05 July 2009

Moroccan Food



We came, we saw, we ate and we were full. Of the numerous amazing things to see and do in Morocco, the food is near the top. That's not saying there isn't that much to see or do, but rather how good the food is.

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Catching Up

Photo catch up time!

06-29, Fes Day 1



06-30, Fes Day 2



07-01, Fes Day 3



07-02, In Transit

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Anar al llit a Barcelona, Acorda-se em Lisboa

Last we left off Kristen and I were set off and running here in Lisbon. By the time we got settled into our room and recovered (i.e. showered the sweat from Barcelona off of us) it was about noon.

First destination, lunch. We took off in the general direction of the old town Alfama and stopped for lunch along the way. Typical of us we avoided anyplace that had an inkling of a tourist and ended up in some side shop where the owner and chef spoke no English. We were fortunately treated to a nice lunch of steak, eggs and fries. Not bad, cheap, tasty and filling. Exactly what I look for in a lunch.

Once finished we headed off to Alfama. This is one of the oldest districts in Lisbon and one of the most enjoyable. Similar to Fes, this district is an absolute maze with houses being used as walls. Much of the fun however is getting lost wandering up and down the streets. That’s where you get to see the real Lisbon. Old ladies leaning out their windows, men feeding stray cats only to chase them out later when the cats come in for more, basically people living their lives. We managed to get up to St. George’s Castle and wandered many streets before we decided to come home and relax. Along the way I found a popular dish which I plan on trying before I head out, sardines.

Once back at our place we did something that wasn’t terribly exciting. We rested.

After a few hours we took off again to get a typical dinner. For us on this trip a typical dinner is food from a grocery store. Tonight is was Portuguese sausage, cheese and salad, plus the usual potato chips, or Batatas as they’re called here.

With dinner finished we continued to relax. I decided to get fancy and go on the roof to get some picture of the sunset over the 25 de Abril Bridge. To get to the top of the roof I had to strafe along the outer edge of the building to get to the top. A little risky but it was nice watching the sun set in a large city with no one around.

All in all, Lisbon has been a great spot to be in. I’d like to see more of Portugal, but that will have to wait for another trip. The weather here is phenomenal and the food is very unique. Portugal is a little out of the way when compared to Paris or Munich but it should be a destination that isn’t skipped. Of course I shouldn’t be saying anything because the smaller amounts of tourist here is a good thing!

Addendum:

As stated earlier our Barcelona “pension” had a lot of rules. Here are some from the top of my head. Keep in mind any violation of these rules involved either a fine or getting kicked out on the street.

1. Check in at 4pm, check out at 10am
2. Wake up call at 9am
3. Shower from 8am to 11pm
4. Internet from 8am to 11pm
5. Do not try to fix the internet if broken
6. Do not plug anything into the computer
7. Shower for less than seven minutes
8. Clean the floor if you wash your feet
9. Turn off all lights
10. And so on…

Needless to say we were living on eggshells, which was probably against the rules.

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Growing up Gaudi

We woke up early at the pension, packed our bags and headed toward Barcelona’s main station to hideaway our bags so we could explore more freely. It took longer than expected, so it was about 10 by the time we grabbed some pastries at the station (sadly no churros con chocolate there!) and hopped on the metro.

First stop, Parc Guell! We walked around the park designed by Gaudi and walked around the outside of the Casa-Museu Gaudi. It was hard to take any good pictures near all the animals at the entrance as it was mobbed by the other tourists. So we spent most of our time in the upper areas of the park, sweating up a storm in the 97 degree weather. We hiked all the way to the view point at the Three Crosses of Calvary viewpoint for a fogged in view of the city.

Then it was back on the metro, to grab lunch at la Boqueria. We had wanted to get pictures with Juan at Pinotxo Bar, like Rick Steves recommends, but it was so crowded there we couldn’t get close. We walked around the market instead grabbing some jamon and fruit which we ate on our towels in the middle of La Rambla.

We then walked through Barri Gothic and saw the cathedral and then popped back on the metro. We got off at Pg. Garcia and visited Gaudi’s Casa Batillo (and by visit I mean viewed from the outside…not going to wait in line and THEN pay 16 euros!) We also peaked down the street to Fundacio Antoni Tapies to see the metal cloud structure on the roof. Then it was off to see more Gaudi…this time checking out La Pedera Espal Gaudi. Again more lines, more admission fees that we passed on. When you only have a day in the city and so much to see, you have to pick and choose wisely. We headed off toward Sagrada Familia making sure to stop and take some pictures of Casa Les Punxes in the process.

Sagrada Familia did not disappoint. This was our attraction that we decided early on that we were going to wait in line and pay for. We did have to pass on the elevator ride, couldn’t afford the hour long wait, but it did offer us more time to visit the museum downstairs with tons of information on the cathedral and lots of models of the structure. I won’t delve into how beautiful the church is, Charlton’s pictures will explain it a lot better than I can, but we definitely would love to go back when its finished if we are still up and kicking.

We were getting short on time, but we made a stop at the Arc de Triomf so Charlton could take the pictures he missed out on when we were walking to the hotel. Then it was back in the metro so we could collect our bags and catch the train to Madrid.

In Madrid, we had to connect to the station where our Trenhotel was leaving from. Gave us about 2 hours before we had to leave, Charlton went on an expedition to get some dinner from the grocery store and I watched over our bags at the station. We scarfed down our food in the waiting area and then with anticipation headed toward the train.

We had sprung for a double cabin as all the guidebooks say Spain can be sketchy for night train travel. We hoped that we would have a full bath with our bunk beds. But we only had a small sink *cue sad trombone* They did hook us up with free breakfast (eggs or fruit and your fill of pastries) and bottled water for the trip. We settled in for the night to awake in yet another new country.

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