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Excursion: Portugal

Cailey Oehler
April 1, 2014

This weekend we packed our things and headed west for IES Salamanca’s biggest excursion of the semester, a 3-day trip to Portugal. While a few days may not sound like much time, we managed to pack in tons of sightseeing as a group, both in the historic centers of two of Portugal’s most beautiful and historic cities and along the scenic and rugged coast, and still have plenty of time to stroll the narrow and steeply sloping streets of Lisbon’s Bairro Alto by night.

Friday morning our first stop was in Coimbra, where we visited Portugal’s oldest university (which is more recent than Salamanca’s but still boasts an amazing amount of history). After exploring the old library and chapel, we had the opportunity to walk along a very high balcony from which we were able to see panoramic vistas of the city far below. When we finished with our visit to the university, we meandered downhill with our guide, who gave us information on each historical landmark we passed, including a church built in an essentially Romanesque style but showing Arab influences. During free time we enjoyed some delicious regional pastries and explored a park by the banks of the river. We piled back onboard the bus and headed to Lisbon where we checked into our very comfortable hotel and relaxed a bit before the evening’s main event: a delicious dinner and performance of traditional Portuguese Fado songs and dances.

Saturday started early with a guided visit to the historic center of Lisbon and the Castillo de San Jorge (which had some gorgeous resident peacocks!), which was followed by perhaps my favorite part of the weekend, a visit to the famous boca do inferno, where we watched the North Atlantic’s waves crash against the coast and enjoyed salt air and sunshine. We spent a pleasant afternoon in the coastal town of Cascais, where I walked the sand and explored shaded parks and winding streets. Upon returning to Lisbon we visited the monasterio de los Jerónimos, built in gratitude for a safe journey to India by Portuguese explorers. After strolling through the cloistered courtyard I took an elevator to the top of the monumento a los descubrimientos to see a stunning view of the city and the water.

We had the evening free to explore, and after a delicious and relaxing breakfast in our hotel, we turned our course back toward Salamanca, making one last stop in Fatima, where we had the opportunity to visit the basilica built in commemoration of the apparitions of the Virgin Mary which are said to have occurred there in 1917.

It seems impossible to choose a true highlight from this delightful weekend of exploring Spain’s neighboring nation: obrigada, and until next time, adeus! Students ready to explore the university in Coimbra The view from the university's balcony La catedral vieja A lovely plaza in Coimbra At our group dinner in Lisbon Fado performers Another scene from the Fado performance Regal resident of the castle of San Jorge Boca do Inferno Clear waters in Cascais The cloisters of the Monasterio de los Jerónimos Impressive view from the Monument to Discovery The Basilica of Our Lady of Fatima

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Cailey Oehler

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">I am a junior at Bowdoin College, where I am majoring in Spanish and minoring in Art History and Teaching. I&#39;m outgoing and inquisitive, and getting to know other people is how I make sense of this mixed-up and beautiful world. My favorite hobbies are baking bread, playing ukulele, and camping. I love exploring new places and am looking forward to getting to know Salamanca as well as the fun and challenges I&#39;ll encounter in my travels around Europe.</span></p>

2014 Spring
Home University:
Bowdoin College
Art History
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