Espana/ Portuguesa/ Dubai (III)

This is 3 months late but here is Part III of my trip to Spain/ Portugal last December 🙂 DXE, the #1 and only one fan of my blog (LOL) will remind me to update on my Spain trip every once in awhile and FINALLY, this is my third post! Aren’t you proud of me 🙂

This is probably the worst time to post about the trip because now is one of the most overwhelming periods of law school so the wanderlust is real, and strong. Actually, I dare say it is THE most overwhelming time of my past three years – I haven’t slept much in the past three days to rush out my RP and now that it is done, there is no rest (except for this blog post and maybe one episode of some TV show) because I’ve to do my submissions for an appellate moot due in four days time….

But here’s to happier days, of the past and ahead!

Day 5 (II)

In my previous post, I stopped at what was possibly one of the highlights of the trip – meeting LHL when we were at Cordoba. The Mosque-Mezquita was actually the last item on our itinerary for Cordoba and after that, we left to head up to Sevilla.

We dropped by a little town for lunch and I fulfilled half of my dream of riding a Vespa!

I got to sit on a stationary Vespa (LOL)

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I will level up someday and ride on a real one, whether it is pillion or on my own!

After lunch, we went to one of the most beautiful place in Spain (in my opinion) – Plaza de Espana.

From this picture, the place does not look like much but just a typical Reinassance style architecture.

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But you if you see this picture, this is the view from the middle of the building and W O W. Okay, it is panoramic so you can’t really see anything up close but this is the Maria Luisa Park (I think). IMG_1110

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I don’t think my photos did the place any justice so here is one off google (credits to this site).

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What amazed me even more is that this beautiful building… is actually a Government building?!? If it looks familiar by the way, it is because it was the filming site for Star Wars movies and also The Dictator!

After spending some time at Plaza de Espana, we walked through the Jewish Quarters in Sevilla to the Giralda Tower. The tour guide promised us an amazing view at the top of the tower but the catch was that we had to walk our way up! What’s interesting about this tower is that there are no steps??? But there were ramps leading all the way up (about 35/37, I can’t quite remember now). Apparently the reason for there not being stairs was so that the soldiers in the past could ride their horses up to the top of the tower, whoaaaa.

It was a great workout, going up the Giralda Tower. Having eaten a lot of paella and drank a lot of Sangria (almost every meal!) in the past 5 days + with little time to exercise, I decided to run my way up the tower. It was gr8. But it was really narrow and my boots had heels, so I clonking my way and getting judgmental looks by the people coming down 😦 So if anyone were to go there (and want to exercise!) I recommend running when it is less crowded 🙂

I went for a haircut just before I left for Spain and this photo is proof of how weird my hair was then.

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Our whole family made it to the top, yay!

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Our tour guide had promised a great view and it was really quite a sight to behold – it felt like we were on top of the world. IMG_1201

After this, we went to Sevilla Cathedral which is a possible site that Christopher Columbus is buried. No photos in the cathedral. And then we left for a Flamenco performance at night!

Day 6

Day 6 of the trip was Christmas Eve and also the day that we were leaving Spain for Lisbon. It was a long drive up to Lisbon, so we had to wake up even before sunrise to set off.

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Slept through most of the bus ride and I was super reluctant to get off at the pit stop because I still wanted to sleep, but I was so glad I did because 20m away from where the bus was parked was a field of daisies and W O W, it was truly beautiful. Daisies are my favourite flower and I was so so so pleased :”) It was really a very beautiful sight to behold.

Also, it is not seen in the photo below and we couldn’t see it from where we are but to the far right of the picture, there was a herd of sheep somewhere because we heard a lot of bleating.

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I plucked a daisy and took it with me to try to press it into my notebook but it ended up looking quite pathetic. I guess its true, that we often destroy everything that we touch and if you love something you should set it free #loldeep

On the bus, I was sleeping when I was suddenly awoken by quite a lot of commotion and people invading my space to take photos. Not the most artistic shot in the world but this is the Christ the King statute in Portugal and when we saw it, we knew that we had reached Lisbon (affectionately known by the locals as Lisboa)!

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Had a city tour of Lisbon and apparently we drove past the area where Cristiano Ronaldo’s summer house is!

I would like to think that for a short while, I enjoyed the same seaview that Cristiano Ronaldo does from his house ^^

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After our Lisbon city tour, we were supposed to visit the Palace of Sintra, the summer residence of the Royal family but it was closed because it was Christmas Eve.

Instead we were given time to take photos outside the Palace of Sintra and to explore the little town. This is the only photo that we took as a family, and it is not even of the Palace of Sintra but against the back drop of the Sintra Historical City Centre. The time spent in this little town was very short but I really do love the colours and vibrancy of Sintra.

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And the reason we did not have many photos + did not even have time to explore the city was because the yellow building you see behind us in the photo above us was home to a shop selling handbags and it was our first stop and we didn’t leave the shop until it was time to leave Sintra.

In the shop, I saw this Burberry hand bag that was from its Spring/Summer 2015 collection (I think it was before the collection even launched? Im not sure how this work, but the lady at the shop had one piece – please tell me she is not lying so I know I didn’t get cheated haha). And I really fell in love with the handbag ha ha ha. It sounds so frivolous but I really just casually picked it up and after that I couldn’t put it down.

So I took a few photos with it.

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And maybe because its Christmas Eve, so my parents were ultra generous but eventually, my parents got me the bag *INSERT MANY CRYING EMOJIS* Super unworthy of such an expensive bag??? But they got it for me because they saw how much I liked it. I was initially just planning to get a Longchamp to replace my current one that was a bit worn out but I ended up leaving the shop with a Burberry (thats like…. x10 the value of a Longchamp?!?!) Super duper grateful :”)

I noticed something very interesting though. When I was in the shop, I really really really loved the bag and I was quite sad at the prospect of having to leave the shop without it haha. Although at that time, I was quite resigned to that fact because I totally did note expect it. At the end, when we left the shop, I wasn’t SUPER happy though. Initially I was. But after that, I felt an immense sense of guilt at having spent such a HUGE AND EXTRAVAGANT sum of money and I didn’t really quite enjoy the bag anymore. Like every time I looked at the paper bag that was next to me on the bus, it was super bittersweet – I was so thankful and grateful but so guilty at the same time. Funny. I wonder if people who only have too much money to spare will feel that way?

After we left Sintra, we headed to Cabo da Roca to catch the sunset.

Christmas came early~

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I have no idea what was so funny back then, but we look so happy here (at least my sis and I who got the joke/ shared some inside joke). Good times :”)

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Crazy eyes here, heh. IMG_1401

Most of my photos from the trip are with my daddy and that’s really only because out of the whole family (myself included) he is the most eager and keen to take photos! He is truly the cutest.

Cabo da Roca is the most western end of the European continent (the monument with the cross supposedly declares that) and it also has an amazing view of the Adriatic Sea. This is us trying to take as many family photos as possible, with the best lighting before the sun sets.

 

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The beauty of the view at Cabo da Roca was just slightly darkened by the revelation that it was at this spot that the Portuguese couple who fell to their death while taking a selfie. In one of the family photos above with the Adriatic Sea as the background, you see the little a little fence and how some people have crossed over to the other side of the fence. So apparently they had climbed over the fences and that was how the tragedy happened.

When the sun set, we went for dinner and then headed back to our hotel. Lisbon is predominantly Roman Catholic so a lot of shops/ restaurants had closed early for Christmas celebrations. Even the hotel did not have any Christmas countdown.

I left the hotel to meet Chuan who is super familiar with Spain/Portugal having been there at least 4 times. I remember every term break, photos of him in Spain/ Portugal will pop up on my news feed on Insta haha. I went to meet him at the hostel where he was staying, which he fondly calls Home. They were having a Christmas celebration and he kept some desserts for me :> It was lovely, getting to meet some locals and people from all over the world – Brazil, US, Czech, NZ etc. The atmosphere was great and the staff even prepared little gifts for us (the paper bags on the table).

 

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After a very lovely dinner I had a conversation with a Czech couple, which I really enjoyed because my first best friend is a Czechoslovakian! And when they left to exchange Christmas presents with each other, I spoke to a New Zealander who basically quit his job to travel Europe on his bike for a year. !!!! right?? His life is really such an adventure. I told him that I couldn’t imagine doing that because I am so used to having a structured life that taking such huge risks without knowing what lies ahead is just so… different. But that night (and actually my whole trip) changed my perspective. My whole life has been about moving on to the next phase in life – complete primary school, move on to secondary then JC and then uni and the next stage is work. But now with the glut and a lot of recent revelations, maybe not moving on to the next phase but daring to be different is actually an option.

But I digress. Post dinner, desserts and (deep) conversations, we decided to hit Bairro Alto, the central district of Lisbon and home to all the clubs and bars, to see what was open. But before that, we were treated to some nasty concoction of shots.

 

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On the way to Bairro Alto.

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It was a great night. The streets were so quiet because it was late and also because many shops were closed for Christmas. The weather was cool but not too chilly and it made for a very good walk. We even got to take a Metro selfie on the way.

One of the girls said “we are all alone (because they were traveling and away from their families) but we are not alone! We have each other, we are a family!” and that was just :”)

 

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The bar that we went to was very crowded because only a few bars were open that night. But it was great and we even managed to snag a room in the bar – so we had our own private thing going on – with drinks and Brazilian music playing in the back ground :>

I had to leave early because I had to be up early the next day to travel to Porto. I went out to see if the bar could call me a cab and on the way out, a group of guys at the bar asked for a photo. They said they wanted to take an “all over the world” photo and I was the #aznrepresent obviously lol. So I obliged and took a photo, didnt think anything of it. Until the next day, a Portuguese friend of mine texted me and said “you took a photo with my friends” and he sent me this photo and I got the shock of my life at 1) how small the world is and 2) how star-crossed we were (LOL friend would have heard me tell the star crossed story many times hahaha sigh).

 

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The night of Christmas eve and the morning of Christmas spent at Home and at the Bairro Alto was probably the most exposure to the real local life and non-touristy stuff and it was wonderful. Super thankful for Chuan who showed me this side of Lisbon 🙂 And as I mentioned on Insta, although the story with Matheus and his friends was a little strange and very star-crossed, it proves how there are no strangers in Lisbon and everyone’s just friends who haven’t met yet :”)

Ok, I really need to sleep now because I’ve stayed up for the past three nights to work on the RP so sleep is v precious and dear to me! I will continue SOON 🙂 Will probably finish the whole of my Espana/Portuguesa/Dubai travelogue in 3 or 4 more separate posts!

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