Where in the World is Fiona? Portugal!

After Spain, Fiona spent about 12 days in Portugal, Spain’s next-door neighbor. We practiced a few words in Portuguese while we were there, including “bom dia” (good morning) and “obrigada” (thank you). Fun fact: How you thank someone in Portuguese changes based on your gender; girls are supposed to say “obrigada” with an “a,” while boys say “obrigado” with an “o.”

During her time there, Fiona stayed in a house next to a river, a hotel in a city, an apartment across from the beach and a farmhouse with cows and horses. Here’s a little more about each stop:

In Sande, we stayed right next to the Douro River, where Fi had fun kayaking with her dad and watching big boats sail by. She also did an amazing job climbing up and down the 500 steps (!) of the Pavia Walkways to a see a cool waterfall and a huge bridge. Fortunately, there was ice cream back at the bottom.

In the city of Porto, we got to stay in a historic hotel. Fiona loved the fancy chandeliers and pictures of royalty on the walls. We visited Livraria Lello, which is considered one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world. Fiona liked the red staircase and stained-glass windows. She picked out a copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to take home.

We also explored the city with Fi’s great-aunt and -uncle, who were visiting at the same time we were. Together, we rode a cable car along the river, walked across the Luis I Bridge and toured the Church of Sao Francisco. There were catacombs in the basement, complete with skull-topped headstones and a big pile of bones you could see through a window in the floor. Before we leaving town, we stopped for lunch at a sandwich shop where Fiona had what she declared was the “best. burger. EVER!!” (She ate it so fast we didn’t even get a picture!)

In Gafanha da Encarnacao, we stayed near the beach. Unfortunately, it was too cold to swim or play in the sand much, but the apartment we stayed in had hammocks that could hang inside or out, and Fiona had a teeny room all to herself at the top of a twisty staircase that she loved playing pretend in. On the day we left, we visited a town called Aveiro where people tie colorful ribbons onto bridges to symbolize friendship and love.

On our last stop in Guimaraes, we stayed in a big farmhouse that was built almost 400 years ago. There were horses and cows on the property, along with a big pool that was too cold to swim in on when we got there, but warmed up (along with the weather) every day we were there. Fiona got to sleep in a beautiful bed with a crown on the headboard. We visited a castle and a palace in town, and got to take a cable car up to the top of a hill where we toured around in a tiny train.

We also took a trip to see a waterfall at Peneda-Geres National Park, where Fiona and her dad dunked into the freezing-cold lake at the bottom of the falls! Here’s what she had to say about it:

“We went to see a waterfall. It was fun, we jumped in a lake. It was NOT super warm but it was fun to swim in. We had to climb over a lot of rocks, and guess what: My parents carried me because I got a big scratch on my knee [on the first part of the hike]. It was fun except for the part when I fell.”

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