Thursday, November 26, 2015

CIEE Excursion: Museu Nacional do Azulejo

So, for a large part of this trip I have been taking and hoarding pictures of tiles that I have found all over Lisbon and the other places I have visited, and I was hoping to put them all together at some point. So you can imagine how excited I was when I heard we would be going to the National Tile Museum. I'll post some pictures of some of my favorite tiles. After we had a quick tour we also got to paint out own tiles. I worked really hard on mine and this was last week so I am hoping to get the finished product back really soon (it needed to be baked again).

A ceiling, not a tile... but still nice:

Withing the tile museum:

Insect tile:

Grasshopper tile:

 Here is us painting tiles:

Outside the museum:


Well, our last overnight trip with CIEE is finished! This time we went to Évora, a small city east of Lisbon. Its absolutely full of historical sites and was one of the most beautiful places I've been so far. We took a bus and the ride was only about an hour and a half from Lisbon. The very first thing we did before even going into the town was eat lunch at a nearby vineyard. It was very remote, and we had to drive about 30 more minutes to get there from Évora.

Once we got inside of the main building, we were led to a private dining room downstairs. The only way I can describe the meal that came next is "insane". We weren't very many people as some had decided to stay in Lisbon, but they must have made the same amount of food anyways because we were absolutely bombarded with plate upon plate of everything. For every dish we got about 4 plates, coming at regular intervals. I was with only 3 other people at my table and just as we would feel relief at finishing one plate, 2 more of the exact same thing would show up. Everything was really fancy and delicious, but it was almost like torture. One of the guys at my table, Chris, and I have a thing about wasting food, especially when it's free, so we both ended up finishing mostly everything. This came with consequences however, as I was in so much pain when I stood up I could barely walk and I had to take off my belt. In addition, I must have eaten about 500 olives in total over the weekend and when we finally went home on Sunday my feet and hands had swelled from the excessive amount of sodium.. it was actually pretty disturbing. But seriously, they were probably the most delicious olives I had ever had, to the point that Chris and I walked to other tables to collect their uneaten olives after we had finished ours.

The menu:

"Cheese and meat pastries:

Octopus salad:

"Mix platter of cheese and cured meat"... also came with quail eggs:

 Cheese and Iberic ham padinhas:


I am actually pretty annoyed because I originally had pictures of all the courses, plus of the table as a whole before we started eating, but my phone was on this weird setting where it had to "process" the photos before saving them so if I closed my phone too quickly the whole photo would delete. Ah well.

After lunch we had a quick tour of the cellars and the equipment. It looks like some of my photos got deleted here too but here's one:

Where they store the wine:

Their shop:

After lunch we rode into Évora where we were staying in a hotel, two to a room. We got money for dinner so we were able to do whatever we wanted for the rest of the day. My friend Daniela and I decided to explore:

I like Évora because it has a small town vibe but there's also a lot of activity..

Probably can't see well in this picture but there were a few peacocks perched in these ruins:

Man playing guitar next to cathedral:

 Luckily, we were so stuffed after lunch I got to save all the money given to us for dinner and instead went to sleep.
The next day CIEE took us on a tour around the town. First we went to a bone chapel (Capela dos Ossos):

This says, "Our bones that are here, wait for yours"

Roman ruins right in the center of town:

Next we visited the University of Évora (established in the 16th century), which was like no university I had ever visited:

 Toad statue sitting outside:

The classrooms actually had tiled walls and pulpits for the professors:

Picture of my friend sleeping:

Afterwards we had lunch and I got a huge plate of oxtails:

Inside of the cathedral:

On the roof of the cathedral... it was gorgeous:

Afterwards, we got back on the bus and went back to Lisbon.