Discovering Portugal

October 2, 2014

Greetings from the beautiful Portugal!!!

I didn’t know what I was expecting out of this country. I knew that it was the forerunner when it came to exploration when the world was flat and whatnot, but I knew nothing about the demographics of the nation. Turns out: it’s wonderful! I visited Lisbon, which is a historic city that was once destroyed by a massive earthquake. Its climate is superb because it’s on the same lateral line as San Francisco. Considering that similarity (and the fact that there numerous quake tremors in California) there is a replica of the Golden Gate Bridge protruding out of the city. Check it out!
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That cross-looking figure in the picture’s background is actually a giant statue of Jesus called “Christ the Majesty.” You’re probably familiar with the famous “Christ the Redeemer” statue in Brazil – side note: I’ll be going there in about a month – but this is a replica of it, although this one stands on a taller pedestal. Portugal wanted to have something symbolize its exploration and colonization, and since the thriving Brazil was first colonized by Portugal and the “Christ the Redeemer” is such a landmark for Brazil, a giant Jesus now looks over Lisbon as well.

So what did I do in Portugal? Well, I learned about the nation’s progression during the age of discoveries. By “progression” I mean “domination.” People from Portugal knew how to get around and they sure loved doing it! Why, they explored before exploring was cool! Here is the Monument to the Discoveries, which has the most famous Portuguese explorers proudly facing out to sea. The one on top is the main man in charge, Henry the Navigator.
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This is the Torre de Belém. It’s where explorers would begin their quests from the Portuguese shore to the world of the unknown.
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I also went to Jerónimos Monastery, which is a HUGE place of worship and is largest example of Manueline architecture in the world. Here are some pictures.
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The entrance is insane.
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This is the courtyard.
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Guess who’s buried inside… None other than Vasco da Gama. He was the first European to reach India by sea.
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Towering over Lisbon is St. George’s Castle. I walked hiked up to pay it a visit and got some really awesome pictures.
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Not to mention a great view of the city.
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And I hung out with some peacocks.
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The most memorable part of Portugal was touring the Alfama district, because it wasn’t your everyday walking tour. You know those segways? The things that mall cops use? Yeah. Took a tour using one of those. Turns out: you have to have balance to use one.

Three of my friends – Bree, Payton, and Lakin – and I signed up for a segway tour without ever stepping foot on one in our lives. Thankfully, the instructor gave us a tutorial and a ten-minute training session before we hit the city. The session began with putting on hairnets under our helmets. It is extremely difficult to look good in a hairnet. Then, we learned the art of segwaying. Did you know that those things are completely driven by the act of leaning? I thought I was going to die.
I managed to make it through the training session and so did my friends, but just like that, we entered the bustling city of Lisbon. Like ducks in a row we scooted? Rolled? Stood? I don’t know, but we went. Lisbon streets and alleyways are dang tiny.
I don’t know how I managed to get through the tour without falling off the thing but I did. I really got the hang of it about the time that the tour was ending. Sigh. Anyway, it was a very unique was to explore the city and see the beauty of Portugal.
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