Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Europe 2018 - Part 3 - Portugal!

Hello hello, welcome back! Ready for part 3? Portugal!!

Bom Dia, Belém! (Good morning, Belém!)

June 18, 2018

 May 30, 2018

Day 2 in Europe 

Oh boy! Lisbon has so many sites to see and things to do. We jam packed the day on a whim and it was so much fun. The easiest way is to start at the beginning. 

1. First we walked to downtown Lisbon. We didn't do much and finding our way was pretty simple. You just have to follow the tram tracks. On our way down we passed churches and museums and snapped a few quick photos. We also ate fresh, local fruit which I highly recommend if you ever find yourself in this beautiful city. 

2. Next we found the metro. Then from the metro we switched to the train that took us to Belém. On the train ride we passed a couple well known architectural buildings such as the Energias de Portugal(EDP) Headquarters by Aires Mateus Architects and the Museu Coleção Berardo of Modern and Contemporary Art. If I get the opportunity to visit Portugal again, I'm definitely adding those stops to my trip. 
(I brought up the metro, and just happen to have a picture. Probably because it was my first time and I was excited... Who knows! I try to capture everything. :) )

3. Next we arrived in Belém. Honestly, we saw what looked like castles in the distance and just started walking. I think this made the journey more fun and added adventure. Along the way we stopped at a couple shops where I learned it's better to bargain. I got ripped off because I bought a shirt for 12 euros and the next day I found the same one in a smaller shop for only 8 euros. If you ask me, I'd wait to buy gifts or souvenirs. I promise you will find it again, probably cheaper the closer you get to your destination. If not, you can always go back. Moving on, we finally reached the massive church we saw in the distance, Túmulo de Luís de Camões (Tomb of Luís de Camões), where the line was incredibly long. However, a man selling sunglasses approached us and let us know that the Paróquia Santa Maria de Belém (Saint Mary of Bethlehem's Church) was free and the line we were standing in was going to cost us 12 euros! I thought that was very nice of him to let us know. So far, we've all been treated very well by the people of Lisbon. After we walked through the church we ventured across the street to see Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument of the Discoveries). It is a monument on the northern bank of the Tagus River estuary.
Finally, on the walk from the monument to the Torre de Belém I got conned! A women was trying to sell jewelry and threw the bracelet into my hands. At that point I admired her persistence and talked her down to 2 euros instead of her original price of 5 euros.
Túmulo de Luís de Camões (Tomb of Luís de Camões)

Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument of the Discoveries)

Torre de Belém

4. We finally made it back to Lisbon and had a couple of hours before our next adventure. In the center of everything was the cutest beer garden. We got to get out of the sun and enjoy our first local draft beer in Portugal. I am not a beer drinker and never have been, but because it was so cheap compared to a mixed drink, it was really easy to take a liking to it. 

5. Pena Palace in Sintra, Portugal. What a site to see! The palace is located on top of the Sintra Mountains and is known as one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal. From the top we could even see Cristo Rei, the Christ Statue of Lisbon. Our guide, Alex, was very knowledgeable and made the trip interesting and all the more fun. We booked him through AirBnB Experiences which I highly recommend. However, if you're on a budget, there are many other cheaper options to tour and learn a lot about the city. (I'll get into those in another post.) It cost 7.50 euros to tour the outside and 15 euros to tour the inside. Unfortunately, we only did the outside, but for the amount of time we had, there was plenty to see. Maybe give yourself the whole day if you want to tour both.

6. The trek to our apartment was by far the worst walk of the entire trip. We probably walked uphill for 45 minutes. At one point we thought lets just rip it off like a band-aide and jog the rest of the hill. Surprise! The hill turned and kept going! It was rough but, to me, that's what makes a trip memorable. I love it when things are great, but I also love being faced with challenges and overcoming them. Especially when you get to share that with people you care about.

June 18, 2018

I only made it through 2 days. Our entire trip non-stop. We would wake up at about 9 a.m., explore until 10 p.m., and then we wouldn't make it to bed until 1 a.m. some nights. It was VERY hard to keep posting. It might have been easier if I had taken a laptop so I could type. Lesson learned, next time I will be prepared! 

Thank you for tuning in! 

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Europe 2018 - Part 2 - New York

Hello again! Welcome back. I hope you are all well and ready for another blast from the past. :) Europe part 2. First time flying and New York!

Howdy! Today Is the day!

May 29, 2018

Truthfully, 2 days ago was the day. It was hard to find time to write when trying to fit in 2 flights and a trip to Times Square in one day! So it's the next day and here's the what you should know about my first flight and trip to New York. 

1. God did not give me wings but I still found myself above the clouds.

I always used to tell people I didn't want to fly. I would quote my dad and say "If God wanted me to fly, he would have given me wings." That was before I realized there was a world of wonders outside of Texas. And the U.S. for that matter. -- We arrive at the airport and I'm still not nervous. In fact, I felt indifferent about it. My friend checked me in, thank goodness. I would have been absolutely lost walking in by myself. It was Spirit Airlines so you just walk up to the kiosk and print your ticket. Then head to the checked baggage line for a large bag or straight to TSA if you only have a carry on and personal item. The check baggage line was incredibly long and nerve racking but luckily I have a carry on luggage and was able to go straight to security. Did you know you have to take your shoes off going through security? (Now I know this is only at some airports. This was at IAH in Houston) Seems like a given right? I had no idea! After that, you find your gate and wait to board. It seems pretty simple but sometimes certain lines can take a long time and be very stressful. That's why it's a good idea to get to the airport at least 2 hours if not 3 hours early. You never know what can happen. My friends both had a large luggage and had to wait in a huge line only to get sent to another and then another before they finally got their bags checked. They almost missed the flight because of all the confusion, but fortunately they made it just in time. After boarding the plane I found myself lost in awe while looking out the window. I thought to myself, "I'm on a plane, heading to New York." Something I thought I'd never be doing, not for a long time a least. I couldn't have been happier than I was in that moment. Something about finally doing what I've wanted to for so long was exhilarating and refreshing and also a bit freeing. I was free from the chains and limits that I had given myself. And to top it all off the wing of the plane had 'Howdy' written on it. I found this extremely comforting because I use this phrase at work almost every day to welcome coworkers in. But today I was the one being welcomed! 


There is nothing worse than thinking you have everything paid for just to get get to the airport and find out that your luggage is not included with your ticket. My bag was not included, therefore it was an extra 55 dollars at the kiosk to take it as a carry on.

3. New York takes more than an hour to experience BUT, just an hour can still be a blast.

 First, we ate at a nice Ecuadorian restaurant and then made our way to Times Square. After snapping a few quick photos we stumbled across a street artist who drew us in about 15 minutes. Then we ran back to the rest of the group and packed up to go to the airport again! Unfortunately, I don't know my way around New York but there were a lot of really interesting and beautiful buildings. Can't wait to go back and spend more time there! Til' next time New York! (Little did I know I would be back only a year later!)