Bookshops, Raindrops, and Roosters

The dh and I recently had a chance to take a trip that ordinarily wouldn’t have occurred to us.  He was attending a conference in Lisbon, Portugal, and an unusual set of circumstances made it possible for me to go along very affordably.  Considering that I’m an Anglophile and he’s a children’s lit professor, Lisbon wouldn’t normally have been on our radar.  But it is a very old city, and we all know I love those.  And of course, there was his conference.

Neither of us speaks Portuguese, which was a source of some anxiety.  At least the euro operates on a decimal system.  And many–though not all, by any means–Lisboans speak English.  Figuring such a chance might never come again, we took the plunge. 

IMG_0448We had a great five days despite very uncooperative weather.  We saw a 19th-century royal palace, Pena, on a mountaintop above Sintra, a town that’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  We also visited a beautiful little harbor town called Cascais (pronounced Kahsh-KAI-ees), and, of course, various historical sights around Lisbon.

The photo above was taken by one of our traveling companions, Dr. John Lenz, on an earlier and sunnier trip.  He was looking up at Pena National Palace from the town.  You can just see the palace walls atop the mountain.

Our first activity was a sightseeing tour.  Only a few people from the conference went along, so we had a small Mercedes bus with plenty of room for us and our guide, Paula, from the National Institute of Culture.  Sintra was our first stop.  I’m a sucker for castles and palaces, and the ever-reliable Rick Steves allowed, in his guide to Portugal, as how there were very atmospheric Moorish ruins and great views of both Lisbon and the Atlantic Ocean from the mountain where the palace sits.  We were pumped.

Lis_SintraSo was the big rain machine in the sky. *sigh*  

It didn’t just rain on us.  Oh, no, it poured on us.  I had checked the forecast and packed a slicker, but of course all that does is make the rain sheet off of your body…and onto your jeans.  And wet denim is not, let us say, a giving fabric.  This is how the town looked the day we were there.  It’s incredibly picturesque, even in the rain, but I could only take photos when standing in covered areas.

Still, the palace was amazing.  The rooms were very small but beautifully decorated with what turned out to be ornate patterns of stucco.  Our guide said it had to be redone every few years because the humidity destroys the surface and the supporting wood.  Flash photography wasn’t permitted, but here’s a link (with Google translation) to the palace website.

IMG_0482And here’s one of John Lenz’s earlier photos showing the palace exterior.  As you can see from contrasting this shot with the one above, the weather can change quickly.

We didn’t get to see the Moorish ruins farther down the mountainside because, hey, pouring rain!

The rain made taking good photos a challenge, but we saw some interesting sights.  We learned that an earthquake, followed by fires and a tsunami, destroyed much of Lisbon in 1755.  So there’s very little really old architecture.

Lis_DaGamaOne structure that survived the cataclysm was the combined monastery and cathedral of St. Geronimo (St. Jerome) in Belem.  The monastery is a museum now, but the cathedral still holds services.  It’s the resting place of Luis Vas de Camoes, the writer who is Portugal’s equivalent of Shakespeare, and explorer Vasco da Gama, the first person to sail directly from Europe to India.  Here’s my photo of da Gama’s tomb.

Lis_Belem_SeaplaneThe other fascinating sights from the history geek perspective were a tower that was one of two built to defend the mouth of the Tegus River at Belem, a big, contemporary monument to Prince Henry the Navigator (with a big plaza in front of it showing all the places Portuguese were the first Europeans to reach), and a seaplane flown across the South Atlantic by Portuguese aviators in 1922.  (Charles Lindbergh’s flight not until 1927.)

Despite getting pretty well soaked some of the time and dealing with persistent drizzle the rest of the time, we found the trip very interesting.  Our guide, Paula, was not only well informed and friendly but passionate about her country’s arts and achievements.

In case you’re wondering whether I spent the whole trip geeking out, the answer is no.  I also shopped for books, an activity that could involve geeking out but only when I have a wide selection available in English.  I didn’t in Lisbon.

Lis_BertrandsOn Rick Steves’s recommendation, I set out the next day, while the dh was in his conference, to find Bertrand’s bookshop.  Established in 1732, it’s in the Guiness Book of World Records as the oldest continuously operating bookstore in the world.  Here’s a photo (slightly out of focus–sorry!) of their certification.  Naturally I was too spaced to take a picture of the actual storefront. *sigh*

Getting there was a bit of an adventure, most of it either uphill or downhill.  Here’s the thing about really old cities–they don’t sit on a grid.  I knew this, but I hadn’t thought to bring a map, not wanting to look like a tourist.  As a result, I ended up wandering a lot, probably looking bewildered.  You know–like a tourist!

I asked directions twice, once from someone who spoke a little English and once from someone who spoke none.  Neither attempt worked out well, foundering on the sandbar of the language barrier.  But I did eventually find it.  And Bertrand’s had an English section with some familiar titles in it.






Lis_StarbucksOf course, there was one other familiar sight.  As I walked down the hill from the bookshop toward the entrance to the multi-story shopping mall, this is what I saw. “Really?” I said.  “Seriously?”  I guess they’ve become ubiquitous.

While the mall has about six levels, it doesn’t have a large footprint.  There are maybe 4-6 fairly small shops per level, the exception being the big electronics store that has one end of its level.  It also has a bookshop in it, as I eventually discovered.  The bookshop is in the lower level of the electronics store.  That’s unique in my experience.  

Also unique in my experience was cinnamon gelato, which I had at a shop outside the mall.  The gelato is sold by the cup (or cone).  You buy the receptacle of the type and size you choose, and then the attendant puts as many flavors as you want in it.  Of course, the more flavors, the smaller the sample of each.  

After consultation with the attendant, I ended up having cinnamon and chocolate hazelnut.  YUMM!

I also bought a bottle of water but couldn’t open it.  Neither could the attendant.  She swapped it out, but neither of us could open the new one, either.  A woman about my age walked up to us, took the bottle, and handed it to the man with her, who cheerfully opened it.  Turns out she’s his mom, and he opens things for her all the time, information they conveyed via hand gestures and broken English that was still way better than my scant store of Portuguese (Obrigada for thank you, bon dia for good day, both acquired after arriving in Lisbon.  That’s it.)

Here’s the gelato display (the cinnamon, obviously very popular, is top right in the photo), with a shot of the shop exterior below it.






Lis_Hills1As I mentioned above, Lisbon is a very hilly city.  There’s a central area that’s flat but surrounded by hills, some of them quite steep.  A pedestrian mall, the Rua da Augusta, runs through that level part.  I walked along it on the one sunny day and could see hills in the gaps between the buildings.  Here’s a view of the castle, the Castelo de Sao Jorge (St. George), from the Rua da Augusta.

The people were very friendly, and a man selling ice cream out of the front window of his restaurant took the time to help me pronounce the dulce et leche I was buying.

Lis_RoosterShopHere’s the biggest surprise I found on the mall.  I’d learned (again via Rick Steves) that roosters are popular in Portugal.  They certainly decorate numerous forms of memorabilia.  But I didn’t expect to find one as the symbol of a tobacco shop.

You can click on the photo (on any of them in the post, actually) for a closer look.

The GR has been totally insufferable since he saw this photo.  Honestly, you’d think he’d posed for the sign!

Anyway, roosters are also one of Portugal’s national symbols (and didn’t the conceited bird love that!).  Legend has it that a man protesting his innocence on the way to the gallows pointed at a dead rooster and said his innocence was so certain that the rooster would cry if he were hanged.  And it did.  He was rescued from the gallows in the nick of time.

Spotting the rooster was cool, but seeing the peacocks at the castle was even cooler.  Although the view from up there was incredible, it doesn’t really show up in the photos.  It’s hard to tell how much of the castle is original and how much is a reconstruction.  The guide book is very vague on this point.  The site now holds ruins, a new museum built with old stone, the castle, and a snack bar, but it has been a castle, a royal palace, and a military installation.

Lis_Peacock1The museum was interesting and traces the history of the castle and of Lisbon from the Iron Age to the present day.  But our most memorable sight at the castle was the family of peacocks who reside there (Technically, a group of peacocks is an ostentation.  Seriously.  I looked it up.  And isn’t that just perfect?).  They have no fear of people and boldly go from table to table outside the snack bar begging food.  

The peacock himself is tall enough to nip food off of plates on the tables.  I saw him do it but couldn’t get a photo.

I’d never seen a peacock with white feathers on its body before, but of course I’d also never seen a Portuguese peacock before.  There were also several peahens haunting the patio tables.  Eating in front of them was much like eating in front of Herself here at home.

Lis_PeahenHere’s one of the two that hopped up on the wall by our table and stared at us.  I could hear her thought-beaming, as Herself does, You should give me something.  I know you have something.  If you don’t, you could get something.  You should do that. And give it to me.

Yeah.  That was so not happening.  The little custard tarts they serve in the city are amazing–flaky crust and rich, creamy-eggy filling.  Having paid for mine, I figured I had first dibs.  I did save two small bits of crust and toss them to the birds as we left.  Giving them anything any sooner would, we figured, just make them more annoying.

Lis_WavyTilesThe last thing I want to share with you is my amazement over the street tiles.  The sidewalks aren’t cement or even flagstone.  They’re tile.  The exterior walls of many buildings are tiled, too, as a defense against the humidity.  These are two of my favorite sidewalk patterns.  

Do you see the optical illusion in the pattern at left?  I had to not look at the ground ahead while walking on it because it made me feel as though it were undulating.

Lis_Tiles2And then there’s this one, which is my favorite.  I saw some patterns repeated in many of the sidewalks, but this jug only turned up once, on a sidewalk near our hotel.

This is only a tiny fraction of the photos I took, but I wanted to share the highlights, not prattle on until you ran screaming from your computer chair.  I’ll have more on my website by the end of the year for those who’re interested.

Thank you to John Lenz for sharing his photos.

I brought back a package of rooster-themed booty from Portugal.  There’s a set of rooster magnets, a small yellow (golden) rooster, a rooster bookmark and notepad, a Pena National Palace magnet and bookmark, and a bookmark of the Castelo de Sao Jorge.  So tell me–have you ever had cinnamon gelato?  Did you like it?  Have you been stared at while eating by a bird or other creature with an exaggerated sense of entitlement?




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  • ki pha says:

    LOL Golden Rooster must be ecstatic about those rooster treasures~

    • Ki Pha, he has decided he totally approves of Portugal. Looks like he’s coming to see you today. Congrats! I suggest putting him to work so he doesn’t get into trouble.

  • Jane says:

    Hello Nancy,
    I haven’t tried cinnamon gelato. I’ve passed by a gelato stand in Little Italy and I’m always tempted to get some. I would love to visit Portugal someday.

    • Jane, I recommend the cinnamon. I’d never seen it before, but gelato stands aren’t exactly common around here.

      I would love to go back to Portugal someday, hoping for nice weather. The countryside is beautiful, and we barely scratched the surface of Lisbon. Although there are many museums, we saw only one, the Museum of Portuguese Decorative Arts, near the castle.

  • flchen1 says:

    Wow, Nancy! Thank you for sharing a peek at your trip with us! I love hearing about your experience–there’s nothing like that excitement, anticipation, and nervousness about a new place, especially one where you don’t speak the language. It’s so wonderful to explore for the first time, even when you’re following the recommendations of someone who’s gone before. And so glad you were able to make your way, and discovers some kind people there who made that visit pleasant and the world a slightly smaller place 🙂

    • Thanks, Fedora. We were a bit nervous about the language thing, but it worked out fine. One of the joys was that, having few expectations, we stumbled across so many appealing things.

      The conference the dh attended was very small, about a couple of dozen people, some of whom had brought relatives or spouses. Everyone ate dinner together at night, and one evening’s meal was at a little place that looked like a hole in the wall, but it had these gorgeous, obvious very old tile murals on its walls. I longed to take a photo but refrained because firing the flash in the eyes of other diners seemed rude.

      At dinner that night, there was a professor from Oxford on my right, one from Portugal with her spouse across from the Oxford prof, a Belgian professor from Cambridge across from me, and one from Spain with his wife across from the dh. On the Oxford professor’s other side was a Frenchman. The three of us discovered that all of our fathers had been POWs during World War II, theirs in Europe and mine in the Pacific. That evening brought home to me how insular we Americans are, how seldom we mingle with people who are, as we say in the South, “not from around here.” Listening to them talk about world events and their countries’ approaches to education was fascinating.

      I saw only one rude, obnoxious American on the trip, a woman in the coffee shop at the palace, where we’d taken refuge from the rain while waiting for our bus to leave. Another bus had broken down on the one-way road down the mountain, and everyone was blocked in until it could be moved. Yeah, it was raining, but everyone in there was wet and disappointed. Snapping at the clerk and interrupting her while she talked to someone else wasn’t going to make any of that better.

      Anyway, the tiling on the buildings was a big surprise and rates right up there with the mosaic sidewalks on my list of Cool Portuguese Things.

  • Helen says:


    Thank you so much for sharing your trip with us amazing pictures it must have been fantastic and I can imagine what the GR is like at the moment LOL

    I have never tried cinnamon gelato but I do enjoy it especially the lemon one 🙂

    Have Fun

    • Thanks, Helen. I like lemon gelato, too.

      Yeah, the rooster is strutting around the Lair and preening and crowing. We’re glad to shuffle him off to Ki Pha’s for a while.

  • Nancy –

    What a fascinating post! I love your photos, even the rain-dimmed ones. Love, love, love the peacocks. I think I’ll have to put Lisbon on the bucket list 🙂 How fortunate the two of you were to have this opportunity.

    Haven’t had cinnamon gelato, but I’ve had cinnamon ice cream – does that count? RIght now, we’re loving Sea Salt Caramel gelato which Wall Street Journal calls the new vanilla. It’s really good, the caramel doesn’t get lost tthe way it does with ice cream.

    Yes – Have had birds and cats watch me eat with a combination of arrogance and pleading in their demeanor. Loved the shots of the pavement. I was just thinking I wouldn’t be able to walk on that one pattern when you said the same thing 🙂

    Thanks so much for sharing this with us.

    • Thanks, Donna. Of course I thought of you when I saw the peacocks. There were a couple of little ones running around, but not in the cafe area. They may still be shy around people.

      Sea Salt Caramel Gelato sounds fabulous. I’ll have to see if it’s available around here.

      Yes, I think you should put Lisbon on your bucket list.

      • Nancy –
        I knew there was a linen manufacturer/distributor named Peacock Alley. What I discovered today is that they’re from Portugal. LOL – It all makes sense.

  • Quantum says:

    Sorry you got wet Nancy!

    Though it’s good to hear confirmation that England doesn’t have a monopoly on wet weather! LOL

    I used to combine conference trips (physics) with holiday and always enjoyed eating outside when in hot countries. The practice is becoming more widespread here in England now.

    There are usually finches hopping around looking for crumbs but I particularly remember my last visit to Stonehenge. While sitting outside eating a sandwich, a large evil looking crow perched on the wall a few feet behind and above me, eyeing the sandwich.

    An American visitor took a picture, asking me afterwards if I minded. No idea why it picked me from perhaps a dozen other visitors, though I had been doing a spot of pendulum dowsing so perhaps my aura was more visible to the bird!

    I hope you found copies of yor books in those bookshops!

    I have just finished ‘Renegade’ and was most impressed …. 5stars from me!

    • Quantum, thanks for the kind words about Renegade. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

      Alas, no, I didn’t see it in either bookstore. But their English language sections were, naturally, not very big.

      No, England definitely doesn’t have a monopoly on wet weather! The two days after the rainy sightseeing trip were marked by periodic drizzle and rain. I tried to keep a wary eye on the sky when I ventured out.

      Something like being singled out by that crow would be more unnerving than the peahens staring. Maybe it was an aura thing, as you say.

  • Maureen says:

    It sounds like a lovely trip. It’s too bad about the rain. I have never had a cinnamon gelato but we do have two cats who stare at you when you are eating anything but I am immune to them.

  • Mozette says:

    What a great trip! Never worry about the weather, it’s usually what makes the trip exciting… I remember when I went to Cambridge in 1997, I initially went to sign a book for Lady Diana in condolence of her death… after I waited 2 hours in line, I spent 45 minutes carefully writing down what I wanted to. Then, once outside, Mother Nature poured down on us for the rest of the day. A lot of shop keepers didn’t appreciate me waiting for the showers to pass in their doorways… they’d open their doors and tell me off. Weird people. So, I went inside the stores and looked around to wait for the rain to pass. And while there, they’d follow me around … I didn’t buy anything so they told me to buy something to bugger off. I told them it was raining. They said: ‘So what! Buy something or get out!’ So I left.

    I found myself at the Round Church… they didn’t mind me waiting there. Such nice people. But the place didn’t have a toilet – what church doesn’t have a toilet???

    But that’s another story for another time… 😀

    As for animals who watch with an air of entitlement… my budgie used to watch me closely when I ate dessert of dark chocolate… and want some. Of course I said no as it would have killed her. But she was always thinking she was human. 🙂

    And at this time of year, I’m really missing her now.

    • Thank you, Mozette. I’m sorry you lost your budgie. We still miss something unique about each of our dogs who’ve passed away.

      That’s weird about the rain in Cambridge. I didn’t realize there were remembrance books in places outside London for people to sign when the princess died.

  • Deb says:

    Nancy, what a neat post today! Thank you for sharing your insights and your observances. Those tiled streets are amazing! Did you feel dizzy walking on the one that looked like it was undulating waves?
    I’ve never had gelato, period. I did have a delicious ice cream bar at the Queen’s Summer Palace in Denmark. There was a little ice cream vendor outside the gates and I chose to have a raspberry-filled-vanilla-fudge covered ice cream bar. YUM!
    When I was in California, my cousin Dorothy took me to lunch and we ate out on a pier and sea gulls were flying and landing everywhere. Those things are huge! One landed on the railing not too far from us, then proceeded to hop closer, sideways. Dorothy (age 80), just raised her arm, flapped it, and said, “Shoo, you nasty pest!” 🙂

    • Deb, thanks! That ice cream bar sounds wonderful! I’d love to go to Denmark (and Sweden and Norway) someday. The dh would like Denmark in particular because of Hans Christian Andersen.

      I’ve heard seagulls can be very aggressive. I saw Rachael Ray doing a segment on a beach once, and seagulls tried to take her food.

  • Shannon says:

    Sorry about the rain. Conference trips are often off-season so you don’t get the beautiful tourist weather.

    At home, we have a new gelato place. Now I know I have to check it out, and what to order.

    Here at my Mom’s, Babe her Australian shepherd, likes bites. When I’m in the kitchen, she is there. Of course, what is acceptable depends on Mom’s memory–raw chicken is a no-no, raw roast beef is okay. According to Babe, the best is cookies. I made chewy ginger cookies; under the cooling rack was broken cookie pieces; I tried to put them into a cleaning cloth but some dropped on the floor. Babe was in heaven, licking up every last morsel. At the end, she looked up at me to say, so where’s more? Our neighbor’s taco soup (delicious) was not a hit with Babe. Conversely, the Persian Chicken was.

    • Shannon, I know what you mean about the off season. The dh once went to a conference in Chicago between Christmas and New Years. The snow came in horizontally, he said. And of course RWA often meets where it’s hot and muggy in the summer.

      That’s great about Babe and the cookies. I can just see that.

  • Joan Kayse says:

    Nancy…peacock psychic 😀

    Amazing run down of your trip! So much history!

    And yeah, back to the peacocks. I know how little sparrows can overrun an outdoor eating venue. But a flock of peacocks??? It’s war!

    • Joanie thanks! Yes, the peacocks wandering around seemed a bit surreal. When we walked up to the patio, one table, which had not been cleared by its prior occupants, had pigeons perched on trays and peacocks watching.

  • Love the details of your trip, Nancy. What fun. I’ve not had cinnamon gelato and don’t think I’d be partial to it. I have, however, eaten with birds watching — ducks at picnic areas on several occasions and birds (don’t remember what kind) while eating on the Riverwalk in San Antonio.

    • Trish, thanks! Cinnamon gelato does sound weird, but I figured I might as well try something new. And I do like cinnamon flavor, which helps.

      The squirrels at the NC old capital building also tend to be very assertive. I think when birds and animals get used to being fed by people, they can get pretty bold about it.

      But I still don’t understand why people feel they need to feed alligators.

  • Anna Sugden says:

    Loved the details of your trip to Portugal – it’s one of the places I’ve never been to, but hope to visit sometime. I’ve never had cinnamon gelato, but having had many fabulous gelatoes/gelati(?) in Florence, I’m sure it was delicious.

    Ah yes, the mournful eyes and guilt-inducing thought waves. Definitely get that from one of our cats – CC. She’s also quite good at the sneak paw attack!

  • John Lenz says:

    I miss Portugal! Thanks, Nancy. “dh” — hmmm, that’s not the same as in baseball. dh? some kind of husband: darling, dashing, doctor, devilish, damned?!

    • Hi, John–

      Thanks again for the use of your photos! And you’re right, dh has nothing to do with baseball and all to do with spouses. Any of those adjectives would do. 🙂

      I’m glad you liked the post.

    • Becke Turner says:

      Loved the speculation. I suppose the “d” could vary depending on the wife! However, with mine and I’m sure with Nancy’s, it would be dear husband!

  • catslady says:

    I loved your pics and the stories behind them. It’s been a long while since I’ve traveled like that so enjoying other’s trips is always enjoyable. No peacocks but dogs and many, many cats and one particular raccoon that sound just like the peacock that was talking to you lol.

    • Catslady, I’m glad you enjoyed it. I haven’t taken a trip like this in a long time, either. We enjoyed seeing new things, and the city is different enough from anything here that we never took it for granted.

      A raccoon? Really? That’s cool.

  • Sandyg265 says:

    I’ve had gelato but not cinnamon.

  • Nancy, what a great roundup of your trip. Thanks so much for sharing everything. As you know, I was green with envy. I’ve always wanted to go to Portugal ever since as a young teenager I read a book about a family in the port trade with England. It was a romance nach. I’ve been to Spain but we didn’t get over to that side of the Iberian peninsula. Instead we did the Mediterranean coast, a lot of which is revoltingly overdeveloped and turned into resorts for English people. Don’t get me wrong, I love English people but they don’t show at their best in Marbella! Love that our rooster featured so strongly everywhere. And I can just hear that peacock’s thoughts in that photo!

    • Anna, thanks! Some friends of ours who had been to Lisbon raved about it when they learned we were going. I’ve always been curious about Spain but have never been. Maybe someday!

  • Connie Fischer says:

    I’m so glad to hear you had such a great time in Portugal. We have also visited that beautiful country and were amazed at the gorgeous sites. The food was delicious too. While I have never tried cinnamon gelato, I have tried garlic ice cream and it was scrumptious. I’m betting the cinnamon gelato is too!

  • Becke Turner says:

    Looks like great fun in spite of the weather. The waves in the pavement must be a real challenge after a night on the town!

    I love mosaic on buildings. Flanner tower @ Notre Dame has a mosaic of Jesus, I believe. Can’t remember the number of floors, but it’s > than 10. That’s the only building I’ve seen like that. However, I’ve never been across the pond. Sounds fabulous.

    Yes to cinnamon gelato-one of my favs along with coconut. Yummy! To be honest I haven’t had a flavor of gelato that I don’t like except for coffee. I’m not a fan of anything coffee flavored.

    I love to look at peacocks. However, they are very messy with the land mines.

    • Becke, I don’t even want to think about those waves would look to someone in an altered state of consciousness!

      That is one big mosaic at 10 stories. Wow.

      I didn’t think of peacock land mines. Yeah, I can see how that would be a problem.

      Coconut gelato, eh? Interesting. I think I could choke down most flavors of gelato, too. *g*

  • ellie says:

    I am captivated with your wonderful photos of this fascinating journey. I have had Gelato but not cinnamon flavor which sounds exciting.

  • diane says:

    My goodness, What a delightful and informative post today. Loved it greatly. Travel is always special and unforgettable. Cinnamon gelato would be a treat I would enjoy.

  • pearl says:

    Lucky you to have had this opportunity to explore this exceptional locale. Gelato is one of my favorite treats which I only do partake of when I travel which is rare indeed. Cinnamon Flavor is a new one which I would love to savor.

    • Pearl, this was an unusual opportunity, so we do feel very lucky. I don’t have gelato at home because there’s no place near me to buy it. And it’s somehow more appealing to walk into a shop and buy a serving than to get it out of the grocery freezer.

  • pjpuppymom says:

    Thanks for sharing your adventure with us, Nancy. So glad you had a good time, despite the weather. Maybe one of these days you’ll have the opportunity to see it in the sunlight.

    I haven’t tried cinnamon gelato but I’m sure I’d probably like it. I love cinnamon and adore gelato so that’s a good mix, right? The Pioneer Woman has a recipe for homemade cinnamon ice cream that looks really good. I may have to give that a try. 🙂

  • Cassondra says:

    Hi Nancy!

    Great blog! Loved seeing those photos of Portugal. And the peacocks are very cool, though I am guessing they are kind of annoying.

    Yes, I have been stared at while eating. It happens almost every time I eat at home. All I have to do is get the cheese out of the refrigerator and begin to unwrap it. Now let me say that I do not believe that the smell of cheese travels quite that fast, but before I even get the wrapper OPEN, three or four cats are sitting at my feet looking up at me like, “You love me don’t you? You could prove it by giving me some of that cheese.”

    Ahem. There are actually solid white peacocks, and they’re gorgeous. However I still like the blue and green ones best.

    I”m sorry it poured rain the entire time, but so glad you had an interesting trip anyhow!

    • Thanks, Cassondra. The peacocks were only moderately annoying since they did keep their distance.

      I think animals can teleport. We used to have a golden retriever/Irish setter mix I would’ve sworn was psychic about the cookie box. It takes less than a second to pop the first catch on store-bought chocolate chip cookies, but by the time any of us put a hand on the second catch, she’d be standing in the kitchen doorway, glaring at us.

  • bn100 says:

    No, I haven’t, but sounds tasty

  • Cassondra says:

    Oh I meant to say…that sidewalk is FREAKY!

    When I looked at the picture, I thought, “that plaza has humps in it!”

    It’s really beautiful, but I think I’d have to not look at the ground or I’d fall down!

  • Nancy, what a fun post! Love all the pictures and like you I’d have had to close my eyes on that undulating sidewalk or look at the sky!!

    I’ve always been a bit curious about Lisbon. I think it stems from WWII and it being the last place people fled to to try and escape the Axis powers taking over Europe.

    • Suz, there are some wonderful walking tours of Lisbon, including one about espionage during WWII. But I didn’t want to do a walking tour in the rain, so I didn’t risk it. If we get back there, I want to do the one about the history of the city and the espionage one.

      Yes, that sidewalk can be difficult to take.

  • Wonderful photographs, Nancy! And a fabulous commentary on Lisbon. Thanks so much for sharing your adventure with us. 🙂

    I love gelato! (Is this a surprise?? LOL) Our current favorite brand is Talenti and my fave flavors are Caramel Sea Salt and Mediterranean Mint. Both yummy!!

    • Thanks, Kate! Both those flavors sound great. I think Donna was talking about Sea Salt Caramel earlier. I like mint chocolate chip, so Mediterranean Mint would probably be yummy to me, too.

  • Thanks for joining me today, everyone! I’ll post Cathy Spangler’s winner from last week on Wednesday night (tomorrow) and mine over the weekend.