Apologies for the delay in the post, I have been rather busy and unable to attend to the blog.
My host family, another family, and I all took a trip to Lisbon, Portugal. We left on October 22nd, drove down to Helsinki and flew from there to Munich, Germany, then on to Portugal. We arrived around 3:30 am Sunday morning. We spent the following week touring Lisbon, and returned on the next Saturday/Sunday.
On day one, we toured the Castelo de S. Jorge (Castle of St. George), then walked down towards the water and had an afternoon meal in one of the many restaurants in the area.
On day two, we took a trip to Sintra, an outlying town, where we saw a couple castles and then the westernmost point in Europe. We stopped to eat at a restaurant in that area and I tried octopus, which was interesting. It was like untextured shrimp, and it tasted similar.
On day three, we visited an aquarium, Lisbon Oceanarium. It houses 450 different species, and 16,000 individual animals. Afterwards, we went shopping in a large shopping complex. I bought nothing.
On day four, we went up the coast a ways to see the town of Cascais. It is one of the richest municipalities in Portugal, and it was a great place to be. The other family with us on this trip left on this day to return home.
On day five, we crossed the Rio Tajo to walk the beach of Costa da Caparica. Then we headed back into Lisbon to shop around. Unfortunately, I have no pictures of this.
On day six, we returned to Cascais and went swimming, then had lunch, We walked around for a while, then we headed back to Lisbon. We stopped on the way to check out the Belém Tower.
Overall, I thought Lisbon was a great place overall. The area is over 400 years old, I believe. The buildings in downtown Lisbon are all 4-6 story buildings, up to a couple hundred years old, although most are newer. The architecture is interesting, and the detailing is also worth taking a look at. The people are pleasant. There are interesting sights to see and things to do, most being rated 4 or five stars by Google. The food was good at every place we stopped at. Temperatures were comfortable, even in the late fall. It’s a very nice place to visit, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in seeing an interesting place.
You can check out a 3D view of the Lisbon area and any of the places I’ve mentioned by searching for them on Google Maps, clicking the Earth box down in the left corner, then clicking “3D” on the right hand side bar, then, while holding down “Ctrl” on your keyboard, clicking, and holding, you can moving your perspective around the map. If you zoom in far enough, the detail of the map is pretty good, and you can check out the area.
As mentioned above, I have been pretty busy with things in the past few weeks. However, I have been in a great mood for the most part. Snow came on November 1st in the middle of the night, which made me pretty happy that morning. We recently had another bunch of snow come, so the amount standing is around 7 inches. Temperatures have been in the 10s and 20s (F) which isn’t terrible if there isn’t wind and you have good gear on. School continues to go well. I have made a few more acquaintances. We are nearing the end of the second period. (As you may recall, the Finnish school year is split into 5 periods of 6 weeks each) My understanding of Finnish is also improving. My host parents speak to me in it for a good part of the time. I’m definitely no expert, though. Overall, things are good, and I am well. I still do not suffer from any home sickness.