We went out for dinner and a couple drinks. Catherine tried bacalhau com natas (cod with cream) for the first time, and really liked it. It was a beautiful night of talking and walking near the river. We can’t wait to see more of Porto tomorrow.

Posted by danielcatherine 12:40 Archived in Portugal Tagged palace bridge university port royal porto library bats chapel romans coimbra gelato conimbriga sandeman Comments (0)

Day 13 - Hopping Around Vancouver

all seasons in one day 68 °F

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Vancouver in the morning as seen from our windows.

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We decided to take the "Hop On-Hop Off" bus. It was convenient because that way we wouldn't have to drive and park on our own.

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Some sights from the bus. The coliseum-like building is the Vancouver Central Library.

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We got off at Gastown, and ate at the Old Spaghetti Factory. This was not a "new thing" to try, but Daniel had eaten at Old Spaghetti Factory the last time he was in Vancouver, so it was tradition.

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Some views around Gastown. Gastown is the older part of Vancouver, and has a lot of interesting shops and buildings.

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The Olympic Torch from 2010.

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More views from the bus.

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Catherine loves all the hydrangeas in the area.

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A hidden spot in the rainforest in Stanley Park. We saw someone disappear into the trees, and decided to see where they had gone. The rainforest is very impressive, especially the size of the trees (they're small compared to sequoias, but huge compared to everything else.

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Around Stanley Park. We had a wonderful tour within the park, which was included with our pass for the Hop On-Hop Off.

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Vancouver and the harbor from the park.

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Totem poles in Stanley Park.

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This statue is called "girl in wetsuit." At high tide, the water is up to her flipper.

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Trying to take our own picture in the blinding sunlight.

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Various buildings along the way. The office building is interesting because you can see each floor in detail.

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Granville Island, and Granville Island Brewery, recommended to us by Michael was a nice afternoon stop.

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At the brewery, we got some small samples and a cup of "hot nuts." They were hot as in warm, not as in spicy.

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At home, Catherine always prefers that anyone cooking wear an apron. She has several aprons that she has picked out for herself. All of them are very feminine looking. This apron we got from the Granville Island Brewery is better. (Note the bottle opener and beer holder)

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From Granville Island, we took an Aquabus back to our side of False Creek. It was a nice and convenient way to travel.

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We tried a little diner called Templeton for dinner, since it was fairly late. Catherine had a BLT and Daniel had a grilled cheese with vegetables. The really interesting thing was cardamom coffee cake. This was unique and delicious.

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Vancouver at night.

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Our building at the end of a busy day. Tomorrow we are heading to Keremeos, in the Okanagan Valley. Tomorrow night will be our last night in Canada. We have had a great time in Vancouver, and would love to go back soon.

Posted by danielcatherine 01:08 Archived in Canada Tagged bus bridge stanley_park hopping diner granville_island cardamom totem_pole apron aquabus Comments (1)

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