I went to Europe last month. The most important reason was to be part of a dear friend’s wedding in Portugal; a secondary reason was to celebrate having passed my comprehensive exam by relaxing a bit before diving into the next phase of my Ph.D.  I decided to take pictures on a pocket digital camera instead of using my terrible phone camera, and I’ve just finished (mostly) sorting through and uploading pictures from my trip. 

Twenty-six days of travel cannot be easily compressed into a single post, however, so I’m going to dole this out in chunks* for the benefit of you, my reader. I’m also grouping pictures in galleries towards the end. 

*like pineapple. Get it? =D =D 

Chapter One: Loomings

I arrived in Lisbon on Tuesday night. The only pictures I took were terrible blurry ones of the coast of somewhere (England? France?) as we flew over. That night I had dinner at a little bistro just down the street (i.e. up the hill) from my bnb. I should mention that everything in Lisbon is either up or down a hill. There are no level places unless you’re walking along the ridge of a hill or down by the shore. 

But back to dinner: one advantage of traveling by yourself is that there is almost always room for you at a restaurant. I took a seat at a small table adjacent to another small table which was occupied by two guests who were about to leave. While I was ordering dinner, the nearby guests left; when my tuna steak arrived, two more guests were just sitting down and the man said to his friend “I’m having THAT” (as he points to my plate) “but with fries.” You can’t ask for a better conversational opening, so I got to chatting with Danny and his friend Ulla. Danny is a local surfer; Ulla was visiting from Finland. Her English wasn’t quite as good as Danny’s but anything was better than my non-existent Portugese, so we made do. Danny tried surfing in California once, but the burden of over-regulation really dampened his feelings towards CA. In Portugal, he said, if you want to camp on the beach, light a fire, have a drink with friends, you can. In California “they come DOWN on you! It is a police state!” Truly, there is no place like home.  

Chapter Two: Exploring the City

On my first full day in Lisbon (Wednesday) I wandered around the city a bit and visited a museum. It was a rainy blustery day, and I did not have cash in Euro which made for a bit of an adventure getting myself a) breakfast and b) an umbrella. I eventually did acquire both, though.

Anna Dean joined me that afternoon and we met Natalie (the bride), Pedro (the groom), Miss Susan (Natalie’s mom) and Natalie’s godparents for dinner at a Brazilian steakhouse. On Thursday, Anna and I slept in (#jetlag!) and then went exploring at some churches. Friday we explored a little more before hopping a bus out to the village where the wedding was being held.  

Here are people-pictures, because people are important. 

The Rubber Ducky Conspiracy

We could not figure out what was up with rubber ducks, but they also popped up again later in my travels!

Lisbon Streets and Architecture

Pictures from the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian

Calouste Gulbenkian was basically a Portugese oil baron who endowed a museum at his death. The foundation that runs the museum is also active in Iraq (because oil), so the museum has a large collection of middle-eastern items. 


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