Archive for May, 2008

The city of the seven hills

Well, as you might have already noticed this is the city where I was born, 21 years ago. It’s difficult for me to write a post about Lisbon because there’s so many things and want you to see. ‘Hmmm’ – I thought, if I climb São Jorge’s Castle I can show everybody all those beautiful things so characteristic of Lisbon.

São Jorge’s Castle dates back to VI BC, probably occupied by Celtic and Iberian tribes. It was later occupied by other tribes until it was finally taken by the Moors. It was in 1147 that the castle was finally conquered by D. Afonso Henriques (the 1st king of Portugal)  in what is called The Siege of Lisbon. When Lisbon became the capital of Portugal, in 1255, the castle was taken by the King as the Royal Palace. From then on many famous play writers, navigators and all kinds of V.I.P’s (such as Vasco da Gama) stopped here to have some fun with the king and the ladiesss, I guess?

After the Great Earthquake in 1755 the Castle was severely damaged and from then on it started to decay. It still is decaying today. Bad government!

Interesting legends about the castle? It is said that Martim Moniz, a knight, sacrificed his own body preventing the castle gate from closing, allowing the army to enter the castle and tacking it for good! Bad Moors!

From the Tower of Ulysses (former Torre do Tombo (where the Nation Archive was)) you can have a 360º view of the city. Try to spot the most important places among the buildings: 1) Praça do Comércio, 2) Ruinas do Carmo, 3) Elevador de Santa Justa, 4) Ponte 25 de Abril and 5) Cristo Rei.

After that we went down the hill (very slippery floors people! G. knows it) looking for Lisbon Cathedral, also known as, Sé de Lisboa. It’s the oldest church in the city, survived many earthquakes and it’s a mix of architectonic styles. Good stuff if you’re into churches and stuff.

If you ever have the chance to visit Lisbon make sure you climb the hill on foot. There’s plenty of stuff to see on the way to the castle. No, trying to park in tiny tiny streets is not a good idea 🙂 .

Another great day with my friend G. and hopefully, many more to come. As for the rest of my holidays you know, I’ll be traveling around Portugal! 🙂

P.S – Note that the city was totally rebuilt after the earthquake by Marquês de Pombal, a visionary gentleman 🙂


 

Pictures (from top to bottom): castle, random, Christ statue (left) and 25 Abril bridge (right), Praça do Comércio, Santa Justa elevator (front) and Carmo ruins (behind), some boat, Lisbon Cathedral’s door, a window in the castle. See more

 

 

 

 

Coventry Cemetery

For those who know me this is not a surprise. Actually, if you know me, nothing is 😉 Anywayssss…another trip to those gorgeous Victorian cemeteries that I oh so love! 🙂 James Starley (for those who don’t know he was the English inventor and ‘Father of the Bicycle Industry’) and 20.000 others can be found there. Dead, I suppose. Not a big deal but still a good place to take a walk.

P.S – You can see that the cemetery is extremely degraded, which makes it even more beautiful 🙂 Bloody goth kids in All Hallow’s Eve (Halloween)!

Pictures: random, random, random (hooray for digital cameras) See more

Trip to Sainsbury?

Who’d say that my daily trip to the supermarket would make my day? I mean, I had to mention the Emergency Chocolate in the chocolate’s shelve 🙂

Label: ‘For immediate relief of: Chocolate cravings, Lovesickness, Exam Pressure, Mild anxiety and Extreme Hunger. Directions for use: Tear open wrapper, break off desired dosage and consume. Alternatively massage into the affected area. Repeat dosage until finished. If symptoms persist consult your local confectioner.’

The green tights conspiracy

OK, imagine you live in Coventry and you decide to go to Nottingham, you know, so you can take a breath of fresh air. What if I tell you that you would end up in the East Midlands airport?

Friday, 06:00pm. New email: ‘Unfortunately your trip to Nottingham will have to be canceled due to a problem with the university bus’.

As you can imagine, this is not what you want to read. But come one! Is this really going to stop me, H. and G.? We’re stubborn and we will do this trip no matter what! And so we did.

We got to Nottingham at 11.00am with a lot of energy to see what Nottingham and the Sherwood Forest had best to offer. Robin Hood, Robin Hood, we all have heard his story. His green outfit, the hat, the longbow and the evil Sheriff were all part of everybody’s childhood, including mine 🙂 And I believe this is a very cool thing to do! Well, the city where this famous outlaw used to steal food from the rich in order to give it to the poor is, as you can imagine, really changed. Nottingham is today a huge city with a huge city centre where you can find lots of shops and thousands of McDonalds. One in every corner, at least.

So, we did see the Sheriff castle, which is today a gallery art, with its beautiful gardens (Oh and we saw the real Robin Hood too, but he was kinda old with an indian skin tone (details)). Next to the castle you can find a Robin Hood statue with a pretty information plaque. This is the part where my childhood was completely ruined. I really thought he was real but noboby knows the truth. As far as I’m concerned all we know is that he is a legend and possibly the origin of the so famous forest spirit, Green Man, later referred to as a God (unless the information board was wrong). Either way, it’s always good for tourism. After all, Nottingham is one of the most visited places in England due to, of course, Robin Hood.

What next? Oh yes, the City of Caves! These are hand-carved sandstone caves. Some of them were dig 1000 years ago, others 70 years ago. Inside you can find a tannery (anglo-saxon), a World War II shelter and an ancient well (dates back to the Druid age). The ticket is a bit expensive but it’s still interesting to visit the place where thousands lived years and years without ever seeing the sunshine (of course these used to happen during the war). No, this doesn’t end right here.

As good tourists, we wanted to see where he lived (or not): the Sherwood Forest. Again, it is not the forest it once was but it’s still a pleasant place to visit if you’re a fan of landscapes and countryside. The Great Oak is just 10 minutes away from the bus stop (which makes a hell lot of sense if you consider that we’re talking about a forest). This amazing tree is more than 1000 years old and is now being sustained by iron bars. Supposedly, Robin Hood and his friends would gather under it by the fire.

And this was where everything started going wrong. Definitely wrong, as if you were in some kind of horror movie. We had to catch the bus back to Coventry at 6.30pm in Nottingham and decided to catch the bus from the forest to Nottingham at 4.00pm (it takes approximately 1hour). The thing is, it was already 7.00pm when we realized no bus would turn up. We had lost the bus back and we would have to get to Nottingham as soon as possible, if we didn’t want to spend the night there, of course. Solution? ‘Just call a taxi G.’ – I said. That’s when we realized we were in a living Hell. No taxi driver agreed to take us there because it was too far. ‘Now what’? – I asked again impatiently. Now we try to get the hell outta here. We asked some locals what would be the quickest and easiest way to get to Nottingham by bus. Bla bla bla and there we go! As the clock ticked I could only imagine myself sleeping on the street starving to death 🙂 It took us approximately 3 hours to get to Nottingham. Beautiful landscapes, beautiful sunset, creepy locals, creepy whores out of context (we’re in the countryside after all!) and a never-ending bus ride. How can you enjoy this stuff when you picture yourself dying who knows where? lol Sooooooooo (are you tired? I hope you are! This is just 5% of what I’ve been through) we got to Nottingham (finally) and we missed the bus and the train to Coventry, AGAIN! Options? Not much actually. 1) Spend the night who knows where or 2) grab the next bus to the East Midlands airport and catch a bus there. Option 2! Of course. 2 hours later we arrived to our final destination.

I mean, who could predict this? Nottingham is just 1 hour away and it took us 1 century to get back? Unfortunately this trip was not about my childhood, Robin Hood or history. It was about patience, wasting money and werewolves (yes, I was afraid to be eaten by one, you never know). But Yes! This was fun!!! It’s all part of the adventurous spirit and you can never predict these things when you travel. Let’s just say that I won’t be going there again for a long time 🙂 At the end of the day it was worth it, as usual! We love you Robin!

(p.s – could you imagine yourself doing all of this in less than 24 hours? me neither!)

Pictures (from top to bottom): Nottingham city centre; Robin Hood statue; the castle entrance; castle garden; Sheriff Castle; City of Caves and the Great Oak. see more

Where men wear skirts

Yes, I do know that a kilt is not a skirt (I have two!) 😛

Anyway, this was a two day trip i wanted to do for a long time. I already know England and Ireland, Scotland was missing. So…H. and I decided to go there 2 months ago (God bless BMI baby) and off we went! First of all, blessed be the domestic flights. Get in the plane, get out of the plane and you’re there! There’s nothing simpler than that 🙂

We arrived at Edinburgh ,or Dùn Èideann in Scottish gaelic, at 8.30am and to be honest it didn’t seem much different from London, Paris or any other city in Europe. Are you guessing that I’m going to say that Edinburgh is much more than any other city in Europe (I haven’t seen them all though!)? If you are, than you’re right! Although the new town is boring boring Boring!, the old town is absolutely something you want to visit! The old cathedrals, the scotts wearing kilts and the sound of the bagpipe is something that is constantly at sight. However, what I did like most in Edinburgh was the perfect mix between buildings and countryside. If you think for a moment that you miss the green of the countryside the only thing you actually have to do is to look at the horizon. The green, the mountains and much more are always there to make you remember that Edinburgh is not just another European capital. And…if you think that London is just too crowded for you, than probably this is the city for you. Of course there are plenty of people there but they don’t make you feel like choking, if you know what I mean.

So….must do(s) in Edinburgh? The Edinburgh castle, the old town and if possible a tour. There’s always loads of stuff to learn! (By the way, Rebecca you rule! She was te girl who guided us through the Edinburgh vaults. Oh, and she told us plenty of horror stories 2).

Well well, but Edinburgh is not Scotland so we decided to go in a tour across the countryside: Alnwick (where Harry Potter was shot), Bamburgh castle, Kelso and Scott’s view. Sometimes I think that it’s much more interisting to visit the countryside than the actual capital of a country. Again, the tour guide was awesome, always telling plenty of jokes and plenty of stories about Scotland, the borders, the war between Scotland and England and of course, William Wallace.

And this was it! The truth is that sometimes you can’t tell if you’re in England, Scotland or Ireland because everything seems way too similar but there’s something in Scotland that I really enjoyed (I’m not quite sure what yet). Once again, totally worth it! One advice: Be prepared for the terrible (but funny) scottish accent! During the ghosts and ghouls tour I heard somebody shouting ‘TÓRTARIM!’ (you have to force the ‘R’s)…meaning torture him. lol 😛 Enjoy the pics!

P.S – Oh and by the way, Bamburgh and Alnwick are in England, not Scotland. So yes, I crossed the border…and no, I still don’t know why the hell we went on a tour half in Scotland half in England.

Pictures (from top to bottom): Edinburgh (bird’s view!); highland cow (fancy wig honey!); Alnwick Castle; Bamburgh Castle; Haggis ( ** out of ***** – it’s lungs, heart and liver…everything mixed. no, i wasn’t aware of this when I ate it); bridge next to Alnwick Castle; attempt to vintage photography (lol) and William Wallace statue. See more