29 April 2010
26 April 2010
The bullring is in a big circle, so although we were sitting in the cheap tickets up high, we could still see everything.
Not that missing some parts would have been so bad....
The entire bull fight events consists of 6 actual bull fights. First, matador assistants wave around pink and yellow capes to get a feel for how the bull is.
Next, two picadores enter the ring on horseback. One of these guys must stab the bull with their lancers. The bull almost always went for the horses, who were blindfolded and must have been wearing an insane amount of armour!!
Next, three banderilleros enter the ring with hopes of stabbing their banderillas (spiked wooden sticks) into the neck of the bull. When they miss, the crowd goes crazy!
When the star matador, the torero, enters the ring, the pink cape is switched out for a red one. He puts on quite a show, waving his cape around and having staredowns with the bull, until he uses his long sword and plunges it into the bull´s neck.
One bull down, five to go.
Once the bull falls, the ear is cut off and the body is drug out of the ring. The groundskeepers come out, clean up the ground, and another bull comes out.
I can´t say I would go to another one, but I am glad that I went. My favorite part: the traditional matador outfits! What is not to like about pink tights and sequins?Sora and Caitlin wore red!
20 April 2010
Showers aside, we had a great time! We owe a huge majority of our good time to our fabulous hosts, Teresa and Mafalda. They are sisters studying in Lisbon and they graciously opened their apartment to us. Mafalda had lived in the US (Vail, as an au pair) and Teresa had just returned from a trip to London, so we had a lot to talk about!
They took us around their city--pointing out historical and fun facts. Our first stop in the downtown area was Mude, a fashion and design museum. It was really neat! The building was an old not-quite-finished bank, so it had a cool industrial feel.
- Me: old postcards and pictures (the girls translated one of them..."Son, we haven't heard from you in a while... are you still going to class??"
- Mafalda: brand new zebra print Vans shoes
- Sora: fringed boots (for 1.50 Euro!!)
After our successful shopping, we unpacked our picnic lunch and enjoyed our sandwiches and fruit at a scenic spot.
On our way to the train station, we found a line of stalls selling handmade goods. Sora and I were taking many, many mental notes so we can recreate the cute things at home!
We took a train to Belem, a district of Lisbon. It is on the river so it was very windy! There were a lot of windsurfers and sailboats on the water and they were flying!
We visited the monastery in Belem and then headed over to the main event, pasteries at Pasteis de Belem. There was huge line outside, so we knew it was going to be good! Both Mafalda and Teresa couldn't really describe the pastery, so we were very intrigued! Result: very tasty! It was a bit like flan (but better) in a crust.
We finished the day at a birthday party for one of their friends. The night consisted of Lady Gaga sing and dancealongs, tons of food, and a trivia game. It was a good time!
Photo by Mafalda: origami and tea, our Sunday.
On Sunday morning, we decided lounge around and hang out at the apartment. We drank tons of tea, watched many movies, and were taught by Sora how to make some origami. When the sun went down, we finally spotted a drag queen on their street! (Quite scary)
By the end of the day, we were all very sad our visit was over!
15 April 2010
We were off the train at town #1, Riomaggiore. We walked the easy and paved Via dell'Amore ("Walk of Love") to town #2, Manarola. Our backs were laden down with our "luggage" so I am happy it was only 20 minutes!
Our little town was our favorite! There weren't a lot of tourists and it was very pretty. The main street was lively the night we arrived so we decided to scope it out and explore a little.
We started the day off nice and early to get a jump start on the trail. We planned to hike to town #3 Corniglia, #4 Vernazza, and #5 Monterosso. It was a nice, all-day event!
When we were walking back to our meeting point, our guide shared a little story with Sora and I.... a few years ago, the Pope wanted to come visit Siena. His people sent the Siena people the date he wanted to visit. Unfortunately, his dates fell during the same time as the Palio date. The Palio changes for no one, so Siena told the Pope to reschedule!!
Our next stop was lunch at an organic farm and winery just outside San Gimignano. We had a great lunch of almost all farm-grown/raised food items. Homemade pasta, wine, and more!
We visited the hill town of San Gimignano and then headed to Pisa by bus. The bus ride was absolutely gorgeous! A lot of people fell asleep (full of wine and yummy food) but I didn't want to miss the scenery!
From the bus window!
Our next stop: Florence. We had a bit of trouble for our hostels and fell victim to April's higher prices.
In Florence we headed to the Duomo. As we were approaching the Easter weekend, I was expecting the crowds to pick up everywhere we went. Luckily standing in the line allowed us ample time to check out the Duomo's pink, green, and white marble exterior. Sora kept saying that it looked like paper from far away!
Bridges at night.
Pretty night view from Piazzale Michelangelo.
14 April 2010
13 April 2010