Chicken Noodle's travels through
the Homeland...
Portugal Days 1 - 5

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Welcome to friendly shores!

Day 1

Lisboa, Alverca

  • Language mix-ups
  • Well-fed
  • Late-night festivities

Journal Entry

I flew in to Lisbon from Rome and met up with my family. We settled in Alverca for some family time before heading out to Lisbon to witness the festival of Santo António. We watched the parade and explored some of Lisbon by night.

Portugal first came to be in 1139 when Afonso Henriques reconquered the small county of Portucale from the Moors at Ourique. The reconquest was completed in 1249 with the capture of Algarve, and the continental border has remained virtually unchanged ever since, though the country has seen several revolutions since then, ridding itself of Spanish rule in the 1660s, abolishing the monarchy in 1910, and the Carnation Revolution of 1974 overthrowing Salazar.

Excuse me, could you please direct me to the beach?

Day 2

Vilar, Lisbon Coast

  • All things Dad
  • Fruit of the sea
  • Ow, my back!
  • Bikiniless beaches

Journal Entry

This morning we went to Vilar, where my father was raised, to meet some of my father's side of the family. We enjoyed a seaside lunch, and got a whirlwind tour of many of the beaches along the Lisbon Coast.

In 1755, a great earthquake struck Portugal and leveled the city of Lisbon. The quake struck in the early morning of All Saints' Day, toppling churches and crushing the crowds gathered within. Festival candles caused fires that raged for days. An hour following the final aftershock, a tsunami swept the city and killed thousands of people that had gathered in opens squares seeking safety from collapsing buildings. The death toll is estimated at 90,000; a third of Lisbon's population. Marquês de Pombal's quick response of "bury the dead and feed the living" prevented an epidemic of disease, restored order, and set Lisbon on its quick path to restoration.

Set sail!

Day 3


  • Touring the capital
  • Monuments of past glory
  • Meal experiments
  • The "good" cousin

Journal Entry

Today was a chance to tour the capital, from the squares of Baixa, to the monuments of Belém. A big feast in Benfica that evening provided the opportunity for both sides of the family to come together, and try some exotic dishes for the first time.

The Age of Discovery, a great maritime campaign of the 15th and 16th centuries, made Portugal a mercantile superpower rivaled only by Spain. Portugal established colonies in Timor, Angola, Mozambique, and Brazil, among many others. The breakthrough was Vasco de Gama's discovery of the sea route to India, which would lead to Portugal's control of the Indian Ocean and the spice trade, centred at Goa.

Echo! (Echo!... Echo!...)

Day 4

Sintra, Cabo da Roca, Cascais

  • Orlando Bloom is stalking me
  • Castle of castles
  • The edge of the Earth
  • Rocky coasts

Journal Entry

A trip up to Sintra afforded a visit to the eclectic Palácio da Pena as well as the park of Monserratte, with its widely varying specimens of plant life. We got to stand at the western-most point of continental Europe at Cabo da Roca, smell the fresh ocean breeze at the beaches of Cascais, and listen to the thunderous roar of the waves at Boca do Inferno.

Palácio da Pena, on the highest peaks of the Serra de Sintra, was built as a summer palace for the German husband of Queen Maria II in the 19th century. It is an eclectic medley of architectural and decorative styles - Bavarian, Moorish, Gothic, and Manueline - with a striking mix of bright colour and a collection of oddities from around the world. Following the declaration of the Republic in 1910, the palace was converted to a museum.

Oh captain! My captain!

Day 5

Batalha, Viseu

  • The three goals
  • Commemorating irony
  • Spelunking
  • I can't believe I ate the whole thing

Journal Entry

On our way north, we made a stop at Batalha to see Santa Maria da Vitória, an unfinished church built to commemorate the successful defence of Portugal against invading Castilians in the 12th century. Further north, we dove deep into Grutas de Alvados, a set of limestone caves, before continuing on to Viseu for our two-night stay in the Beiras.

When Portugal's direct male line of descent ended with the death of Fernando I, the crown was disputed between Fernando's illegitimate son João and Juan of Castile. On August 14, 1385, Nuno Álvares Pereira commanded João's army, outnumbered 5:1, to an amazing victory, decimating the Castilian army and establishing the House of Avis as the Portuguese monarch, which would last for 200 years through Portugal's most prosperous age.

On to Portugal Day 6

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(C) 2000-2005 David Faria