All good things must come to an end

End of my exchange
Ok so I’m very sorry for this long pause. I was quite busy last days of my Erasmus exchange in Portugal. I had to arrange some papers about the whole experience, and then I had to pack my things and manage the whole weight problem with the luggage. You know, we had a 20kg weight limit for our flight, but luckily no weight limit for our hold baggage, so the heaviest things were in my hand luggage. But I still had a bit too much luggage and I figured that all of my shoes weight the most, so I made an extra package that I sent back home with some package service that had the best offer. So the heaviest things were in that extra package. I think that was a good idea and at the end it was much cheaper than it would as an extra luggage on an airplane.
Anyway, before I went back home I found some time for one day trip to Lisbon. I went by myself, but that was totally fine by me. I actually kind of liked being on my own for a day and just going around on my own. =) So I went to Gulbenkian Museum, because I really wanted to see it. I must say that first thing that surprised me was that the entrance fee for students is only 2€, which I think it’s really cheap. Well I must say I was quite impressed with the museum. It’s not that large that I thought it will be, but it was much different from what I’m used to see in museums usually. There weren’t many ancient Egyptian, Greek or Roman artifacts, but I was really positively surprised when I saw all ancient Turkish tiles, rugs and ceramics. I don’t think I’ve seen anything like that before. Also they have a really interesting and nice collection of ancient Chinese porcelain, that I’ve never saw before. Now I know why they say “China porcelain”. =) It’s really something totally unique and special, with so many details that I couldn’t believe my eyes. Also museum has some famous paintings and sculptures of artists like Rodin, Monet, Manet, Turner and so on. Well yes, I am a bit of art history fan, so that was a little bit like a theme park for me. =) Also they have a special room that is dedicated to an artist René Lalique and I must say that his works really impressed me. They are amazing and worth checking out for sure.
So yeah, after the museum I walked to city center and explored Lisbon a bit more. I was lucky that it was nice warm sunny day, so I passed some parks and enjoyed the day to the maximum. I realized that after few visits, I almost knew Lisbon and directions in which I was going, because every time that I was there I walked and didn’t use subway that much. So it was nice and I went up to Bairro Alto, because I didn’t explore it that much yet and I was impressed with the view that opens up there. You can see a large part of the city and on a sunny day that is really nice to see. =) Then my other mission in Lisbon were some shoes I found online and I knew there is a store in that has them. So I went there and yes, they had them, I tried them and they fit. So yes, I bought myself a pair of amazing new creepers. =)
Then I walked through the old part of the town a bit more, but before the sun went down I decided to go on a subway and I got to the bus station right about time when the sun already set. I wanted to avoid walking around Lisbon alone in the middle of the night, because a lot of people were saying it’s not safe and I must admit, sometimes I felt a bit weird even daytime. I think I stood out a bit and men there are often a bit offensive, because I heard some pretty weird words that were meant for me… I understood that much of Portuguese language… So yeah, I didn’t want to risk anything.
Yeah, my last days were quite busy. =) Also the day of the return Damir and I went together and first thing that happened was a funny thing, because we wanted to catch a bus from Caldas da Rainha to Lisbon and it was supposed to leave at 10:00 and we were there 15 minutes early, but the bus for Lisbon was already there. Then we realized it’s the bus that should leave the station 10 minutes ago. At the end we boarded the same bus and it left the station at 09:55, which means it was ok for us, but the truth is that should leave 20 minutes earlier. And I don’t know why it didn’t, because the only thing that kept them there was a driver that was standing outside and smoking his cigarette. Funny people these Portuguese… =)
On an airport they were much stricter when it came to the luggage and especially when it came to hand luggage. The size had to be totally right, so I had a bit of a problem because my bag was the right size, but I put so much stuff inside it got a bit too wide. =) Luckily Damir had some space in his baggage, so we solved the problem. =) Anyway, the trip home was a bit annoying, because on a bus to Lisbon the air was really bad and we felt a bit sick, then the bus to the airport was shaking and bouncing like crazy and at the airplane also wasn’t much better. It was smaller plane than the last time, so there was not much space for our legs. I’m a bit taller and so my knees were already touching the seat in front of me when I sat down. Also the air inside was awful and we had some problems with turbulence through the whole trip. Ok, turbulence doesn’t bother me much, but when you combine it with this small plane and bad air, it gets annoying.
Then we arrived to Venice… Well it was raining really hard there and it was much colder than I was used to. But the worst was yet to come, because in Slovenia it was snowing really hard and we had to drive carefully and slowly. There were signs all the way that truck drivers should get off the highway, but most of them ignored that and just kept on driving. So it was quite a mess on a road and these truck drivers are maniacs and they drive like crazy and fast and I felt uncomfortable because of it. One in front of us started to slide a bit from one side of the highway to another, but he managed to get a grip and everything was ok, but it could be a mess. So yeah, it was really tough day and I was very tired when I arrived home.
The next day at the evening I already got visitors – two of the Brazilian exchange students that went on a Euro-trip before they returned back home. So they stayed at my place for 3 nights and we had a lot of fun. Damir and I took them around Slovenia to show them some nice places. And they were lucky come this winter, because there is a lot of snow, so they were able to sledge for their first time, we had a snow fight, we made a snowman and we shoveled the snow in front of my house. So I’m really happy they came to visit before they went back to Brazil. I’ll miss them, but hopefully one day I’ll be able to visit them and I’ll see Brazil. =) Guys, if you’re reading this, you are awesome and I’m so lucky that I had a chance to meet you and host you at my place! =)
Anyway, now I’m at home, I’m almost used to life here now, though some things are still a bit weird to me. I mean, it is snow here! =) But well, for now I’m happy that I decided to return and stay at home, because now I can work on my diploma and there is so much going on now it’s just crazy! I just got a bit of rest, now I’m already running around and working like crazy, but I love it! I missed busy days in Portugal, so now here I have it! =) From now on I’ll see how many blog posts I will write. I’m sure it’s not going to be every day, but I’ll try to write as much as possible. Probably I’ll post them only when I’ll have some new photos to show. =)
Ok so this is it for now. I’m thankful for the whole student exchange experience, I’m glad I did it, I would do it again, but I had enough. =) Life is awesome, be happy and find something good in every bad thing! =)

My photos got some compliments (days 112-113)

Day 112, Wednesday, 09.01.2013
In the morning I wanted to go buy some groceries, but I started to chat with my brother and we were both so excited and hyped about bHIP business and how it’s starting to grow! So we made a group on Facebook and also an account on Pinterest, so you can check it out if you’re interested. But yeah, we are really full of energy just when we think about it!
Anyway, then one of my class mates started to chat with me and he had some problems with his homework. We realized that it would be too hard to do anything by internet, so we met at our apartment and I showed him how and what he was supposed to do in Photoshop. I guess he understood everything and now he was able to finish the homework for the class tomorrow.
After that I finally went out and walked to the supermarket. I didn’t buy any cookies, because I realized that lately I eat too many of them, so it’s better if I don’t even buy them. =) When I returned Gaja was already in the apartment and she just returned from Slovenia. So now there are three of us living in the apartment again. Well after we all said hello and everything we had to go to school because we had Portuguese language course. I guess slowly we’re making progress there, but I think we’re still quite far from making the whole sentences directly out of the head. We’re all at that point when we still need a dictionary most of the time. But at least we’re making some progress… =)

Day 113, Thursday, 10.01.2013
So I woke up, had my breakfast and again talked about bHIP with my brother. We’re just so excited about it! And also I had to edit some photos, so once again, computer was my friend.
In the afternoon Gaja and I had that Digital Photography class and it was the last time we had it, so we had to bring our final works. When we arrived we were told we have to print those photos, so we went to the printing room. It was a bit of a crowd there, because obviously everybody is printing photos at the end of the semester. But it was fun, because there were some more Erasmus students and we had some fun talking to each other. And that funny guy that works there helped us with printing again. He’s so great! He just kept on joking the whole time! =D
Anyway, when my photos were printed some of my class mates were really interested in them and everybody was asking me how I did that. It’s probably the first time that happened to me. Usually my photos are more ordinary, usual, nothing special, but these light-painting photos with ghost faces obviously got some attention. I posted them in my last blog post and I got some really nice positive feedback as well. So it looks like I really should continue with this and develop it a bit more. I was thinking about making more photos like that, but I just didn’t find the right places for what I want yet, but maybe in future. It’s nice to finally get more positive words about your work! Usually I feel a bit left out, because my photos never stand out. =)
Well, I got back home in a happy mood and since I wanted to continue with that mood I decided to watch some Friends episodes again. That is always fun. =) And now here I am, writing this blog post and trying to force myself into editing some more photos for the class tomorrow.
Oh and here are some photos of BERARDO MUSEUM of Modern and contemporary art. I think I kind of like them. =)

Lisbon architecture (day 107)

Day 107, Friday, 04.01.2013
I had my Friday morning class today. I left home with conscious decision that I’ll be a bit late and when I arrived at school I was actually right in time. All the students were already there and the class was just starting. Well to make a longer story short, I was assigned to help two students with some Photoshop work, but they don’t speak English well, or maybe they just don’t want to, so that was more or less useless. And so once again I was all bored while others were editing some photos. I knew I had to scan my film and turn it in digital format, so I waited for professor to tell me how to do it. After three hours I realized that it will take too much time before I get any attention, so I asked one of the class mates to help me with it, because he just started doing the same thing with his film. Well I did that and at the end I got some attention from professor and he’s actually really nice, but it seems it’s just too hard for him to work with Portuguese and Erasmus students at the same time. I don’t know.
I returned home few hours later then I usually do and I was tired and really hungry. I started cooking right away. Then I decided to enjoy the afternoon sun for a while, because it was shining so nicely in my room. It was actually quite warm, even though I had my window open. Then I did some Portuguese language exercises and started doing some homework for the class.
As for the photos from our trip… I edited some of those from Lisbon this time, so there you go; architecture of the city or at least parts of architecture. =)

The Best week in Portugal (days 100-105)

Day 100, Friday, 28.12.2012
Our day started a bit later in the morning today and out first trip was to see the Obidos Lagoon. Damir knew some side paths, because he cycled there with his bike a few times before. We went to the beach of the lagoon and realized that it looks more like some swamp than the ocean because of all the plants in the area, but also because the water there is really calm. But that’s just because it’s a lagoon and it’s quite closed, so not many ocean waves get inside. I really liked a beach house there, that is actually some sort of surf school and rent area for different kinds of water activities. It must be really awesome in the summer when there are people.
After the lagoon we went to the beach of Foz do Arelho and watched the ocean waves for a while. That is always fun to do. =) Well beside that, there was not much more to do in that area, so we got in our rented car again and drove to Nazaré, because everybody was telling us we have to visit it. On our way there we stopped at some of the old windmills that are so common here in Portugal. Damir knew where we can get close to one. Well there were actually two of them; one abandoned and damaged, but the other one was restored and renovated, so it looked like it still works. It was such a nice thing to see and I would love to spend a vacation in one like that. Good thing Damir explored the area with his bike and so he knew these small paths… =)
So then we went to Nazaré and well, people were saying Nazaré is a small fisherman village, but as it turns out it’s more of a beach resort than a village. There are few old houses left, but most of the buildings are some apartments and shops for tourists… We were quite disappointed by it, because it was really not what we expected and what we wanted to see. But we drove up to the top of the cliffs above the city and we stopped at the end of the road, where there is a small lighthouse. We enjoyed the view from there for quite a while, because it’s so amazing how the waves hit the cliffs there and the water splashes all around. Such a beautiful experience that totally made our day about thousand times better – not that it was bad before. =) Then we went off the cliffs to the sandy beach and we walked along the coast and had so much fun just running in front of the waves and taking photos. I felt so happy that I can’t describe it. The best feeling ever! =) And I found a dead dry fish on a beach, so Damir had some fun with it by preparing a bit like a funeral for poor fish. He even picked some flowers to put on a “grave”. Hahaha! =) Before we went home we stopped in a city to take a walk along the beach and we went for a cup of tea at some bar on a beach. It was a nice ending of an amazing day. I think we all had a lot of fun.

Day 101, Saturday, 29.12.2012

It was time to visit Lisbon one more time and we decided to drive off the highway, because we could see so much more countryside if we were on more local roads. So we drove a bit longer and we had to use a map a bit more, but it was nice and we even passed some of those large wind turbines that are all around the area. We drove directly to one of those and we couldn’t believe the size of it. We knew they are huge and we knew how they look like and all that, but when you’re standing directly beneath them you get that feeling of respect. You feel really small. It’s amazing.
Then we finally arrived to Lisbon and first we stopped at the Belem tower. We found a free parking space there and so we went for a walk from the tower to the Jeronimos Monastery. Damir and his mom decided to visit the Maritime Museum that is in the same building, but I wasn’t that interested in seeing the same exhibition again and also I’m sure I’ll be there few more times… So I went to the Berardo Museum across the street. The exhibition in there was the same as I’ve alredy seen the last time there, but I still enjoyed it because I took enough time to see some of the art works a bit more in detail. Some videos were really great and I didn’t see them last time, so I believe my time was well spent. =)
After we’ve all seen what we wanted we got back to the car and drove to the other part of the city. We went to Expo, that place where Oceanarium is. The sun was already going down and we were all a bit tired, so we went to Vasco Da Gama shopping center and walked around a bit. Maybe that was a mistake because it was very crowdy. You know, all the holidays and sales… After that we decided to go home.
We wanted to take a highway back home and obviously we didn’t see one of the road signs, so we were on a wrong highway to the north. We wanted to go on the one that goes directly to Caldas da Rainha, but instead we were on the one that goes directly to Porto, so it goes more inside the mainland, not so close to the ocean. And like that’s not all, we we’re a bit confused while looking at the road signs, so when we got to the toll where you usally take the ticket, we were on the wrong lane, where people with some electronic card go. When we got off the highway we had to pay a bit a higher tax because we didn’t have the ticket. But now we know we have to be more careful… As we were told later, we’re not the only ones that had this accident. It might be also because those signs are not in english so you’re not sure what they mean and you have to react quickly. Oh well, what matters is that we got back home safely.

Day 102, Sunday, 30.12.2012
We slept a bit longer today and our plan was that maybe we would visit Sintra again. After checking the weather forecast we realized that it will be raining in Porto for the New Year’s evening and so we decided that we go to Porto today and we wait for the New Year somewhere else. First we went to Obidos because Damir’s mom wanted to buy some souvenirs that she saw there. When we started our way to the north it was already 11 o’clock and we decided to go on side roads again. It was nice and interesting, but on about half the way we gave up. It would take too much time and we were already quite late, so we decided to go on a highway.
First we didn’t know how the toll system works, because there were signs of some sort of electronic toll payment and that’s different than the one with tickets. Then some people explained that it’s ok if you don’t have some small electronic box in your car and that you can pay the toll later in the post office. A bit unusual system, but obviously it must work somehow. =)
We arrived to Porto at around 3 p.m. and we found a parking garage near the city center. It wasn’t the best weather, it kept on changing from sunny to cloudy, but it was still much better than rain. We walked around the city and went to the river. We walked on that main avenue along the coast where most tourists go, then we went to some other tourist attractions in the area and we even visited two churches that were open. Anyway, we visited most of the important locations in the center area.
Now I must comment the city and the feeling of it. Everybody was telling me that Porto is really nice, that it’s even prettier than Lisbon, that it’s charming and lovely… My opinion on all that is that they are wrong. This city is awful. I usually like most of the old cities and I’m a huge architecture and history lover, but seriously, this city is just horrible. I really wanted to see the positive things and yes, there are some nice buildings, but that can’t hide the fact that the city is full of moisture problems, dark smelly narrow streets and destroyed old buildings. There are so many buildings that are abandoned and nobody cares to renovate them, there is moss everywhere, the city smells bad because of that. In many areas you can smell pee and in other areas you can see garbage everywhere. Similar that I noticed in Lisbon, but here it was much worse! I don’t know how it is in summer, but I guess old buildings don’t look any newer and moss doesn’t just disappear, but ok, maybe it doesn’t smell that bad. I don’t know. I guess there must be something about the city that attracts so many people, but to me, that city is probably the worst I’ve visited so far.
Well after the disappointment we went some bar that looked quite nice. Well I had to wait for my fruit salad for quite a while and I really don’t know why, because it’s not a complicated thing to prepare and also there were not so many people. I know, it happens, I usually wouldn’t notice it, but since the whole city was such a disappointment I did notice it.
So I’m not sure if I’ll visit Porto again or maybe not any time soon. Maybe in summer so I could compare what’s the difference, but for now, I believe it’s not worth the long drive.

Day 103, Monday, 31.12.2012
I spent most of the morning editing photos from the previous days. I made so many photos these days that editing and rating them was really a whole project, but I was able to edit quite a lot of them. Also I was able to take some time for Skype and so I’ve seen my family for the last time in this year. It felt a bit weird not being able to be with them for the holidays, but to see them on a screen was better than nothing. =)
In the afternoon Damir’s mom checked some locations nearby and she suggested we could visit some of them, even though it was raining. So we went to Alcobaça where there is some monastery. We found it and we were quite surprised by the beautiful gothic entrance. I didn’t expect something so pompous as that, but it’s true that I didn’t even know where we were going and I didn’t check anything about it on the internet. So it was a really pleasant surprise. The entrance to church is free, but there is fee to visit the monastery itself. We didn’t visit the monastery because we didn’t have much time, but we did go in the church. I must say that’s probably the most beautiful gothic interior I’ve ever seen. I just love that it doesn’t have any paintings, nothing too gold, no frescos or anything that would try to make it look more expensive. It’s simple and maybe a bit minimalistic, but honestly so beautiful! The high ceilings and the raw stone, the windows… Everything was perfect! And I’m a huge gothic architecture lover, so this was really like a dream to me. Amazing! =D
After being filled with all the positive and peaceful energy from the church, we went on a road again. We went to Fatima, the city that is quite famous pilgrim location. The sun already set when we arrived there, but it was still nice to see the church and the piazza in front of it. I would love to see how the city looks like when there is a crowd of people. We went to the church and it’s another beautiful architecture with huge organs above the entrance. Though I must say I was more impressed by the church in Alcobaça. But it was really nice to see this pilgrim location. And also when you think about how many people wish to visit it, you feel a bit privileged and grateful to have this opportunity.
We rushed home after that. We ate some food and relaxed a bit, so we had enough energy for the last trip in this year. We went to Nazaré again, because it’s quite close and everybody was saying that there is usually a huge party and beautiful fireworks. When we got to the city there were cars parked everywhere and people with bottles of wine walking along and across the streets. We managed to find the way up the hill and to the cliffs. Surprisingly we had no problem to find a suitable space along the road to park the car. So we went to the edge of those cliffs along with many other people and we had a great view on the city and the ocean below. There was a huge crowd on the beach beneath us and they had huge colorful reflectors that were “painting” the cliffs on which we were standing on. It was really beautiful. And when the final countdown to midnight began we could hear the crowd count and at 00:00 the fireworks started. They were quite long and really beautiful, but the best and most unique part were the reflections of the fireworks colors in the ocean. That was really fascinating. And from the cliffs we were also able to see some more fireworks in other cities few kilometers away. I think we picked the best place to wait for the New Year. =D

Day 104, Tuesday, 01.01.2013
Srečno novo leto! Happy New Year! Feliz Ano Novo! =) Time goes by so fast! I still can’t believe it’s already 2013! And when you’re in Portugal that feeling of time goes totally different, because I feel like we’re stuck in autumn and don’t notice all the Christmas spirit that usually lets me know the year is coming to an end.
Anyway, late in the morning we left Caldas da Rainha and we stopped at Peniche. Damir’s mom wanted to say goodbye to beautiful ocean waves. =) It was windy so the waves were even bigger and more impressive. I think she was very happy she could see that before she left home. Then we took the local roads to Lisbon and we arrived right on time to return the rented car. And since we’re in Portugal it was nothing unusual that we had to wait for a person from the company to come and pick the car. Anyway, everything was ok and Damir and I felt a bit handicapped when we realized we depend on our legs now. On times like this you realize how comfortable and luxurious a can be… =)
So his mom got on an airplane and we still had most of the afternoon to spend in Lisbon somehow. We decided to walk to city center, even though we knew it must be about 6 km distance. But it was nice sunny day and we don’t mind walking. As a matter of fact, I love to walk. =) There was not much to see, but we did notice again that there are so many homeless people at some places. It’s really sad, but what can you do… And again there was a lot of garbage everywhere, though maybe not as much as the last time we walked through those areas.
Well we went to Bairro Alto, because everybody was telling us that we have to go there. Well most of the shops and bars were closed anyway, but it was interesting to see how those buildings are built on that steep hill. And we passed some gothic shop where I saw some really awesome creepers. Next time I’m in Lisbon I hope the shop will be open so I could try them and if they fit I’m sure I’ll buy them. =D Then we went down to the center and to the sea side, we took some photos and now we were able to see the Christmas lights in the city. I noticed that most of the cities here in Portugal don’t have as many lights as Slovenian cities do.
After that we went to the subway because we wanted to catch the bus to Caldas da Rainha at 19:00. We arrived at the bus station later than we expected so the time was 18:57 when we got there. I went to buy the tickets and Damir went to see where our bus is and he asked the driver if she could wait just a little bit. I waited in the line and there was only one lady standing in front of me. That man at the register was returning her money and there were only coins. He did that so slowly. When we got to the register we told him how many and which tickets we would like and he was saying something in Portuguese. We didn’t know what. He took some money from the register and he went somewhere. He returned with a lot of coins and he started to slowly sort them in the right boxes of the register machine. When he slowly finished that he finally gave us those tickets and we ran to the bus. It was still there, waiting for us. Lucky us! =D Then we were finally home and it was time to just relax.

Day 105, Wednesday, 02.01.2013
I slept as long as I wanted, I had breakfast when I wanted and I didn’t have to hurry anywhere. It felt nice after a week of running around and traveling. Not that I mind that, but it did feel great to have a day off. So I spent most of the day writing this blog post, because I didn’t have any time to do that the previous days. Also I had some time to edit few photos, I cleaned around the apartment a little and I had time and the right weather for some laundry. Oh yes, and I had time to Skype with my family. =) That’s it for the day. Now I have to do some homework… I’ll add more photos when I’ll have time to edit more. =)

Traveling around (days 97-99)

Day 97 – Tuesday, 25.12.2012
Feliz Natal – Merry Christmas! First I have to write about our Christmas evening last night. All the Erasmus students left in town gathered at the apartment of Latvians. When I saw their living room I’m sure that was a smart idea, because it’s much bigger than ours. They have a really nice apartment. Well Damir and I were about half an hour late, but when we arrived we were still the first ones there. Others arrived one and a half or even two hours late. It seems even Erasmus students picked up this Portuguese habit. =)
Well it didn’t matter, because when we were all there we started to eat different foods. Actually everybody brought some food with them, so that was really nice and there were so many different dishes! After that we all got a bit more relaxed and we got into that happy party mood, so we all started to dance and sing and simply enjoyed the evening. It was so much fun! Too bad we had to calm down a little, because obviously people from lower apartment couldn’t sleep… =) But it was a really nice evening and I’m really happy I spent the evening with such great and positive people. We stayed there until around 3 a.m., but then I helped Damir with some cleaning in the kitchen and he still wanted to bake one potica that he wanted to bake before but couldn’t finish it. So I went to bed at around 4 a.m. and Damir around 8 a.m.! Crazy! And we had to wake up at around 9 a.m.! Haha! =D
So yeah, we did wake up and we packed what we needed and got to the bus for Lisbon. When we arrived we decided to walk to the airport, but since we had enough time we walked through streets and observed the city through non-typical tourist eyes. Everybody goes to the center and we were walking out of it. It was interesting to see that, because that way you see more how the city life actually works. We were very disappointed on the amount of trash that was just lying around on the ground and also there were so many garbage bags next to the trash containers, not in them, even though they were empty! Why would people do that? When it comes to recycling, ecology and simply garbage disposal I’m often very disappointed here in Portugal. It’s like nobody was taught why and how to handle the garbage.
Anyway, we waited for mom of Damir at the airport. While waiting we had a lot of fun observing people. =) When we arrived, rent-a-car was waiting for us; or better, we’ve been waiting for the rent-a-car. Well we got it and we decided to use the rest of the day for some Lisbon sightseeing, since we’ve been in Lisbon anyway. We drove through the center to the coast and we found a parking space that was also free, because it was Christmas and fee for that parking is obligatory only on working days. Lucky us! =) So we just had to cross the street and already we were able to lose ourselves in those narrow streets at the oldest part of Lisbon, under the castle. It was really nice and the weather was great. Too bad only that the castle was closed for visitors because of the Christmas, but still, we enjoyed the short walk and sightseeing at that part of the city.
We arrived back in Caldas da Rainha in the evening and we were all quite tired. So we just made a short plan for the next day and went to bed, because we all needed some sleep.

Day 98, Wednesday, 26.12.2012

We started our day in the morning and our first destination was Peniche. We drove to the lighthouse on the cliffs at first and we enjoyed the view. Oh, these cliffs and the power of ocean waves impress me every time! It really is amazing sight. We made quite few stops along the cliffs and every stop had something new to offer. At one place we were surprised by some hole, through which strong wind came out every time the wave hit the cliff. It was so awesome! Something totally unexpected, but really interesting thing! =D Our last stop before leaving town was the fortress and then we left sunny Peniche.
Our next destination was Baleal that is really close and there are always surfers. On our way there we stopped at some surf shop and that was sort of an attraction as well, because I’ve never seen so many surfs at one place yet. But that’s no surprise, since surf scene is really something usual here. =) After that we drove to the Baleal beach and it’s so cool because concrete road actually goes across the beach to the other side where there are houses. We met the guys from Surfoz, surf school Damir went to. I kind of really wanted to get in the water and try to surf this day, because it was such a nice weather and it was actually really warm on the sun. I didn’t need my coat; just two long t-shirts were enough. Just around the corner we checked some more cliffs that were a bit different than the ones we’ve seen so far. That was really interesting.
From there we hit the road again and drove to Obidos. I felt a bit bad because I still wasn’t there, though it’s really close to Caldas da Rainha. Well now I’ve seen it and it really surprised me with all the ancient charm it has. It is an old city with medieval wall all around the old city and it has so many cute narrow streets. I would definitely recommend a visit to people that like old cities with some soul and charm. But it really is a huge tourist attraction and the main street was full of people. I guess part of that was because there was like a ‘Christmas Village’ that you could visit for a fee. It was interesting, but obviously it was more adapted to children. We walked up to the city wall and we walked half of it. The view from there was amazing and totally worth the walk. You can see the ocean from there, but also you have a great view of the city and the roofs of all those old buildings. When you’re looking at the city you realize how many gardens and green areas actually are there, but you can’t see them from the street level. So I’d say I fell in love with the city a little bit. =)
On our way back home we stopped at the shop and then we went directly back home, because once again, we were hungry, tired and sleepy, so we all just wanted to go to bed as soon as possible.

Day 99, Thursday, 27.12.2012
Today we woke up early again and we left home in the morning, because we went to Sintra. We chose not to drive on the highway, but on the local roads that allow you to enjoy the rural environment. Few times we saw some nice view or something and we just stopped and enjoyed whatever it was that convinced us into stopping. Mostly it was the ocean. =)
Sintra has quite a lot of things too see, but we knew from the start we wouldn’t be able to see them all. So we decided to go to the most famous castle up on the hill above the city. It is a palace with huge garden and we bought the tickets to see both. The palace is some mix of different architectural styles and it looks like from a fairytale. It is an amazing sight, but I kept on wandering why did people build such large residences and why? Well it definitely was worth checking out and it really impressed me. I kind of wanted to be dressed like a princess and pretend that it was mine palace, but at the same time I really couldn’t imagine living in such large palace. I wouldn’t know what to do with all those rooms.
After seeing the building we went for a walk through part of the park. Oh that was totally something of my taste! First I found a round pavilion and I just love buildings like that. To just walk around it was really something I always wanted to do and I know that might sound stupid or weird, but I just really wanted to do that. I was so happy when I did that. =D Then we kept on walking and we found like a small stone bridge over a path and that’s another thing I love; cute small stone bridges. Another part of my dreams… =) Then we continued our walk and got to some water area with small waterfalls, palm trees, ferns and ivy all around us. I just realized then, that my favorite plants are all green and they were all there in one place! It was like another part of my dreams! Small jungle! Oh it was so beautiful! =D And what I found there? Another small stone bridge! So it was like a combination of so many things I love! And not just that! I was able to see sequoia tree and that is something that I can’t see every day and it makes an amazing impression on me every time I do see it. There were also some others enormous old trees that you simply have to like and respect when you see them. =) So this park was really like a dream to me and I want to visit it again, at least one more time.
We ran out of time to visit more palaces and other interesting places in Sintra, so we drove to our next location that was on our priority list; Cabo da Roca, the westernmost part of Europe. Well the lighthouse is really nice, and there is a statue with a cross and people are taking photos… Then you look down the cliffs, you see the beauty of nature, you look to the west and your eyes just start to glow a bit because of the amazement and a bit because of the happiness. Maybe it’s just me, but the feeling that I got there was truly unique. Once people stood there and thought that they were on the edge of the world and they thought our planet is actually a flat land, like a plate! It truly is magnificent sight when you think of it like that, or even if you don’t.
We waited for the sunset there and maybe it’s a bit ‘mainstream’ and a cliché, but it’s so worth waiting for that. Well it’s just simply the sun going into the ocean, but it’s the feeling you get that makes all the experience so much more powerful. And while the sun was going down on one side, the moon got up behind our backs and it was another amazing feeling and experience. Nature is awesome! =D
I would love to post some photos now, but I’m too tired to make a selection and edit some of them. I promise I’ll post a lot of photos as soon as I’ll have some time, but at the moment my priority is to get the most out of this week and I’m simply enjoying all the sightseeing. =) So, photos coming soon. =)