Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
The two days in Amsterdam were amazing! We could live in Amsterdam! The riverbanks, the museums, the people and just the air gave us a euphoric feeling. Even after nearly colliding with many bicycles several times, thanks to Bens super human reactions, we were still in a euphoric state. It felt like home, especially after being asked if I was Dutch because I apparently had a Dutch name Kok which means chef. That made me want to stay!
We only had time for a couple of museums and art galleries, especially the unmissable Van Gogh gallery (pronounced as Vong Hogh). We soaked in as much food, culture and sights as possible, but two days is never enough. We will definitely be back!
Pictures to come.
Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Hola! Portugal was fantastic! We were quite sad to leave, sitting at the bus stop, waiting for a bus to take us to the airport, contemplating what it would be like to stay for another six days or even six months.
Most of our time was spent in Lisbon, soaking in the culture, the sights and the sun. We stayed in a youth hostel on the coast of Costa Da Caparica, a quiet coastal area on the other side of the river Tagus from the buzzing city of Lisbon. Costa was a quiet sleepy part of town with a gorgeous beach lining the entire coast. The mix of residents in the town was unique, a blend of Turkish, Africans, Brazillians and Portugese. The seafood was delicious and fresh, but ordering was not as straight forward as eating it. Using our "Learn to speak basic Portugese" book, plus alot of hand gestures and pointing at other people's food, we survived.
The history in Lisbon was overwhelming. Some of the centuries old castles and churches are right in the middle of the city. The city blends history through its unique architecture with modern commercialism. Baicha Chaido is my favourite place, blending hills of castles, commercial hub and coastal areas.
The highlight was seeing an Aqueduct stretching from one part of the city to the other. As I recall from my readings, aqueducts are built by cities that had been through a "golden age", which facilliated the transportation of water. Have a look at the photos.
We tracked off to Sintra, an little town outside of Lisbon which houses a few castles of varying age. The oldest was the Moorish Castle built back in the 800AD. It is in semi-ruins and the views from the castle were amazing. We also visited one of the Palacio, which was stunning, full of bright colours and textures. See photos! The town below the castle was buzzing with monarchic vibe, with old cafes, little unique shops and a market, although littered with modern buses and cars. The streets in Sintra were narrow. I am amazed by the skills of the bus drivers, driving through the hilly two-way narrows streets with cars parallel parked on one side!
Bomdia! The city of Porto is 4 hours north of Lisbon by train.
It was so hilly that you could get a nice butt just by walking up and down the streets everyday. We stayed only 2 days in Porto in a small town two hours from the city called Viana De Costello. It was a very quiet and affluent town in the northern bay. It was a little like Coffs Harbour with European influences. We had the experience of being in a taxi travelling to Porto on a highway with no speed limit. We were going approximately 180kms per hour and were being overtaken by small Barinas (they are called Opels in Portugal) and Fiats going twice the speed and feeling their swooshes in the taxi. Amazing!
Finally, the game was amazing! Netherlands vs Germany. We felt like dwarfs sitting around German fans who were ginormous, and totally towering over us when a goal was struck.