Mis vacaciones a Portugal y España I came back …

18 August 2004

Mis vacaciones a Portugal y España

I came back from my holiday this past Sunday; I stepped foot inside my house at 11:30 pm. It feels wonderful to be home after a long vacation.

My trip was muy interesante for various reasons. Here’s a recap:

Day 1

-We were scheduled to leave at 9 pm from JFK to London Heathrow, then connect to Lisbon. -We were told that there was a huge storm in London and all flights were delayed. Our flight would leave at 11:30 pm that night (which would cause us to miss our connecting flight in Lisbon). British Airways (BA) put us on Iberia Air which flies to Madrid and then connects us to Lisbon.

-We got on the flight to Madrid alright, but missed the connecting flight to Lisbon due to some paperwork errors (or so we were told).

Day 2

-We finally got to Lisbon at about 4 pm. Our luggage, unfortunately, did not.

-So that night, we went shopping for clothes at their mall and bought some undies from the Portuguese version of Target.

-We met the rest of our tour group and our tour director.

-We had dinner at a great seafood restaurant and saw a bit of Lisbon. Then we slept.

Streets of Lisbon

Day 3

-Wake-up call @ 6:15 am. We were to trek from Lisbon to Madrid via our tour bus. It is an 8-hour drive more or less. Saw a lot of beautiful old castles along the way. I love castles and all things medieval-y and mythology-related.

-Halfway through the drive, I started to feel sick. As in throwing-up sick and feverish and chilly. Made good uses of all our “comfort stops” along the way.

-Got to Madrid, headed straight for the bathroom and then to bed.

-Pulled myself together to go to dinner and a night-time tour. Could not eat nor enjoy the sightseeing.

-Threw up for most of the night. Was also still feverish and chilly. Took some Tylenol.

-My mom and dad went to the Madrid airport to try to find out luggage. They were successful and came home at 2 am with luggage in hand. Yay! I could actually change my pants!

Madrid’s Central Post Office at night

The hubs and I (with Don Quixote and Sancho Panza in the background)

Day 4-5

-Felt mostly better in the morning but still wary of eating food. Explored Madrid and some amazing cathedrals. Also went to ‘The Valley of the Fallen’, a cathedral built underneath a huge cross.

-Checked out the Museo del Prado. Fabulous! I love museums. I wanted to check out the modern art museum to look at Picasso’s Guernica as well. Unfortunately, it was closed.

-Drove to Toledo and walked through the town. It is quaint and picturesque with lots of tiny, winding streets.

-Then drove to Granada and saw the Alhambra Palace. Absolutely gorgeous!

-Went to a gypsy show in a cave in Granada’s old Jewish quarter and Muslim quarter.

The Valley of the Fallen

Pictures of the Alhambra Palace

Dancing Gypsy Girl

Views of Toledo

Day 6

-Left Granada. Drove to Tangiers, Morocco.

-Along the way, we stopped by the town of Marbella. Kick-ass! It was like the Hamptons of Spain –meaning lots of beautiful, rich people with yachts, Aston Martins, money, etc. The sea was beautiful and blue and the weather was warm and breezy. Wished we stayed there longer.

-Along the way to the ferry to Morocco, I realized that I only had a 1-entry visa to Spain (Spain is part of the Schengen Treaty which covers about 15 countries of the European Union). If I left Spain, I could not get back in. Why I didn’t think about this before is beyond me. People were like “but you’re a lawyer!” Hey, I did inquire about it before and the Spanish consulate saw my itinerary. I guess I had a momentary lapse of judgment. Oh well. I didn’t want to be stuck in Morocco, so I didn’t go. I totally missed out.

-Instead, the hubs and I hopped a bus to Seville, the next stop on our tour. Again, saw a bunch of old castles along the way.

A view of Marbella

Day 7-9

-Sevilla is another gorgeous city with a lots of old buildings that were incorporated into the more modern aspects of the city.

-The hubs and I got to spend some QT with each other. We spent most of our time lounging at the rooftop pool which overlooked the city. Great view. I think I got a pretty good tan.

-Shopped for souvenirs.

-Ate a lot of tapas and drank my new favorite drink: tinta de verano (stain of summer –literally translated). It’s basically red wine with seltzer. It is so refreshing!

-The rest of the tour caught up to us and we went sight-seeing. Went to Plaza de Espana; Maria Luisa Park, and Plaza Nuevo.

-Watched a flamenco show with some amazing dancers.

Day 10

-Drove from Seville back to Lisbon. Saw more castles –this time, they were built by the Knights Templar!

-Arrived in Lisbon relatively early. Toured the towns of Cascais (pronounced CASH-Kaish), Estoril, and Sintra. Cascais and Estoril are both seaside towns and they were amazing. I can’t believe how blue the ocean is over there. We cruised by some great old buildings and the hot residential areas over there. Sintra is a cute, little town where a lot of European royalty reside (or so we were told).

-I’m digging the Portuguese language. Our bus driver’s name is Joao (pronounced ZHOO-ow; rhymes with “Jew-wow”). I also got to practice my Spanish. After all, yo estudie el Espanol por seis anos.

-The hubs got sick during the ride back to Lisbon. He was the one who was bed-ridden this time.

-Went to the “docas” or docks of Lisbon; docas is a hot-spot that is by a marina and filled with restaurants and bars. Had a good time, of course.

Day 11: The travel back home. Stopped by London Heathrow and scored a new book: Shopaholic and Sister! Got back to NYC with no hitches. Overall, my trip was hectic yet fabulous. Despite some snafus (such as the missing luggage, missed trip to Morocco, and getting ill), I had an amazing time. I think I’ll do another trip like this. Great value and you get an overall view of the country. One thing I gotta say is that everyone in Spain smokes –and they smoke everywhere nonstop.

More pics later. Gymnastics is on!


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