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Spain and Portugal - day 4 and 5

10/09/10

Permalink 04:23:39 am, by joseph Email , 1220 words   English (US)
Categories: Fun

Spain and Portugal - day 4 and 5

The good thing about a GPS is that it can get you to where you want to go.  The bad thing about a GPS is the it doesn't know when roads are blocked off and may not know how to find an alternate route.  What is worse is when you can see your hotel, but can't find a way to get there.  For those who haven't been to Spain or Portugal, here is another observation.  If you find flat land, I guarantee you will not find a city.  Cities here are always built on hill,  the better the city, the steeper the hill it is built on.

Fatima, in all its glory, is no different.  Hilly terrain with windy roads and no sense of pre-planning on the parts of the city engineers.  Much like a Russian astronaut with a hammer and a broken spaceship, I just kept hammering away until I achieved a desired route.  It only took me 15 minutes.  Most of which was spent waiting for people to cross the road or move their double parked car.  Man there are a lot of Spaniards over here today.

Got everyone settled in so we decided to do what all tourist do and go shopping.  Their was a store under the hotel and as I approached it I noticed a Filipino flag waving, so of course we went to check out the store.  Turns out the owner is Portuguese who is married to a Pinay.  They had one daughter who look to be around 18 months.  I think she enjoyed being able to talk to someone in Tagalog, which was a blessing to my mother-in-law.  There was a statues of Jesus hanging on the cross in the window that captured Jun's attention and he sat there most of the time while we shopped, just looking at the statue.  In fact the who time we were shopping when ever a store had a statues of Jesus, just would just stand there and look at them in awe.  Makes me wonder if he will be a priest one day.  He already has the vow of silence thing down pretty well.

The sanctuary was across the street from our hotel we decided to go and do some site seeing.  Since it was closer to evening, there were not a lot of people wandering around and getting in the way of my camera.  The boys and I went around taking photos while Tess and M-i-L took in a mass at the chapel outside. With the sun down, it was time to move on in search of some grub. 
 
We decided to eat at a nearby cafe because #1, it was open and #2, it was on the ground level.  While we did see a large number of restaurants, many of them were closed by 9 PM.  For the most part the restaurants were on the second floor with the first floors reserved for the dozens of shops who were selling pretty much the exact same thing.

To the delight of the M-i-L, they served rice, not quite what we are used to but at least it was rice, so she was happy.  For entertainment that night there was a communal cat that strayed into the cafe only to be wisked off by the cafe owners.  Since they had two entry ways, the cat would just go to the other door to sneak in.  The owners would try their darndest to get the cat out, but for the most part the cat ignored them and was alway two steps ahead.

After eating we headed back to the hotel to settle in for the night.  Earlier I stopped at a Best Buy type of store and go a new universal adapter so we could charge most of our equipment. So, by the time we got back to our hotel, the DVD player and phone were charged back up, a good thing for us because the channel selection was pretty dismal in our hotel... Probably that way for the whole country.

The next day I got up around 9 or 10, depending on whose iPhone you looked at.  My phone was updated for the time change but Tess's phone didn't update.  I was able to go downstairs and talk to one of the ladies at the buffet to see if I could take some of the food back to the room.  They insisted that they be allowed to bring the breakfast to us.  Oh how I love the service in this hotel!  45 minutes later they came up with a cart full of food and beverages.  Yeah I stuffed my self like a turkey on thanksgiving and loved every moment of it.

With bellies full and the kids up and dressed we went off to do more shopping before the mass started. Our first stop was to Western Union to exchange more money.  They had a nice building full of shopping space, but only half of them filled. The Western Union store was hid in the back and was kind a hard to see.  With Euros in hand we made our way out to the shops which were all open and ready for business.

At one store I was buying a gift and keeping an eye on the boys who were outside looking a Chinese knockoff toys when some lady approached Jon Jon and was yelling at him.  I raced outside but the lady had already left. Jon Jon was crying as Jun stood watch over him.  Jun Jun was in his Wolverine mode with both hands clenched in fists and no doubt had he been the real Wolverine, bones would have been coming out his knuckles.  He even had the facial features, too.  He was in full "protect your brother at all cost" mode.  Well that was kind of a buzz kill to a wonderful day which could only be fixed by the application of ice cream and a trip to the playground.

After playing at the antiquated playground it was on to more shopping.  There has got to be a story behind these waxed body parts they are selling.  Almost every shop was selling waxed body parts, legs, hands, arms, feet.  Heck I even seen one of waxed boobies...and no, I didn't purchase any of them. 

 I took the boys to go to the bathroom which was kinda interesting.  The urinal was just a marble wall that you stand in front of and pee which the boys thought was so funny.  Oh, quick note to anyone who may be going to Portugal, bring a toilet seat.  For some reason there must have been a mass robbery in which all public toilet seats have been stolen.  Surprisingly, no one in Portugal has noticed it yet. 

We headed over to the Basilica for Mass and to burn candles near the Chapel of the Apparitions. The mass was on Portuguese but luckily for us Mass is Mass.  So even though you don't understand what is being said, at least you know the order of standing, kneeling, sitting and communion.  Oh, another suggestion you won't hear from Rick Steves, bring a fly swatter!  Luckily the flies over here follow the same customs as the rest of the country which makes it easier to kill them in the afternoon while they are enjoying siesta time.  

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