Books are cool. Really old libraries are even better!

This is a really quick note before I head to Barcelona.  I just had to share the awesomeness that was the library I visited today! It was three stories with over 200 000 volumes.  The walls are ridiculously thick and the door is specially made to keep the temperature inside within a certain range.  The shelves are oak to discourage insects and they keep bats in the attic to eat any insects that do make it into the library.  The ceiling is covered in murals like you would find in a church or a palace and there is ornate hand paintings all over the walls and the balconies and such. I wish I could show you picture but I wasn’t allowed to take any.  And the best part of this was that it was all done in the 1700.  So Cool! This library was the best thing I’ve seen so far I think.  That’s a bold statement but I’m making it.  Words can’t describe the wonder that was this place.  I’m gushing, I know, deal with it.

I leave Portugal tonight.  It is sad.  This place has turned out to completely live up to my expectations (which were really high) and I think if the weather had been better I would not want to leave. But I’m really hoping to find a place where it isn’t raining.  One thing I will not miss is the smell of salted fish.  It is everywhere! There are fish stands all over the place and I can’t seem to get away from the smell.  Terrible, but everything else was great and I suggest you all go to Portugal!

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April 18, 2008. Portugal. 1 comment.

Lagos to Coimbra – adventures in traveling

Today two things of real note happened to me: one brilliant and the other, well, if I don´t have food poisoning tomorrow then it will have worked out okay.  First off, if anyone looked up where Coimbra was and discovered it was in Central Portugal, or better yet just knew where it was, you get 10 pts in my new travel adventure game.  Second, if you had to look up where Portugal was, you lose 20 points.

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April 16, 2008. Portugal. 2 comments.

The Algarve – enough sunshine to burn my nose

The last two days have been spent in Lagos, Southern Portugal.  For the first time since I started traveling I have finally experienced warm weather, warm enough that it was comfortable beach weather. 

Lagos is this wonderful little tourist town where almost everyone speaks both Portuguese and English, at least all those I’ve run into.  There are cafes, restaurants, and souvenir shops on every corner.  There is lots to do here but it is more activities than traditional tourist sites like museums and cultural sights.  I advoided them all the whole time I was here.

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April 15, 2008. Portugal. Leave a comment.

Springtime in Lisbon

Portugal has been my travel obsession since about grade 8, some of you know this, most of you don´t.  On Friday I started my wondrous journey to my much anticipated land.  Taking the `Hotel´ train from Madrid to Lisbon, I expected to share a compartment with beds with several other people.  Boy was I wrong, I had a ´reclining´ chair in a section of the train. Let me say right now that the only reason I slept at all was because I brought my sleeping bag with me.  It is my new best friend.  I felt terrible for the people who had to use their clothes because the seating was so uncomfortable.

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April 13, 2008. Portugal. 1 comment.