Spain and Portugal Trip Part 4

23-24 December => Salamanca -> Fatima -> Lisbon

okie okie.. i knoe it appears as if i've lost my drive to blog about the trip since i've arrived on singapore soils. Truth is.. I've been caught up with so much other stuff... meeting with frens, spending time with babe, shopping and just snoozing. hehe. oh well.. so here i am spending the wee hours in the morning uploading these photos and trying my best to recall how it felt then to best describe the scene as told in the pictures. haha. i guess i've to admit tt some content is lost in the midst of translation. but i'm trying at least!!! so here goes...

after hours and hours of cross country driving... never ending miles of land. plains tt stretch further than the eye can see. And what intriguied me most was the drastic change of weather conditions with every ten minutes of our travel. As we chugged thru the mountainous borders btw Spain and Portugal, mists and grey intimidating skies gripped us. it was a sense, comforting for me. like a trip back to the gloom, where all was cold, and the nights were neverending. Alas, that didn't last to long for as soon as we cruised across tt particular stretch, it was like Alice stepping thru the looking glass. wah la! we were in Portugal, the land of sunshine and green pastures...

having been in a slight greyish mood from being in Spain the past few days, stepping into portugal was like a breathe of fresh air. Here, colours were much more vivid, more vibrant and held a greater contrast. and with the sunshine, came back the heat. and boy was it hot in the afternoon as we came to experience later in the afternoon.

and as we spent a good half a day travelling,we were only left with the rest of the afternoon to sight see. first stop and last stop for the day: FATIMA? ahh? fatima? haha. yesh, in case u pple are wondering. Fatima in this case is the name of a place. Here we visited the Shrine of Fatima which is a place of worship constructed to commemorate the miraculous appearance of Virgin Mary to 3 children in 1917. oh well, there was actually a pretty long story behind it. One which was narrated to us by our dearest tour guide on the bus. However, I let it slip by me. hehe. Guess it wasn't reallie worth remembering for me. All i recall was tt the place was scorching...

The sun was amazingly high in the sky..and trust me i was prespiring thru my sweater. argh...

my heart went out to these believers tt drag themselves along the tiled floor tt stretched at least 300 m from one end to another. Whether it was on their knees or on their bellies with their head bowed low and eyes filled with a certain sadness tt i find hard to contemplate. the sun and its immaculate heat did its toll on them.

So here came the end of our tourings for the day since we had spent most of it on the roads making our longest road trip from Madrid to Lisbon. we settled into the hotel for a good nights rest to prep ourselves for the long day ahead.
I was rather excited since I was looking forward to more sunny weather and beautiful coast at Lisbon. We were also told about an extremely famous portugese egg tart shop set in the centre of the city where people come for their daily dosage of these lovely little treasure. oh my gosh.. was so looking forward to tt.
However, we HAD to start off the day with wat else? visit to a church!!! *yawnz*.. wat wat!?! i'm asleep alr. hehe. Yesh.. so here we got to see the Jeonimo's Monastry. a reallie humongous church with scary decor inside and even a tomb of Vasco Da Gama. now tts just eery. but nonetheless, the structure as seen from the outside was breath-taking with fine strong walls and superb ornate cloisters on the inside.
Then after a round of extremely boring explanation and yada yada tok about the history of the church. we went on a short walk to the legendary Passeris de Belim better known as the portugese egg tart shop. On first look, the shop looked normal from the outside, with the glass windows showcasing the many different kinds of pastries as well as their most famour egg tarts. Customers were in the line queueing to purchase their box of egg tarts to bring home. However as we were led deeper into the shop. A left turn here, a right turn there, it came to my realisation how big the shop premise was. The place could seat at least 200 people with much room to maneuver still. Very impressive.
Needless to say, the experience wouldn't be complete if we hadn't tried some of their egg tarts. One bite into the crisp pastry and i was sold. it reallie was the best egg tart i had by far... with the custardy base still slightly warm and the shortcrust pastry base flaky and extremely crisp. i was in perpetual heaven for a fleeting moment. Now if only i could figure i way to ship these back to Singapore. haha.Now with heavy stomachs and our sweet tooths satisfied. We headed down to the coast for some sea breeze and photo taking. I vaguely remember the few monuments tt we were told about but guess they weren't of much importance. at least not to me. haha. look at me, i'm a failure when it comes to cultural stuff.
oh wait a min.. think there's one thing i remember. tt bridge u see in the background.. it runs for 17km long! hehe.. woots. two way back and fro and u've got a full marathon. hehe.
After lunch, I, Mum, ah-yi and Gabriel decided to go for the optional tour at Cascais and Sintra whilst Trevor and my uncle stayed back in the hotel. gosh.. finally the best decision made by far. The tour was amazing. Bringing us to the western coast of Lisbon where the rich and the famous dwell. THe beaches were amazing, ever so warm even in winter. Luxurious hotels spread along the picturesque coastline and the drive was not just a drive. it was awe-inspiring. Finally got a chance to touch the atlantic ocean. hehe. silly.. but its still the real deal anyway.
From there we travelled to the western most end of the European Continent. Legend has it tt travellers came to this point of the land and they became so sure tt nothing else cld exist beyond tt horizon and tt the sun just miraculously disappeared below the planes of the earth at sundown. it's an amusing thought but very magical once u experienced for urself the sunset. the orange glows cast over the raging seas lyke a blanket. the winds up on the cliffs were fierce. But somehow i enjoyed the sense of vulnerability, of exposure. feels like being broken down. Humbled by God's power. For once, i felt lucky to be at tt place at tt very moment.

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