One of my favorite movies ever is “While You Were Sleeping.” I have always really related to Lucy, the main character–especially the part about how she has a passport with no stamps in it. That unfulfilled dream of seeing the world was so familiar to me that it made my heart ache.
And then came England, where I got my first stamp in my passport*. I felt so grown up. So exotic. I have been to a place. Not places–yet–but a place that is cool and I have been there. Whoa.
But according to the University, that stamp wasn’t sufficient for my visa status. I’ll spare you the boring details about why, but that meant that I would have to leave the country within three months and re-enter through a different port of access so that my visa could be properly activated and I wouldn’t get kicked out.
So I went to Portugal. Ugh. What a chore. (*wink wink*)
Really, though, Portugal was amazing. The people were so kind, the country was gorgeous, the history was fascinating. I saw dolphins. I worked on my book on my private balcony, listening to the sound of a hundred storks all chattering on the rooftops. I have so many pictures to share–so don’t worry, this is just a small taste of what’s coming.
And now I have a few more stamps in my passport to commemorate my first ever trip to a foreign country where I don’t speak the language.
Tenho amor pelo mundo. I am in love with the world.
Faro Cathedral has existed on this site in various incarnations since well before the 1200s. This latest version was constructed in the Baroque Period, hence the heavy use of gilding. There are ten small chapels inside, with a sacristy, baptistery, and ornate organs as well. And yes, there will be a post about this place. Promise.
(This is what happens when I am so busy getting ready for my trip that I completely forget to take a photo until right before I go to bed…)
“Capela de Ossos” means “Chapel of Bones”, and it is no figure of speech. This chapel is constructed almost entirely out of the bones and skulls of over 1200 monks. Creepy, yes, but also kind of fascinating. An inscription over the door reads, “Stop here and consider the fate that will befall you.” I did, and it made me grateful for my optimistic beliefs about the next life!
With weather as warm and sunny as it was in Faro, it was really easy to forget that it was December. Thank goodness Faro decided to decorate or I might have forgotten that Christmas is right around the corner. (Say what?! It’s December?!)
The hotel I stayed in had a lovely courtyard with a fountain and koi pond. I enjoyed watching the fish while I ate my breakfast in the sunshine. It’s okay to be jealous.
Back in Newcastle, I joined my YSA for a rousing game of Heads Up after FHE. I just realized that that sentence doesn’t make any sense if you’re not Mormon.
(YSA=”Young Single Adults” – Our church has a lot of activities designed to help YSAs fellowship with one another. FHE=”Family Home Evening” – Our church really encourages family bonding, and Family Home Evening is when we set aside one night–usually Mondays–to spend as a family learning gospel lessons, playing games, and having treats. In areas where there are a lot of YSAs without families close, we usually organize group FHEs where our YSA friends become our surrogate families. How many more times can I use YSA and FHE in one paragraph?)
I took a 40-mile tour of the Algarve Coast on Yacht Moena. The weather was gorgeous, the sea caves were incredible, and the water was actually that color. In fact, when we took the smaller glass-bottomed boats to see the sea caves, it was the color of jade! Amazing!
Obrigada, Faro! I will see you again someday.
* Well, Dublin, really. But since I didn’t leave the airport, I don’t count it as going to Ireland…