Friday, December 2, 2016

Emma's Turns Sweet Sixteen In Portugal

After spending two wonderful days in Lisbon, we rented a car and headed to a quiet villa near Sintra where we spent the remainder of our time in Portugal.  

We were right next door to what looked like a cute little hobby farm, complete with ducks, geese, chickens, and large garden plots.  
The villa was large enough for us all to stay there together.   Since it was homey, it  meant that we could get settled in and get comfortable for our time there.  There was a kitchen to cook in, a washing machine for laundry, and beds enough for everyone but Spence, who slept on a couch.   

Portugal apparently has a thing for castles on hilltops.    In Lisbon, there was the one where we surprised Emma and in Sintra, there are two.    One, called the Palace de Pena,  is bright and colorful, the other a moorish castle is gray and dull by comparison.   We opted to visit the colorful one built by King Ferdinand II in the 1800's.  

We enjoyed admiring the beautiful view from high atop the hill...

and enjoyed walking around the lovely surroundings.  

It was another gorgeous day...

and it honestly was just quite nice to spend the time outdoors....

The fact that we were at a lovely castle on top of a mountain in Portugal was just an added bonus!  

My little nephews  decided that photobombing Emma was a fun past-time!  (THEY ADORE HER and will miss her when she comes home in a few weeks!!!)

Here are some interior pictures....

And these little cuties were melting my heart!

Another day there in Sintra we visited Quinta da Regaleira, a UNESCO world heritage site.  The interior was a little more boring than Palace de Pena, but the grounds were SUPER COOL!   

We walked through interesting tunnels,

got put in the dungeon....

and crossed through alligator infested waters (haha!  There weren't really any alligators, although we teased that there could have been underneath all that algae.)

These cute stairs were crying out for a quick photo shoot!   I miss my sweet Emma! 

I had to take a picture of my footwear for the day, since I laughed every time I looked down.   It rained so much during our trip in May, that we all packed Crocs for our main shoes.    They were actually surprisingly comfortable and other than feeling a little unfashionable every time I wore them, they were actually great shoes for traveling--lightweight and totally waterproof!

I loved spending time with all these awesome people!

I was totally obsessed with finding missionaries  on our trip.   Walking through the town of Sintra on a Monday (their preparation day) was the only time we did other than at church on Sundays.    I was so excited to find them and take them out for ice cream!    Imagine my surprise when Spence walked up while we were talking to them and knew one of them from our home stake.    It totally made my day!

Speaking of church, we went to the Mems-Martins ward near Sintra on Sunday.   Of all of the times we've attended church in foreign countries (New Zealand, Iceland, Italy, France, and Portugal), this one was by far my favorite.  

The fact that it was our favorite had mostly to do with the fact that we happened to be there the day of the Primary Program.  Talk about a beautiful tender mercy.  Listening to those sweet children (all 12 of them) bear their testimonies and sing the beloved primary songs in Portuguese was something I'll never forget.      

My favorite comment from my 4-year-old nephew, Jack, upon hearing the familiar primary songs playing from the piano, "At least the piano is in English!!!"  

Emma turned Sweet Sixteen while we were there!     Mostly it was just a day of exploring and enjoying, but  we did take her out for a special meal to celebrate.    Too bad the menu was all in Portuguese and  google translate wasn't much help.

We ended up with a few weird things...

but mostly it was pretty good! 

Overall, we loved Portugal and we loved being with Emma on her birthday!    I definitely want to come back here with Glen sometime!  


Saimi said...

Oh my gosh another cool trip!! so fun and I love that you found the missionaries !

Rachel said...

Oh! Those castles look amazing!!!
I love that you got to attend the Primary Program, and especially that the piano was in English! So cute!

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