Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Portugal with the Parents

Well this past weekend I traveled to Portugal with the parents.  But let me start from where I left off from the last time I blogged.  I went to volunteer on Wednesday and there were so many volunteers that they didn’t even need Jackie and I in the kitchen.  To be honest we are getting a little discouraged with going to the soup kitchen and either not being needed at all or just having to work in the kitchen, therefore we are taking the week off and start back up next week.  I don’t think anything else really happened to me on Wednesday.  Oh I was suppose to go out with some friends, but decided I wanted to just stay in and get a start on my history paper and not be out until 2:00am, even though I didn’t go to bed until like 1am anyways.  Well Thursday came and I went to class just like any other Thursday.  My class and I were sitting waiting for our art history teacher to show up and then the librarian comes into our class and tells us that our teacher is sick and that we don’t have class.  I was happy in a way that we didn’t have class, but I don’t understand why our teacher couldn’t have emailed us the night before telling us she was sick and we wouldn’t have class.  I mean she has been sick for a couple of weeks on and off so she probably knew she wasn’t going to come to class.  Well anyways I got some homework done and then went to ethics later in the day.  I have been enjoying ethics a litter more the normal lately, because we have been talking about real life examples.  One of the examples is there is a fat man leading a group out of a cave when he gets stuck in the only exit of the cave and the tide is coming in.  Your options are to blow him up with the only thing you have which is a stick of dynamite and then the majority of the people will be saved (besides him) or don’t blow him up and everyone would probably die… what would you do?  It is interesting to hear the different opinions of the people in my class.  I said that I would like to believe that if I was the fat man in the situation I would blow myself up to save the majority of the people and would like to think that people would also do the same thing – however, none of us will really know until we are put into that situation.
After ethics class on Thursday I went to get sangria with some friends and then went home to pack up for Portugal.  After I was all packed up I left for the hotel we were staying at in Madrid close to the airport for Thursday night since we had an early fight back to Lisbon.  I took the metro and found the hotel with no problem at all.  I have gotten really use to staying in these real hotels and now that mom and dad left I will be staying in the good old hostels again when I travel – oh well! Anyways I got to the hotel and checked myself in and went up to the room.  The hallway was really dark – it was weird, but I found the room and it was extremely nice.  I made myself and home right away and laid on the couch – yes the hotel room had a couch! It is the first time I have laid on a couch and watched TV since being in Spain.  There were no English channels so I ended up just flipping through the channels a bunch of times and then I found profession darts and it was in German – let me tell you that was rather entertaining.  Well around 10 o’clock mom and dad arrived to the hotel from a four day trip to the Canary Islands.  Dad and I went down to the restaurant in the hotel and got a quesadilla and mozzarella sticks to bring back up to the room along with the food mom and dad had left over from their trip.  We had a very relaxing evening and just talked about their trip.

The next day we got up at 4:15am to shower and get to the shuttle by 5am to get to the airport.  It was a very early morning since we didn’t try to go to bed until around midnight and then mom fell asleep before me and started to snore a little bit – well maybe mom than a little – but I still love you mom!  The flight to Lisbon was very easy and we had no problems at all.  When we arrived in Lisbon there was a private shuttle waiting for us to take to us to our hotel Lisboa Plaza – another really nice hotel! Thanks mom and dad!!  The first day in Lisbon we didn’t do all the much.  Wait, hold up, I am going to do this blog a little different – it is going to be shorter, but I am going to explain what we did underneath all the pictures – I have a lot for this blog.   I normally explain what I do with pictures so it is not that different.   Enjoy!

This picture is from the first moments in the hotel.  I went to the bathroom and saw that there were robes so I thought I just had to try it on… well as mom was taking this picture or shortly after the bell boy walked in – let’s just say he had a good laugh as did the three of us.  Only me, I tell you.

After we got settled in hotel we decided to take a stroll to the tourism office to get some information about the city and then explore.  I took this picture of mom and dad walking to the tourism office.

On the first day we went to the church of San Roque or Saint Rock.  This was the first Jesuit Church built in Portugal.  It was really interesting to see the church and then we went to the museum right next to the church; at the museum I used some of my knowledge from my history class to explain to dad a little bit about the Reformation and the Counter Reformation regrading the Council of Trent.  It was good to see the information that I was being taught would come to use in some sort of way.

After the San Roque church we went to another hotel to wait for our half day tour.  The hotel is where the travel agent wanted us to stay, but it was way too expensive.  However, the hotel was extremely nice and I really like this sitting thing - I am no sure what to call it!

The half day tour took us to Sintra, a wonderful village where the Royal Family used to live during the summer months.  We only stayed in the city about an hour, but in that time we visited the castle - which is where this picture is take - and we also tasted the local pastry - queijades.

Picture taken in the castle - Mom said they where cookie jars, but I am not sure if I believe her.  Overall the castle was really cool to see - it seemed more modern than the Real Palace of Madrid and just had a different style in general.

After Sintra we drove to the Western most point in continental Europe - Cabo da Roca.  This picture is of mom and dad chilling at the Western most point in Europe

Me at the Western most point in Europe!!

W = West! I was pretty excited to be here!

Also I thought I saw America in the distance - I was probably wrong! But at least I was trying to see my home of America in the distance.

The view from Coba da Roca was one of the best views we had the entire trip and the weather was pretty nice there!! 

These next four pictures are me trying to jump on top of the rock... 

Too far!!

Not far enough!!

Just right - Success!

Dad and I just showing some love at Coba da Roca.

After Coba da Roca the bus took us to Cascais - a fishing village that is a very tourist town in the summer - I would totally go back there and visit during the warm summer months!  That ended our first tour in Portugal.  After the tour we went back to our hotel and relaxed a little and then went out for dinner.  We walked around Lisbon for a while - there was a restaurant close to hotel that looked really good, but it was a little expensive.  We wanted to see if we could find a different restaurant and just wanted to explore our options.  We ended up going down this one street where there were a million restaurant, but they all had people outside of them trying to get you to look at the menu and eat there.  As soon as you stop to look at one menu everyone would start basically running after you to look at their menu and to eat at their restaurant.  We ended up not eating at any of these places because it was just too overwhelming.  We went back to the first restaurant and had a wonderful meal.  Lisbon is a big seafood/fish place so we had all fish.  The fish was really fresh - they had a bunch of fish chilling in ice when you walked in the door and after you ordered the waiter literally took the fish right off the plate and back to the kitchen - as I said it was really fresh and really good.  Thanks mom and dad for such a wonderful meal!

The next day we had a general outline of what we wanted to see in Lisbon - We were going to start with the Castle.  We got a little lost on the way there so we stopped at this park to regroup and to use mom's iPhone to figure out where we were - I thought it would be a great time to snap a photo of me.

We found the stairs that were going to lead us to the castle! After a little effort we found the right entrance into the castle and everyone was a little less crabby at then!!

In the Castle just shooting a canon no big deal at all.

Dad and I chilling in the castle - thanks mom for the great picture!

I was hungry and wanted some food!!! - not really though, just a good photo place!

After the castle we headed to the aquarium - if you ever go to Lisbon, Portugal you really need to go there.

Me chilling with the "mascot" of the aquarium - two peas in a pod for sure.

The mission of the aquarium was to show that the four oceans where actually all one ocean.  Each ocean had its own tank around the outside more or less and then there was a big tank with a bunch of different animals in the middle.  They built the aquarium to give the illusion that all the oceans come together in the middle like one big ocean - so cool.  At first we thought that all the water was mixing together and it was only really big ocean in the middle, but after thinking about it more I realized that it was not possible with the different water temperatures and things of that nature.  Also we looked harder at the little oceans and we could see that there might have been glass in between the exhibits.  Overall the aquarium was AMAZING.  I just love water.  

The start of the water garden! This garden was for sure made just for me!

Dad and I had fun playing with all the different things in the water garden - well especially me.  Good find mom!

Mom and I by the water by the main entrance to the city - it was gorgeous!

The elevator.

Me at the top.

Down the elevator shaft.

These pictures are from the elevator that is located in Lisbon that you can take to get from low town to high town without having to climb any stairs, but you do have to pay three euros for it.  The line to go up into the elevator was kind of long – we waited about 45 minutes or so, but that was one of the highlights of the trip for sure – waiting in line.  First dad and I had a rock, paper, and scissors tournament – NBA style.  Where we play best of seven, but every one game is best of seven.  I don’t know if that makes sense but it does to me!  Anyways the serious was at 3-3 and we were on the last game and it was tied 3-3… it all came down to that one rock, paper, and scissors.  You could hear a pin drop it was so silent – well not really, but hey it sounded good.  Anyways dad won and he legit did a victory dance in the middle of waiting in line with a bunch of people on while wearing a backpack! Love that guy!  Well after that game was done we decided to play another one of the Lubner’s favorites – the category game.  We pick a category for example countries of the world and then we go around and name the country – you can not repeat a country and if you can’t think of one then you are out of the game.  Well for the first one we actually did countries and I won – yes the geography challenged baby of the family actually one a game that was related to geography! I was pretty excited.  The next category was languages – this was rather entertaining.  We got the main was and then mom said what about the different dialects like French Canadian – this was dad’s reaction “Oh French Canadian… Canadian that is mine!!”  Mom and I looked at each other and just burst out laughing; we were like Canadian… really dad? That isn’t a language.  Oh this game always brings good times for sure!! Also playing that game made the line seem shorter!  After the elevator we walked back to our hotel and stopped at a grocery store to get dinner - cheese and wine and bread and some fruit.

Sunday we had a full day tour in various places of the north of Lisbon.  The first one was Obidos.  it had narrow streets, Pousdada do castelo and a Chocolate festival going on.  We only stopped here for an hour so it was very rushed, but we tried to make to best of it and bought some deilious chocolate - little chocolate pieces, chocolate bread, and a chocolate donut - all of which were amazing!

After Obidos we drove to Alcobaba where we visited the 12th century Church of the Monastery with tombs of Pedro and Ines de Castro.  Again it was a really quick visit - more like rushed which we really didn't like about the tour and the tour guide always said everything in four different languages - Portuguese, English, Spanish, and German so everything took three times as long as it should have.  We tried to make the best of the tour, but it was a very good tour overall.

After Alcobabe we drove to Nazare which is considered one of the most colorful fishing villages - I was way more interesting in the Atlantic Ocean than the fishing village for sure! 

I love the ocean!! 

Next we went to Batalha Monastery where there was a wonderful Gothic style church we got to visit.  Again all the churches I have seen have all been different in some way - whether it is the outside of the church or the inside - something is always different and unique to the church which I love!

Our last stop on the tour was Fatima.  Fatima is the place where the Virgin Mary appeared to the three little children in 1917 and gave them three messages.  It was really interesting to see the place and everything.  I will write more of a reflection on it in my next blog... I am running out of steam in this one - sorry guys!  The picture is of mom and me in front of the old basilica in Fatima.

The trip home from Lisbon was not as easy as the trip going to Lisbon.  Our flight was at 7:10am on Monday so again we had to get up early ad get our shuttle to the airport.  Well everything was going good, until we tried to check in – our flight was delayed until 11:40am.  We were debating whether we should go back to the hotel or if we should just stay at the airport and we concluded that we should just stay at the airport because we would have that much time back at the hotel anyways.  Mom and I found these benches/couches to lay on, but it was freezing in the airport so we snuggled up together – it was nice and WARM! Thanks mom.  Dad didn’t find the couches that comfortable so he explored the airport while I slept and drooled on the couches… yes, that is right I am not ashamed that I drooled – everyone does it.  Dad became an expert at the Lisbon airport and gave me a tour when I woke up from my great nap.  Love you, Dad!! Well it was a very long and stressful day in the airport.  The first highlight was eating PizzaHut.  It was wonderful.  After the pizza at about 9:30 in the morning I decided that it would probably be a good idea to read some of my history readings that I was a little behind on.  Well I got bored kind of quickly reading about World War 1 and then the Age of Anxiety and everything so I just ended up whining to dad about how I didn’t want to read history.  Well 11:15 rolled around and we decided we should move to our gate to make sure we don’t miss any important announcements or something of that nature.  Well while we were waiting I was laying on dad and decided it would be fun to pluck his arm hairs out – he was not too happy about that.  I told him I was just trying to get rid of all the gray hairs – I was having a wonderful time with it – laughing hysterically. Dad wasn’t too happy with the whole thing, but since he loves me he let me pluck one!!  Anyways our flight got delayed again and now we were not going to be leaving the airport until 1:00pm.  When I found this out I was a little mad! It was an hour plane ride and then an hour time difference so we wouldn’t land in Madrid until about 3 or later and then we had to get the bags and then get a taxi from the airport home.  I didn’t have any of my stuff for my class.  I have only missed one class in my life and I just hate missing classes.  And above all I really didn’t want to be spending the last day with my parents in the Lisbon hotel.  To say the least I was not the most pleasant person from about noon until I got home.  Sorry about that Mom and Dad.  Well I got back to my apartment – I just told the taxi driver my road name and what metro it was close to and he understood me! It was so nice to speak Spanish again instead of Portuges which I don’t understand any of!  Then I told the taxi drive to take Mom and Dad to their hotel and I would meet him at seven in the lobby of their hotel for dinner and saying goodbye.  Well I got home and talked to Gloria for a little bit and then I went to send Zack an email to tell him I was going to be in class and everything and to my surprise he responded to me right away saying that he went to class and there was a note on the door saying that class had been classes – I guess God was watching out for me.  Well I still had a class at 5:30 so I got my stuff all ready to take to Mom and Dad after class and found exactly where their hotel was and headed to school.  Well I get to class and there is a note on the door stating that my history class was also canceled.  Again couldn’t my teacher just email me and tell me my class is canceled instead of having to go to class and find out it is canceled.  I mean I could have not been stressed and enjoyed the whole day with my parents.  Well I left school around 5:30 and was going to walk to the hotel to hopefully find my parents; however, mom texted me and said that they were going to explore a little bit so I honestly had no idea if they were going to be there or not.  But once again God was looking out for me and they just got back to the hotel when I got there.  We decided to just go the grocery store and have a simple dinner in the hotel room – it was just to have a chill evening with mom and dad before I had to say goodbye.  Well it was time to say goodbye – it was almost harder than the first time when I left for Spain.  Mom starting crying right away and that made me cry too.  But I know I am I going to see them in about a month.  Dad walked me home again and it was hard to say bye to dad too, but Dad didn’t cry so I didn’t cry – until I got up to my room and then it hit me.  I am so bless with the parents I have.  Even though we have our stressful moments where we don’t get along or whatever, I know you guys are always there for me and you are the best.  Thank you so much for spoiling me throughout my entire life and especially these last two weeks – traveling with you has a pure joy.  After staying in hostel I truly appreciate all the wonderful and amazing things we did and ate and the places we stayed.  Thanks again for coming to visit me! I hope you guys had a great time too!! I hope you got a good feel of Madrid and understand a little more of where I am living and what I do on a daily bases.  You guys are the best!  Thanks again for everything the last weeks – you rock my socks.

Well I think that is all for this blog! I hope everything is well with you all.

Paz y Amor. God Bless.

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