Last Bits of Lisbon

We woke up to a nice breakfast this morning down in the lobby of our hotel; toast, zucchini bread, fresh fruit, boiled eggs, croissants, pastries, and yogurt. We sat, talked, and enjoyed the sunshine while it peaked through the glass windows on the street side. After getting ready, we headed out for our first museum of the day, Museo Calouste Gulbenkian. I had heard about this museum before coming to Portugal so I was happy that we fit it in to our schedule. The museum was amazing to see, walking around new and old works of portraits, sculptures, abstract and interactive media forms. They even had history of Portugal, which was useful to learn since I hadn’t know a whole lot before coming.


We walked through a little garden path to get to the other building of the museum, where we saw more masterpiece paintings and some very intricate jewelry pieces. All of it was breathtaking to see in person.


From there, we took a cab to the train station where we walked around in the sun and picked up a quick lunch at a small shop. We then walked down the street to the Museu de Arte, Arquitetura e Tecnologia (The MAAT) where we saw modern videos, interactive media, game pieces, and the insides of a coal refinery system. Most of the videos were not quite my interest, except a few that caught my eye, including one about the economic recession of 2007/2008. This film was so well made and compositionally appeasing, I thought I was sitting at a movie theater instead of a gallery.


The structure of the building connected to a modern spaceship style structure where people could walk up and take pictures of the view of the river and the Ponte 25 de Abril Suspension Bridge. With blue skies and wispy clouds, the views were incredible, and one of the top moments of the week.

We continued the day by walking down the boardwalk – grabbing ice cream on the way to pick our spirits up – to see more monuments of Portugal. We stopped to see Padrão dos Descobrimentos and the Belém Tower. Both amazing enormous structures with so much history attached. I made sure to get a bunch of pictures for those who couldn’t come on this trip.

Catching our last cab for the day we drove back to the hotel to drop our stuff off and go out for our last dinner. We went to Italian Republic to enjoy some classic Italian cuisine. I ordered linguine pescatore with a glass of vino verde (a specialty to Portugal) and a molten chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream for dinner. We talked and ate and talked some more, relaxing before a day of flying ahead of us. Everything was absolutely amazing and so worth running around the last two days. A great end to an experience I will never forget.

Landed in Lisbon!

After a very rainy 4 hour bus ride early in the morning, we arrived at our hotel, Hotel White in downtown area of the city of Lisbon. We walked in and were blown away by the fancy, clean appearance of our hotel, much different from the rustic lifestyle we were residing in, just hours before. We quickly washed up and headed out to find some food. We took a cab to the Museu Nacional do Azulejo, where we ate some food at a quaint restaurant inside the Museum. We explored the rest of the Museum, learning about the history and making of ancient tiles, paintings, sculptures, etc.


We moved onto the next museum of the day, which was more on the modern side, called Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporanea do Chiado. Although I enjoyed seeing the architecture and some of the pieces, this museum was more up Brandon and Larisha’s alley since their were more sculptures. Still, we got to see the work of some of the latest artists competing in the March showcase, so it was fun to see such current work.

Since it was still raining at this point, none of us really wanted to walk outside very much, so we opted to hit some stores to pick up souvenirs for friends and family. We stopped at a vintage bookstore, a modern soap and craft shop, a pottery store, a common souvenir shop for knick-knacks, and a few more. We also dropped in at the neatest t-shirt shop with urban designs on them.


Exhausted and hungry from the day, we went out to dinner at my new favorite place in Portugal called Time Out. This place is a food market for the newest and tastiest foods, and the best place for chefs to test out their new creations. Tons of shops were laid out around the center tables of the market, anything from sushi and Asian, classic Portuguese, fresh meats, Italian, and many more. I opted to go a little adventurous by ordering a salmon, cuttlefish, lettuce, and seaweed sandwich on a black bun, with sautéed veggies. Ugh, delicious! We then had to get fresh gelato of course! So I got a small cup of coconut, caramel, and hazelnut gelato. My week was made!

Stuffed from dinner, we headed back to our hotel to refresh and shower. It felt amazing to finally take a nice, long, hot shower after a week in the countryside. Though it was late, the three of us wanted to make the most of our last days in Portugal by adventuring out in the city and seeing the nightlife. Needless to say, Portugal people are night owls!

Horsing Around

Our final day at the farmhouse and we started our day off with finishing up our clay molds from the other day. We heated up some more agar liquid and poured it into the molds. Then we put in other random substances or materials that could cause more bacteria to produce. I put rocks, flowers, and a little leaf in 3 of mine. I also took pictures of the other terrariums from yesterday that the other students created.

After working on the molds, we then walked down passed the stream and wildlife that we had visited yesterday and ventured onto another farm that trained horses. We walked around and pated the horses and fed them carrots and apples. My two favorites were their Lusitano pure-bred horses named Jupiter and Champagne. They were beautiful silky tan/brown colors and had long dark brown manes. There were also a couple of funny roosters marching and stomping around the farm. The land was absolutely beautiful and lush green with lots of rolling hills.


After walking back to the house, we ate some lunch of the remaining leftovers from last night and made a couple of pots of coffee and tea with fresh strawberries and chocolate candies for mid afternoon snacks. With the inside of the house so cold, it was nice to feel the warmth of the coffee. Brandon, Larisha, and I later took a quick trip down to Gabriella’s café for another coffee and sweet coconut cream sweet to warm us up. All in all I think I had like four cups of coffee, but I think the cold weather called for that badly.

Later on in the day we attempted to make prints with mushroom tops, by laying the spores flat on a piece of paper, sprinkling water onto their backs and covering them with a glass bowl to heat them up. This way, they might lay completely flat and create a leftover print onto the paper. Unfortunately, I think it was still too cold for them too lay flat, so we were unable to see them leave a print before we left.


After taking a little break in the day, we were all very hungry for dinner. We walked down the street to a nice quaint restaurant. I got the fish of the day, Bacalhau a Bras, which was really good, and a small side salad with lettuce, tomatoes, and onions. Simple, yet delicious. I also had a rich chocolate mouse cup for dessert, even though I was full from dinner. When in Europe, eat what you can I guess!

Horsing around with biology

Today was pretty laid back, we started out by filling our personalized petri dishes with agar. I used my families cheek swabs on these. I also was able to take a closer look at my hair under the scope! The sun stuck around for most of the day with a few sprinkles here and there but it was awfully chilly , brrrrrrr. We took a small walk to see the horses down the road. We didn’t get to ride, but it was nice to get out for a bit. Our last little experiment was mushroom spore prints!