Greetings from Lisbon! The decision to cut our trip a week short in Madrid has turned out to be a good one thus far. We had originally planned on staying in the same place in Madrid for 2 weeks straight, which would’ve been great for the kids/not traveling, but we found that Madrid was a bit too big for our liking.
We absolutely loved much of what we saw and experienced there, but some aspects of ‘The Big City” weren’t exactly what we had in mind. Going forward from here we’ll be staying at smaller cities (less than 1 Million people), which I think is a good combination of size, things to do, but also manageable and discoverable in a week or two.
That’s all part of the experience though, right? Try a bunch of stuff out and see what works best. We really enjoyed the culture, food, and people we met, but wanted a bit of a change of pace at the same time. So we were able to reschedule a few things and come over to Portugal for about a week instead. We arrived in Lisbon on Wednesday morning and have an absolutely fantastic flat right in the middle of the city and it’s just gorgeous.
The city itself is much different than Madrid. The obvious difference being that it’s on the coast so the weather is super mild. Our apartment has neither heating or air conditioning. Not even San Diego was that confident about their weather as to forego any sort of climate control. Yes I’m dorking out but it’s really pretty awesome.
Portuguese has proven pretty difficult to get, as a decent Spanish speaker, but we’re able to get around mostly on English here, which is a nice benefit for everyone really. My Spanish did come in handy in Spain (captain obvious here) and it was nice to be able to talk with the locals and work out a few things that just wouldn’t have been possible in English.
We went to the Oceanarium Lisboa yesterday and it was amazing. It’s about twice the size of the aquarium we had in New Orleans, and was set out in the water like a little oil rig looking platform. Very cool. With the kids being so into Octonauts these days it was cool for them to be able to see a lot of those things up close and personal. Esther even wanted to bring her book to look up some of the things we saw. Very cute.
Today we’re off to a do a boat tour of the the harbor and some of the sights up the coast. Kind of a splurge but surprisingly Lisbon is one of the only European cities that actually faces the Atlantic ocean, so we figured we’d capitalize on this opportunity while we’re here.
After the weekend here in Lisbon we’re heading up to Porto (about 2 hours train ride to the north) for a few days then on to Santiago de Compostela for a week. Erin says that Galicia (the Northwest Provence of Spain) is one of the most beautiful places she’s ever been, so we’re both super excited to experience it. Looks on paper like Ireland but warmer…a wonderful combination.