October 8, 2005

The last weekend, Albufeira! ...

...was really fun Image

One of the greatest weekends I had in Portugal was definitely the one when I went with other trainees, and my friends from back home Irina and Miruna, to Chico's place in Algarve.

It was a blast! Irina, who's my classmate from highshool, and Miruna her colleague from university are doing a year of Erasmus here, studying architecture, and had just arrived two days before. We got there friday night with the bus and check out the wonderful place where we would spend the weekend.

Chico has a villa in a hotel's yard, among with other villas and a great pool which looked really tempting also at night even if i wasn't allowed with balls in the water :p. So after some pillow fighting and portuguese typical music, like 'quero cherar teu bacalhau, Maria', we put the end to that day.

And what a better way to start a saturday if not with a relaxing swim in the pool?
Afterwards we went to the beach, which is just marvelous, with amazing warm water for the start of october. And because all that swimming made us hungry, we had a great lunch/dinner in the villa's living room, in the great portuguese style, like 3 hours meal, with porto wine and interesting pasta recipe which i came up with given the ingredients. Very tasty though, or at least that's what they've told me :p.

Of course, the 'nutella' fight afterwards came in as naturally as it could because we had to wear off the effects of the vodka and porto wine in some kind of way, right?

And to make sure we won't gain any unwanted weight after the meal, we had another pillow fight...

We ended the night wondering through some bars and discos, and i remember struggling with a huge icecream.

Sunday went on in the same coordinates, I got to explore about half kilometer of ocean shore, really nice composed of red soil with pine trees and lots of cliffs and trails that ran through them...

Chico drove us back to Lisbon in the evening... The memory of this weekend will sure keep me through the cold winter that awaits me after I get back home. Thanks Chico for the royal treatment Image

October 2, 2005

The weekend in Fatima...

And there was the IRW in Fatima and the great escape to the Ocean, last weekend, but first things first.

The IRW organized by the LC Catolica, was a hit :D , although I would have expected more people to show up. It was Marcos, the polish people, Lokesh, an indian trainee from Coimbra, Zsuzsi from Tg Mures and Tiago and Bia from the LC who were later joined by Eduard and ...a Jacob from Mosambique(not sure though). We arrived there saturday morning and got to check out the location starting with a picnic. We then checked in at some kind of hostel where I saw a room with the shower inside. It was the first time I saw the shower inside the room itself, like 1m away from the bed, thank God they didn't put the loo there as well. Then we saw the sanctuary and the surroundings which consist mainly of shops full of kitsch religion-related stuff, like led covered crosses and golden frames of Virgin Mary portraits, and lots of hotels and other accomodation buildings. That place was barren field 100years ago.
Now it's too comercial if u ask me, they're now building a huuuuge Cathedral which resembled an antiatomic bunker, it's loosing much of it's mystical charm. Also a piece of the Berlin wall was there.
One of the things I liked best about Fatima was the walk along the road along which the three little shepherds had their visions. Really pitoresque stone paved road and landscape, with olive trees and stony ground. As the sun set, it spread warm hues all over those soft sloped hills.
We had a great typical dinner in which u choose what u want to eat from plates in the middle of the table. Dinner in Portugal is the main meal of the day and people take their time in long talks. I llllove it!
The restaurant was in the countryside, on the outskirts of Ourem, the town nearest to Fatima. We went there after dinner, in really nice bar on some kind of artificial pond, with nice live music and a terace (brrr, chilly night though).
We also checked out this disco 10 km away from Ourem, in the middle of the forest, really weird, but they didn't allow it in the town because of the noise or something. Nice place, 3 rooms, live music, latino, and the biggest, house stuff of course... Not so many 'undressed' girls as you would find in Romania, and not that crowded as well.

On Sunday we went to see the Sanctuary's Church. I was impressed by the voice of a lady who was singing, amazing!!! Had lunch in a place called "Joan Paul the IInd", really unappropriate for a restaurant, if u ask me, and then left for the castle in Ourem. Mostly every town in Portugal has a castle, I would so like to see them all. This one was amazingly beautiful, on top of a hill, with a small community inside the outer walls, an old church whose bells were singing as there was a funeral taking place. All the people seemed so apeasead in that place which seemed so timeless. We went for a coffee in a very nice bar, with massive wood tables and chairs, and the bartender offered us a glass of almond liquor, delightfull drink. They also had 'jinjinha' or something like that, visinata pe romaneste Image. Afterwards, narrow streets going uphill led us to the castle itself, with a magnificent view of the surroundings. Inside the castle there was this plain surface covered with grass, like an inner square, with a monument in the middle. It was really enchanting.
Had to leave for Lisbon with the 6 o'clock bus. It was great Image