Fiona’s last stop in Europe was a country we’d already been to on this trip—Portugal! But this time, we explored two new destinations: the capital city, Lisbon, and an archipelago (group of islands) called the Azores.
Lisbon is a really cool city that’s actually a lot like San Francisco. It’s on the water, it’s super hilly and it even has a Golden Gate Bridge! (Theirs is called the 25 de Abril Bridge.) To kick off our two short days there, we explored the city by land and by sea on a HIPPOtrip tour (which is a little like a duck tour, if you’ve ever done one of those). Here’s what Fiona had to say about it:
It’s like a bus, it’s a bus that does a tour of land and it can go on land or sea. None of us got wet luckily [when we splashed into the water]. We ran to the HIPPO tour, which was not the best idea in the world. [Editor’s note: No, it wasn’t, but sometimes running is necessary when unfamiliar public transportation—and certain five-year-olds—don’t move quite as quickly as you’d like.] But it was really fun, there was a lot of music playing.
We also walked up a big hill to see historic St. George’s Castle, where Portuguese kings used to live hundreds of years ago. By this point in the trip, Fiona had seen a lot of castles, so she was less interested in the history and architecture than she was in the rose-shaped ice cream she got there. But there were also peacocks! So that was pretty neat. Here’s Fi:
The castle was not that interesting. I got a rose ice cream that had three flavors that went from cherry to vanilla to chocolate. Top cherry, middle vanilla, very very bottom, chocolate. [There were] peacock babies and mommy and daddy peacocks too! The owner of the peacocks gave the peacocks food, but then the pigeons ate it all.
In the Azores, we stayed for five days in the city of Ponta Delgada, on the island of Sao Miguel. There were beautiful hikes and beaches and big, bright blue and purple hydrangea flowers everywhere.
We went on a walk to see twin lakes called Lagoa das Sete Cidades that sit in a crater formed by a dormant (not active) volcano. Lagoa Verde is green and Lagoa Azul is blue. Fiona liked the legend that explains why:
[There was] a man and a princess, and the princess’s dad, who is the king, didn’t want them to, you know, hang out with each other because she was a princess and he was a regular man. And so what they did was they cried and [their tears made two lakes.] The princess’s lake was the green lake and the man’s lake was the blue lake because his eyes were blue and her eyes were green.
We also took a day trip to Furnas, where we did a tough hike to an incredible waterfall and checked out some crazy geothermal (the heat that’s inside the earth) action. Since Furnas is also located in a dormant volcanic crater, the ground there is extremely hot—even hot enough to cook things in! Here’s Fiona on Furnas:
[The hike] was super beautiful, I guess? And we went to a waterfall. We climbed up 620 stairs [to get there].
Since the ground’s so hot there, to cook things, they sometimes put pots underground and steam them and that’s how they cook them, then they pull them out.
Another fun thing about the Azores is that, with so much geothermal activity, there are lots of natural hot springs to soak in. We tried a few different ones, including some that had heavy deposits of rust-colored iron. Fiona had a unique take on them:
[We also went to some] hot springs full of IRON. It was super stainable, [it turned my bathing suit] orange. You know Iron Man? This iron was super easy to break, so it’s different iron. Iron Man’s suit is, you know, more [strong].