Friday, August 21, 2015

Days 14 and 15: Coming home

Saturday August 8 was the last day of me and Jason's vacation that we spent with everyone else. We woke up in Lisbon that day, took a flight by ourselves that afternoon back to Madrid, then the next morning took a flight (technically two flights) back to North Carolina. Everyone else spent the full day in Lisbon on Saturday, flew back to Madrid on Sunday, and then flew to the US on Monday.

So, after we had breakfast on Saturday morning, we called David (our taxi driver who had taken us to Sintra the day before) and asked him to take us to the National Tile Museum. Painted tiles have long been a traditional Portuguese staple of decoration (both interior and exterior), and it was cool to see the history of them and the way the styles evolved as time went on.

The area where they were restoring the tiles
The whole building had original old painted tiles along the walls, in addition to all the tiles they had brought in once the building became a museum
Actually one of the older pieces; I liked it because it's kind of optical illusion-y
They had a really decked out chapel in the building too. (The museum is housed in an old convent). I really liked the slanted windows in the outer chapel.




Can you tell what these are?
Grasshoppers!
And butterflies!
If I recall correctly, this one's from around the art deco period (1920s).

On the third floor, they had an amazing, huge tile display of what Lisbon looked like before the huge 1755 earthquake. This tile painting of the city was done before the earthquake (well, the earthquake, the fire, and the tsunami. It was a bad day for Lisbon.) wiped out pretty much everything.


After the tile museum David picked us up again and we asked him to take us to the Castelo de Sao Jorge, which was supposed to have nice views of the city. As he was driving us there, he told us that since it was Saturday it was a big market day. We soon saw what he meant; we started passing tons of stalls and blankets people had set up that were selling all sorts of stuff. Some tables looked like garage sales; others looked more professional.

David told us that the castle was only a couple of blocks away, and he could drop us off here at the market if we wanted and pick us up at the castle when we were done. And we said yes, because the market looked fun. And it was! Jason and I got a couple little toys for Ellie and Zelda (this little leather coin purse that looked like a mouse and this cool little leather lobster) and Alyse and Tanner got some "gypsy baby pants" (as she calls them) for Ezra and their baby girl on the way.

As we were walking up to the castle we saw these cute little ceramic houses on the side of a building:


When we got up to and inside the castle walls, and saw how long the line was for tickets to go up into the castle itself and its courtyards, we realized there was no way we were going to have enough time to go in. (Jason and I had to leave early in the afternoon to catch our flight back to Madrid.) So, we got ice cream instead. And it was delicious.

I got hazelnut. It was hands down the best ice cream of the trip. Everyone else's was really good, too. It was made locally in Lisbon.

After our ice cream David picked us up again and took us back to our hotel. We all had lunch at the hotel restaurant; Jason and I wolfed down our food so that we could get to the airport in time. Jason and I said goodbye to everybody, got our bags, and met David outside (once again, haha) so that he could take us to the airport.

Our flight to Madrid went smoothly. Once we were settled back in our hotel (the same one we had stayed at the first time we were in Madrid) we went out to find somewhere to eat dinner. We eventually settled on a sidewalk cafe on one of the corners of the Parque del Buen Retiro, right by the Puerta de Alcala.


After dinner we walked down one of the main streets in Madrid again, looking for goodies to get the girls and enjoying the sites. Jason (who's more adventurous than me) took us into one of the side neighborhoods, where we got some more ice cream before heading back to the hotel.


The next morning we had breakfast at the hotel, left at 9 for the airport, and got on our plane to come home. We watched "Tomorrowland" before the screens we were watching stopped working. The flight attendants tried to reset our screens like three times (ours were the only ones on the whole plane not working - lucky us) but they just wouldn't work.

Our flight landed in Atlanta, where we transferred to another plane that flew us to Raleigh. And there, at the airport to meet us, were Ellie and Zelda! It was so, so, so wonderful to see them. We were so happy, and so were they.

Tomorrow (or the next day) I'll post all the things they got up to with Grandma while we were away.

And that was our huge, once-in-a-lifetime Spain trip!

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