Table of contents:
Journal 1: Off To Portugal
Journal 2: Tour Around Lisbon, Day 1!
Journal 3:Santa Maria De Belem, and Alfama District Walking Tour
Journal 4: Rehabilitation Center
Journal 5: Start up Lisbon, Caiscais, Sintra Sao Martinho, Fado
Journal 6:College Debate, EU Portugal Drug Policy Center, Re-Food, Dinner
Journal 7: College Visit and Free Day- Last Day, The last supper
Journal 8:Back to the good ol’ USA
Journal 9: Euro-Withdrawals
Off to Portugal!!- March 10th,2017-Friday- Journal Entry 1
Tonight we are meeting at the airport to take off for Portugal. I am not sure what to expect. I am super nervous, things I hope for, for this trip is making some new friends, experiencing a lot of the culture, I am most excited for the food! I love Mediterranean food, cafe and pastries. I have done a lot of google image searches and the architecture looks bright and beautiful and it will be a refreshing change of scenery. At the airport we all meet and get food. On the plane ride over we chatted with each other and got to know one and another. I couldn’t sleep because the anticipation of landing was so exciting. We land and exchange our currencies and we head to meet our tour guide. We meet Tiago who gives us a brief run through of our itinerary and a few phases to learn like “Bom Dia” and Obrigado/a. We are excited to arrive at the hotel and get our day started.
Tour Around Lisbon Day 1- March 11th,2017-Saturday- Journal Entry 2
Day 1 we arrived at our hotel, the drive up until this point set the landscape for what Lisbon is all about. We saw amazing, unique architecture along the ride. We met our tour guide for the week Tiago. He shared with us some interesting information, one thing that stood out to me in was that in Lisbon they say “pink dreams” instead of “sweet dreams”. Portuguese are known to have a strong influence of the color pink throughout their buildings especially homes. As we arrived we changed and went to leave for our first excursion which would bring us to Restoration square. We learned about the series of transition in power throughout Portugal, in Europe. It was really cool to hear about this story about how Spain gave back Portugal to them without any strings attached they believed the throne did deserve to be returned after a marriage occurred.
One of my favorite things were these street markets, although we also learned how to deal with “gypsys” which are prevalent here and can cause trouble. The markets were really unique and learned that many of these people drop out of school before they reach high school.
We then to to a square for lunch we went to the Museum of Beer and began bonding with the class. Followed by a lunch at the Timeout Market. This was an incredible indoor market that reminded me of a better Quincy Market. I tried the fish and it was amazing, the food here is so fresh and cooked and seasoned to perfection.
After this we took the metro to the hotel. Their metro system is pretty standard and easy to understand. We went back to the hotel and left to explore that night out and try to experience the night life.
Overall the first day was as incredible as I thought it would be and I am excited to learn and grow more here.
Santa Maria De Belem, and Alfama District Walking Tour-Day 2-
March 12th,2017-Sunday- Journal Entry 3
Today we set off to Santa Maria which is a waterfront area with amazing sculptures and scenic views. There we tried a Portuguese desert that is famous in the area, it was absolutely delicious. We toured a grand cathedral with these amazing stained glass windows and we learned about the history of the church and which parts have been restored. My favorite thing about the church was the arch way with all the different faces that represents those who explorers met in foreign countries that they sailed to, that people wanted to know what they looked like.
Next we went Alfama District. This is my favorite place thus far. It was a lively city with music, historical architecture, beautiful views, tiled buildings and whimsical art. We saw the entire city from above when we went to castelo obidos. There was also peacocks in a tree which I found interesting. All the tiled buildings were amazing, the people were friendly and the city was lively.
What I loved most was a man playing the guitar and singing while couples got up and were dancing in the square. It was a very human touch moment to see how happy these people are with such simple things.
Everywhere in Portugal has a tie to its history, like an unbreakable bond that never ceases. They don't feel the need to progress because they value the work their history put in and pay homage to that by maintaining the city and preserving it’s history.
Rehabilitation Center Information Session-March 14th,2017- Journal 4
Today we went to a rehab center. What is interesting to learn is the health care system in Portugal is free to all citizens and additionally they classify drug or substance abuse addiction as a mental health disorder. This is non-profit rehab that has created a strong program that help get addicts the help they need and the skills to be reintegrated back into society. They said the most addiction cases are hasheesh,alcohol, cocaine and heroin. I asked several questions about how they pay for the addicts, what their polices are regarding visitation, I asked about how they promote their establishment. After this we took a tour the venue which used to be someones palace. It was a beautifully peaceful place to be. Following the rehab center we went to the garden the recovering patients were using for work. It was amazing to see how much purpose in life this rehab center gave them. There was tons of large greenhouses that were all being ran by this community of recovering addicts.
Our next stop today was Obidos Monte Da Canasta. This had amazing landscaping and again the bright colored architecture was breathtaking. We had a really amazing lunch and then walked in the little vendor shops, ending this excursion by climbing up to get a birds eye view. There was a man playing an accordion underneath us it really European (if that makes sense?).
After this we had a meeting with our tour guide and professors to discuss paying for the Fado, getting our journals submitted and how our behavior needs to change. It was a challenging meeting to hear but necessary.
Later that evening we went to a beautiful restaurant 700 feet from the Hotel. We got bottles of Portuguese wine and had traditional meals. I had the pork with veggies and roasted potatoes. I was supposed to go to the soccer game, but my pupils were extremely dilated and essentially I was blinded, so I opted for a quiet dinner with the homies.
Start up Lisbon, Caiscais, Sintra Sao Martinho, Fado-March 13th,2017-Journal 5
In the morning we went to a company that finds innovated individuals with ideas for new products and designs for various industries. They teach them the business side of starting up a company. We spoke to several individuals who worked there and described their experience with the company and the roles they took. We also got to speak to one individual in particular who was in the process of creating and patenting a revolutionary device in the music industry. This device essentially helps on all levels of sound production. We got a chance to hear him describe the process he went through, and his struggles with entering a business foreground with an artistic background of education. This was extremely interesting and showed us the struggle of start up companies in Portugal which also gave us an unseen insight to the economic struggles they are facing.
Following up the start up company we headed off to Caiscais. We did a small tour and then got to pick a place for lunch. After brief deliberation of where to lunch Pilar to the “LEGENDARY” Piri Piri Chicken. We had this with some wine and french fries. “It was nothing to write home about”- Menry. It was really interesting process how they make it and how this place specializes in making this. We also finally got gelato today! I got the strawberry gelato it was truly mouthwatering delicious.
After CaisCais we went off to Sintra. Sintra had the most beautiful landscape with grand buildings most in tile and this amazing Castle. The Castle was probably one of favorite of the organized sight seeing we did. Pilar told us these fascinating stories of the kings and the drama. she also told us all the silverware and such were made out of led at the time. We went to this grand room with all tile murals. It was a very enriching experience educational and quite funny.
After Sintra we went back to the hotel to change for Fado. Fado was a really exciting night. I got the Pork and had the red wine. All the courses were unbelievably good especially the passionfruit mouse. The signing was shocking they were so talented and to do a special show with them all together at the end was so sweet.
After the Fado it was really nice to go out all together with Tiago and experience a little of the night life before heading off to the hotel.
College Debate, EU Portugal Drug Policy Center, Re-Food, Dinner- March 14th,2017-Journal 6
This morning we went to the ….College. It was drastically different than that of an American College, it actually reminded me of an elementary school. It lacked a lot of resources. There we got to discuss with the professionals who are in school for their PHDs and we got to debate various topics in the class. Sofia and I were a group with two other women, one whom was a journalist and the other was getting her degree in post dynasty furniture. We discussed a variety of topics and had really similar views on most. We discussed women and the socio economic environment, taxes, health care, United States and Trump and unemployment mostly. Everyone in the class presented their materials from the debate the vast perspectives between ourselves and them and between each group was an amazing network to watch unfold.
After this we went to an EU Portugal drug writing policy center and spoke with two experts in the field that contribute to the drug writing policy. There they went through all their findings, how they came to decriminalizing the drugs and how it has changed since.
After that we went to a really cool non for profit business called “Re-food”. We learned about history of Refood how it started and why, what success it has had and what’s in store for the future. We learned about the distribution and the supply chain for it as well. We also learned the ministry of health services typically picks the families that need the assistance of refood. After this we were sent to one of the locations to volunteer and help pick up, pack and deliver the food. This was a rewarding experience and was glad to be able to help contribute in a small way to the community that we were apart of even if only for a week.
We went to a really interesting and unique venue with a series of only bars that you could be seated at. I had the waiters recommendation it was a red meat dish in a sauce it was delicious.
College Visit and Free Day- Last Day, The last supper-March 16th,2017-Journal 7
For our last day we went to visit an institute for Social Sciences for a panel of 6 experts to discuss 6 different topics and crises that are prevalent in Portugal.
Topic 1: Food Crisis, especially for the youth going to school and we looked at typical meals and meal programs offered.
Topic 2: Women’s Health and Patterns of Reproduction. Many women aren't having as many kids anymore. They believe this is due to the economy.
Topic 3: Migration, the youth are living at home much longer and are depending on the support of their parents and parents are depending on the support of their parents.
Topic 4: Taxation, we learned about various income tax bracketts, food, health care etc.
Topic 5: Education, we learned about the education system they have offered and the success rate of such.
That night we went to a traditional restaurant that specializes in a particular meal and prepared it for us. We had sangria and were given pork with pineapple, soup, salad and a ago sorbet with chocolate for dessert. It was a great last meal. We spent the day shopping in the markets and went to the beer museum again for old times sake.
We all celebrated the end of our trip by going out one last time in Portugal.
This trip was the best week of my entire life, nothing comes close to this week for me. This trip meant the world to me. Thank you to everyone who made this so special.
Back to the good ol’ USA-March 17th,2017-Journal 8
We woke up and got on the bus to headed to the airport. The Portuguese airport had significantly more security checks. We went to duty free and got some keep sakes and wine. I went to lunch to eat. We almost missed our gate it was a really intense process. We were stuck in security check for hour as our plane was closing boarding and we were finally taken out of line in twos to be moved front and pushed through. We finally got to board our plane and began the journey home. I watched Tarzan. It was pretty shocking right off the bat because of the drastic change in weather.
Smith was kind enough to give me a ride back to campus. Where I decided to stay because I am from New York and my car was plowed in, and iced over. I also locked myself of my car with my car in reverse and my phone in the car, lesson to be learned is that not only do I take Ls in Portugal but I take them in the US as well.
Back in the United States I was definitely experiencing Euro-Withdrawls. It was cold and dreary and I miss being able to walk to a beautiful pastry shop and get a cafe and walk around in a jacket and be comfortable. I am very nostalgic at this point about the trip. I think we are all feeling similarly. I slept all day Saturday and relaxed.
Working on the presentation for the cultural project was a great way to reflect on the cultural aspect of the class and the trip it was nice collaboratively working with all the homies from the trip.
The presentation day itself was a great turn out and a great time!