Monday, January 30, 2017

A Day in Ronda

With Mike feeling mostly better and the weather forecast for Berlin looking mostly miserable for the next week, we knew we had to do something.  Luckily, we had planned a trip to southern Spain fro this week, knowing that we'd probably want some reprieve.  When we got the mono diagnosis, we weren't sure what our travel would look like, but he seems to be doing a lot better and able to handle an adventure or two a day, so we decided to keep our plans and boarded a plane this morning to Spain.

We arrived in Malaga around 11:00, picked up the rental car and drove an hour and half to Ronda.  We started listening to The Sun Also Rises by Hemmingway on our drives because southern Spain was a favorite of his.  The drive through the southern Spanish countryside is beautiful, with lots of hills, green grass and little pop up towns that add to the ambiance.

We pulled in to our hotel around 1:00, dropped off our bags and headed out for lunch. We stopped at the first restaurant we saw since we were both starving.  While it wasn't the most exciting culinary experience we've ever had, it satiated us and was quick and cheap.  We made our way into town, where our first stop was the bull fighting arena.  Bull fighting season doesn't pick up until mid-March, so we were a little early for that, but you can still go in the arena and take a look.  It's pretty cool, even if there aren't any bulls! We didn't do the audioguide, but it may be worth it since there aren't any signs or information around.

Aren't these steps beautiful?

We weren't at the bull fighting arena very long, so we had lots of time to wander around the little town of Ronda.  One of the major sites is a bridge that connects the two sides of a gorge.  The views were absolutely breathtaking.

We walked around for about an hour, soaking up the warm weather and rays of sun before heading back to our hotel for a siesta.  Between my pregnant self and Mike's mono, we don't last too long.  Add in a 5:00am wake up and we were pretty exhausted.  I'm sure this trip will be a little lighter, but that's okay.  Everyone can appreciate a good siesta!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Kissing Disease

I mentioned in my posts about Portugal and following posts that Mike was sick, but never really explained HOW sick he was. I've never seen Mike that sick and it's been a long time since I've really seen any adult that out of commission. The week following Portugal was by far the worst and I don't think Mike really did much of anything. He had a fever, a sore throat and was just overall not feeling well.

A few days after being home, he went to the doctor because things didn't seem to be getting better.  The doctor gave him some antibiotics, which definitely helped, but after a week, he was still feeling pretty lethargic and just not himself. When he returned to the doctor for his follow up appointment, she drew some blood and sent it off for a mono test.

About a week later, the results came back and sure enough he has a mild form of mononucleosis, also known as the kissing disease. When I asked him who he's been kissing, he replied "just some cute pregnant chick," so I guess that's good :)  Luckily, there isn't any risk for me or Baby Maximus.  I've already had mono and most people don't get it twice.  Even if I were to get it again, there isn't any harm to the baby if the mother has mono.

After the mono diagnosis, there isn't much you can do to cure it.  You can treat the symptoms, but there isn't a medicine to take to cure it.  So, you just have to kind of wait it out.  Luckily, we've had a calm few weeks here and we're hoping that it won't be too much longer before Mike is feeling back to normal.  For now, though, his days consist of going to class and taking a long afternoon nap.  

Hopefully Mike will go from this.....

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back to this very soon. 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Finding a Hospital: Part One

I told myself that I would start looking for a hospital and figuring out the logistics behind registering once we rang in 2017.  In hindsight, I wish I had started earlier because it turned out to be more difficult than expected, mainly because we don't speak German. Oh the joys of living abroad....

We started by asking my doctor for recommendations and his preferences.  We knew that many doctors in Europe do not deliver with their patients, but I wanted to get his thoughts on hospitals.  As it turns out, the week of my due date is his children's spring break, so he'll be out of town if Baby Maximus is timely.  The one hospital that he does deliver at isn't covered by our insurance, so we kind of ruled that out.

One of Mike's professors had twins within the past year and loved her delivery at a hospital, (St. Joseph's) that was less than 10 minutes from us.  This hospital kept coming up and has a great neonatal unit if we need that.  Unfortunately, it wasn't covered under our insurance.  We still wanted to look at it though because there is the option of switching our insurance plan so that we can go anywhere and just get reimbursed.

Our other option was to keep our insurance plan as it was and go to one of the hospitals that was covered.  Unfortunately, there are really only two hospitals that are covered in Berlin for giving birth, one of which is an hour away. The other, Krankenhaus Walfriede, is about 30 minutes away.  It doesn't have a neonatal unit and, if we needed that, he would go to the neonatal unit at St. Joseph's anyways, which would then be covered under our insurance.

We decided that we would go and look at both of these hospitals, time out the drive, and see which one we were most comfortable with and then decide what to do about our insurance.  Then Mike got sick. I called St Joseph's one day while we were in the depths of illness.   I just wanted to make sure we didn't need an appointment, especially since we needed an English speaker. The woman I spoke to said that we just needed to call ahead when we wanted to come.  Fast forward two weeks and we were ready to go tour. We called back to the hospital and couldn't get hold of anyone who spoke English.  After many tries, we finally decided to go to the hospital and see if we could figure this out in person.  We spoke to a very nice nun who told us the only way to make an appointment or go on a tour was to call.

Meanwhile, we were doing the same thing with Krankenhaus Walfriede and having even less luck.  Every time we called, we just got a recording.  We couldn't even get someone on the phone to ask for someone who spoke English.  Luckily, we had more success when we went to the hospital.  We were able to make an appointment to talk to someone.  It's not until I'm 30 weeks (two weeks from now!), but I think we're both relieved to just have an appointment.

At this point, I think we realized that we were not meant to deliver at St. Joseph's.  It seems like everything was pointing us to Krankenhaus Walfriede and that it just wasn't going to be worth it.  We are a little concerned about the distance because traffic on the highway can be HORRENDOUS and can add an extra 15-20 minutes.  Plus, if Mike happens to be in class when the time comes, that's an extra 30 minutes it takes for him to get home, but these are all things that I know many people deal with and overcome.  I just don't want to be the girl who gives birth in the car....

How far did you have to drive to the hospital?  Anything I should ask on my hospital tour?

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Your Time, Talent and Treasure

Alright, let's chat about Facebook. I'm kind of over it. I just counted and half of the last twenty posts on my newsfeed were political. What happened to the days of people's vacation pictures and posts about their baby's first spit up?  BRING THEM BACK!!

I get it.  After this weekend, we're all fired up.  You're either ready to make America great again after the inauguration or your ready to fight for equality after the Women's March.  Or maybe both. I know that I was feeling inspired and motivated after this weekend, which is something I haven't really felt since November. I think that was one of the best outcomes of the Women's March.  People felt inspired and united after a few months of feeling hopeless. They were motivated to act.  People who feel passionately about Trump's inauguration speech probably feel the same way.  Now is the time to act.

My church growing up used to ask every adult at the beginning of the year what their time, talent and treasure was.  Basically, they were asking how much time and when could you volunteer, what are some skills that you can provide, and how much money can you donate. I think this is a great way to think about your role in politics, especially over the next four years.

For example, I have time to make a phone call to my senators and let them know how I feel.  It takes five minutes, if that. I also have my teaching license, so once I'm back in the states, I'm going to try to find a job in a low income school district and offer my talents there. Your talent could be something simpler though, like knitting hats for refugees or using your graphic design talents to benefit a non-profit you support. Last, I donate to causes that I'm passionate about, especially those who are at risk of losing funding.  I even set up my Amazon account so that every time I place an order, a portion of what I spent goes to the charity of my choice (Amazon Smile). Every penny counts!

So, instead of just posting to Facebook (or whatever your preferred form of social media is), act and let people know how to act! I understand the importance of spreading the word and speaking out against things that you don't feel are right. Believe me. There are plenty of things that I'm not happy with. The important thing to remember though is that just complaining isn't going to change anything.  The president isn't reading your Facebook page and more likely than not, that post isn't really going to change anyone's mind who is. At this point, I think most people are just scrolling past a lot of posts on their newsfeed. If you feel that you MUST post that article, think about including action steps along with that post.

I'll go first. Sample Facebook Post:

I think Betsy DeVos is a TERRIBLE choice for the Secretary of Education. I think her lack of understanding of basic education concepts is enough to make her unqualified for the job and the more and more I read about her track record in Michigan, the more scared I become for the future of our students.  Here is an article about why I think she is not the right choice for the job.

Please help me stand up for our children and students by calling your Congress members and letting them know how you feel about Betsy DeVos.  Here is a list of all of the senators by state and their contact information, as well as a link to find your representatives in the House. 

I have abstained from posting on Facebook, but if I was going to post something political, it would probably be this. It provides action steps and doesn't just complain about something I'm unhappy about.  If you're pleased with something the new administration did and you feel you must post about it on Facebook, provide action steps on how to keep supporting the politicians that made this possible.

A lot of people are feeling passionate about the president, either positively or negatively.  I get it.  I really do.  Just ask Mike. I'm pretty sure that a day hasn't gone by that we haven't discussed politics in some fashion. That being said, it's easy to post to Facebook and argue about new policies and executive orders.  What is more effective is an action.  Think about what you are able to give in terms of time, talent and treasure to help ensure that the government is working for you and your people and use that to make positive change.

And just because I love and miss Scout and I think he could cheer almost anyone up, here's my favorite picture of my favorite orange human being!

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Scout says "you guys should have just voted for me and then there would be no issues." #scout2020 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

2017 Reading Challenge

If you want to see the updated list with all of the books I've read thus far, click here!

Mike's sister, Kelly, is doing the Popsugar reading challenge for 2017, which had 40 books to read in 2017.  I really liked the challenge, but the more I thought about it, 40 books was seeming a little daunting, so I set a goal of 30 books this year, which is definitely doable.  I know I could read more if I really pushed myself, but I'm not sure what life will look like after the baby arrives, so I wanted to allow a little wiggle room.  I found this reading challenge which has 26 books, so I have room for 4 extras that I just want to read for fun. Sounds like just the right fit for me!  I've tried to kind of plan out what books to read for each challenge, based on books that have been on my to-read list or books that have been recommended to me.

The 26-book 2017 reading challenge

  1. A book you read in school Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
  2. A book from your childhood Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by JK Rowling
  3. A book published in the last year The Food of Love by Amanda Prowse
  4. A non-fiction book The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector's Story by Hyeonseo Lee 
  5. A book written by a male author Learn Me Good by John Pearson
  6. A book written by a female author Glory over Everything: Beyond the Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom (I loved The Kitchen House so I'm excited for this one!)
  7. A book by someone who isn’t a writer (think Paul Kalathani or Richard Branson)
  8. A book that became/is becoming a film: I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson (January)
  9. A book published in the 20th Century The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald (I was supposed to read this in high school and couldn't get into it, but I want to give it a second chance because everyone raves about it)
  10. A book with a number in the title  The Two-Family House by Lynda Cohen Loigman 
  11. A book you can finish in a day For the Love by Jen Hatmaker (January)- It took me two days, but it's definitely doable in a day.  It's short, easy to read and she's funny at times.  It was definitely out of my comfort zone and sometimes got a little too preach-y for my taste, but a good, quick read. 
  12. A previously banned book Catcher and the Rye by JD Salinger
  13. A memoir or journal 32 Third Graders and One Class Bunny by Phillip Done
  14. A book set somewhere you’ll be visiting this year TBD
  15. An award-winning book The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  16. A self-published book
  17. A book published over 100 years ago
  18. A book written by someone younger than you
  19. A book with a one-word title
  20. A book translated from another language
  21. A book that will improve a specific area of your life
  22. A book with a character with your first name
  23. A book someone else recommended to you
  24. A book with over 500 pages
  25. A book set in your hometown/region
  26. A book with someone’s name in the title

If you have any suggestions, especially for the ones that I don't have books for, let me know! I would love to hear from you!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Here's to Strong Women.

Here's to strong women.

May we know them. 

May we be them.

May we raise them. 

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Especially thankful to be raised by two supportive parents who never let me think that I was any different or less worthy than my two brothers.  They embody true feminism.

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Thankful for all of the men and women around the WORLD who marched yesterday because women's rights are human rights. 

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Second Trimester

Between our visitors and travel, the second trimester flew by! I felt great throughout, which was appreciated as we were busy.  We've started researching hospitals and birthing classes and are now overwhelmed by all of the things we have to do before Baby Maximus comes, but we're excited and anxious to meet our little guy.  I'm 27 weeks today, which, depending on who you ask, is the start of the third trimester, so here's a little recap of how the second trimester went.

Began the second trimester looking like this.  I miss those pants....

Week Fifteen: Other than my emotions and hormones being out of control and having a few nights of not so great sleep, I've felt great.  I can definitely tell a difference between the first and second trimester.

Week Sixteen:  Sleep has seemed to returned to it's normal state (hallelujah!), even though I'm still waking up to go to the bathroom at least twice a night.  I'm sure this is short lived, so I'm trying to embrace it and rest up. This was the week we found out we were having a boy!  Cue adding all the baby boys clothes to my Amazon registry and making a few purchases around the interwebs! We are so excited!  We also traveled this week and for the first time, I had to ask Mike to help carry my bag.  Running through an airport and carrying a bag left me a little dizzy and winded, so Mike gladly offered to carry my bags from here on out. I'm not the most fit person, but I like to think I can run through an airport while lugging a suitcase with the best of them, so this is just another sign of all of the changes going on.

Week Seventeen: Nothing too exciting or eventful.  I've been able to feel him move a little more regularly, which is exciting!

Week Eighteen: Uncle Mike and Aunt Anna came to visit!! Along with their visit came some serious back pain, but luckily it didn't prevent me from sight seeing.  It just made sleeping and sitting a little more difficult. It seemed to get better as the week progressed and by the end of the week, it was pretty much gone.

Week Nineteen: I've determined that Baby Maximus is taking after his cousin J.P. and is going to be a soccer player due to all of his moving and shaking!! I went to the doctor and everything looked good.  He was so much bigger than the last time we were there! His arms and legs are proportionate to the rest of his body, so he looks so much bigger! It would also explain why I no longer fit into any of my normal pants and maternity clothes are generally feeling so much more comfortable than my regular ones.  I had some serious pregnancy brain going on, which resulted in Mike getting hit on the head with the trunk of the car and me almost losing my wallet.  Luckily, Mike is a forgiving guy and we're both hoping that this pregnancy brain disappears with the arrival of Baby Maximus.

Look at those legs!

As our future president would say, he's yuuuuge!! Such a big boy!

Week Twenty:  Halfway!! Wow! I can't believe it! I feel like the first half flew by and the second half is super busy, so hopefully it will go by just as quickly.  I'm still feeling great and my baby bump is definitely making an appearance.  I found out that there is another Olmsted baby coming shortly after Baby Maximus, so it was fun to get to do some baby talk with a fellow mom-to-be this week.

Week Twenty One: Another week, another doctors appointment.  Luckily, Baby Maximus is growing right on schedule and there aren't any issues.  My doctor is a little worried since my sugar levels in my urine tests have been a little high a few times, but I'll do the Gestational Diabetes test the next time I go to the doctor.

Week Twenty Two: The week started out on a very exciting note because Mike was FINALLY able to feel Baby Maximus kick!  He said it just felt like I was flexing my (non-existent) abs, but a huge smile spread across his face and I was so happy that he could finally feel what I have been experiencing All. The. Time. for the past few weeks.  We headed to Sweden where we went dog sledding, played with reindeer and slept in bunk beds. I'm still feeling great, which Mike and I have both agreed is a huge blessing.  We've been able to do almost everything we did travel-wise pre-pregnancy.  Thanks Baby Maximus!   My pregnancy hormones mixed with missing the holidays have led to quite a few tears on my part, but I think that was to be expected.  Here's to being a grinch and just kind of wishing Christmas would come and go so hopefully the tears will stop and I can resume being my normal, overly emotional pregnant self.

Week Twenty Three: We spent Christmas weekend exploring the Baltics, which was a good way to "skip Christmas."  We also had our second big ultrasound, which showed a healthy baby boy to much of our relief.  He's growing on schedule and everything seems to be developing as it should.  We were able to see some 4D scans which led us to believe he may have a big nose, but we think he's the cutest baby in Berlin.  We may or may not be a little biased.  I woke up one night with a Charley Horse in both of my legs, which was not fun, but other than that, I've felt pretty good. I've slept great and been able to work out, although it's not quite as easy as it used to be.

Week Twenty Four: Happy New Year little guy! All three of us rung in the new year in Berlin! We had lots of fun experiencing a true Berlin New Years. I've felt pretty good besides one dizzy spell late on New Years where I think I was just tired.  I went to my doctor for my monthly checkup and for the gestational diabetes test.  Whoever said that stuff didn't taste good was wrong! I thought it tasted delicious!  Baby Maximus is looking great and we're still waiting on the results of the diabetes test.

Look who popped overnight! I feel like just this week I've gotten so much bigger! I'm definitely not complaining though.  I'm enjoying this stage of being pregnant for sure.

Week Twenty Five: No news is good news when it comes to the diabetes test and we've made it over a week with no phone call! Hooray! I'm celebrating by continuing to eat anything and everything remotely sweet.   It also became quite apparent that my ability to travel and keep up like I used to be able to is no longer possible.  I found myself huffing and puffing up the hills of Lisbon and needing a siesta around 4:00 every day.  I definitely have "popped" and Mike just keeps saying "You're so pregnant! I love it!" 

Week Twenty Six: The week started off with a cancelled trip and a very sick Mike. While Mike was sleeping, I was googling "mono while pregnant" and "tonsillitis while pregnant," neither of which resulted in me being very happy, all while eating clementines and drinking orange juice (which proceeded to give me minor heart burn).  Luckily, I've managed to fend off any major illness and only ever developed a common cold.  We've spent a lot of time hanging around on the couch, which Baby Maximus has taken advantage of and has been kicking up a storm.

LuLaRoe Tall and Curvy leggings make the best maternity leggings! So soft!

Weight Gain: 12 pounds total.  A true miracle considering how much (sweets) I eat!

Food aversions and cravings: Sweets. I want them all.  Hahaha.  It's more just that I have a sweet tooth already and have let myself indulge a little bit more than usual.  Peanut butter by the spoonful has also been added to my almost daily diet.  I just opened my last jar of peanut butter and had a minor panic attack realizing this had to last me 14 weeks through this pregnancy. I haven't had any of those "run out to the store in the middle of the night" cravings, though.  And no food aversions! Hooray!

Gender guesses:  Our guess was right! It's a boy!

Baby Related Purchases: Black Friday was all about Baby Maximus! We bought clothes, bibs, and hats galore.  The biggest purchase from myself is the Wildbird Sling, which I am so excited to use.  Next trimester, I'm having my baby shower and then we'll make a few purchases of anything not purchased off our Amazon registry.  We've already been showered with lots of gifts for the little guy from grandparents and friends, so there's really no reason to do a lot of buying yet, but it's just so fun!

Overall, I feel great. I definitely get tired more easily, which is to be expected.  When we're traveling, I can pretty much count on being done by around 4:00pm. I've definitely also had some emotional moments where I've let out the exclamation of "I don't even know why I'm crying!" but nothing was as extreme or as terrible as the horror stories I've read online.   While I never felt terrible during my first trimester, the second has definitely been much more enjoyable.

"I'm not going to lie, you being pregnant is pretty cool." -Mike one night after feeling Baby Maximus give a nice big double kick.  What a guy!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

This Week I'm....

Well, illness has hit the Hogan household in full force. Mike has been couch bound for almost a week now and the doctor asked him to come back on Wednesday for a mono or tonsillitis test. She gave him antibiotics, which seemed to have killed the virus and accompanying fever, but now he has some sort cough/congestion thing that sounds HORRIBLE and leaves him breathless every time he laughs at the 50 millionth FRIENDS episode we watch.  Mike and I, being the medical professionals we are, have ruled out mono because he doesn't have the fatigue that accompanies mono usually, which leads us think it's tonsillities.  He'll tell you it's from diphtheria since he's overdue on his shot, I say it's from the cold he's been fighting on and off for the past month. I'll let you decide. Luckily, I've managed to fend off this illness for the most part. I have a sore throat and feel a little congested, but nothing more than a normal cold would give you.  Knock on wood it stays that way.

Between the illness, cancelling our baby moon due to said illness (our life is a baby moon so we can't really complain), and reading about all that's happening in our country's politics (pre-existing conditions! A freaking civil rights leader! That press conference!), I figured we all needed a distraction.  I remembered that last year, I did a bunch of posts like this one and this one and figured it was a good opportunity to do another one!

So, here we go! This week I'm...

  • reading I'll Give You the Sun.  I'm not in love.  It's a little too out there for me.  It has a good basic plot (twins who's mom dies and they are navigating being teenagers), but it's a little too artsy/day dreamy for my liking.  I'm about halfway through and am having trouble making myself read.  I hate when that happens. 
  • listening  I just subscribed to a bunch of new podcasts.  Call Your Girlfriend, Still Processing, and The Popcast to name a few.  My go-to is still Story Corps, but these new ones seem promising.  Any other recommendations?
  • doing  I've been able to work out throughout this whole pregnancy which I'm so thankful for.  I really think it's helped me feel better. In fact, throughout my first trimester, I really couldn't tell a difference when working out. The past few weeks though, I've been a little winded when working out.  I've been doing the Beach Body maternity workouts and they've been pretty easy, but this week I had to tone it down and do the third trimester workout (I'm almost there anyways!). I'm not upset, just trying to listen to what baby Maximus and my body is telling me.
  • eating this avocado chicken salad.  So so good!
  • researching new cars! We're going to need a second car when we get back to the States in August and it will most likely be a mid-sized SUV, so I've been trying to start researching so that we can test drive them right when we get back and make the big purchase soon after.  Any recommendations about what to look for, especially in a "mom car" are appreciated!
  • watching The Americans.  We're about four episodes in and really enjoying it.  It's about two KGB spies who are living in the United States during the Reagan administration. Keri Russel and Matthew Rhys are the main spies, but the entire cast is great.  It's a good compromise for Mike and I because it's got the action for Mike and the drama/relationship stuff for me.  Definitely recommend it.  Thanks Matt and Katy!  I have a whole list of television shows that people have recommended, so hopefully I'll be able to knock some of those off leading up to and directly following Baby Maximus' arrival. 
  • enjoying my manicure and pedicure!! In attempts to get out of the germ infested space known as our apartment, I went to get a manicure and pedicure yesterday and it was wonderful. #treatyoself
  • watching/reading the Bush sisters' letter to the Obama sisters (I'm not crying, it's just the onion I'm chopping!).  Regardless of politics, I have a lot of respect for all four of these ladies.  I can't imagine what growing up with your dad as president must be like and they all handled it with grace and class (most of the time!) and have turned out to be an inspiration to women everywhere. 
"You have lived through the unbelievable pressure of the White House. You have listened to harsh criticism of your parents by people who had never even met them. You stood by as your precious parents were reduced to headlines. Your parents, who put you first and who not only showed you but gave you the world. As always, they will be rooting for you as you begin your next chapter. And so will we."  -Jenna and Barbara Bush

  • passing along this image. You may have seen hearts floating around Facebook in order to raise support for breast cancer awareness.  While this is great because it makes people ask what the heart is for, I think this image does a lot more and I'm glad to see it popping up on Facebook just as much as the hearts.

Welp, that's pretty much it for around here.  Back to watching another episode of the Americans and fending off illness! Have a great week!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

A Day in Sintra

We had an extra day in Lisbon and had heard great things about Sintra, which is right outside of Lisbon, so we decided to give it a go! I'm so glad we did because it was beautiful. It's an easy train ride from the center of Lisbon and we arrived in Sintra mid morning.  We spent the first hour walking around and checking things out. 

It reminded both of us of a small Italian town, with winding and cobblestone streets and little shops and restaurants interspersed throughout.

Anybody need an orange?
After lunch, we decided to give the Quita da Regaleira a look. Guys, this place is so cool.  One of the reviews on TripAdvisor described it as a huge playground for kids and adults. I'm not even sure what it really is.  I think a castle with a large garden, but who even knows.  Regardless, it was beautiful.  It reminded me of the Secret Garden. There are underground tunnels, waterfalls, towers to climb up and a castle to explore.  You could probably spend the majority of a day there if you really wanted to, but we limited ourselves to about two hours.

I spy Mike!

Baby Maximus and I in Portugal!

We walked around the castle and, like always, got ideas for our future home. #wishfulthinking

After the castle, we headed back to the train.  There is another castle at the top of the mountain that you can explore.  There were lots of tuk tuks around offering us a ride up to the top for only 5 euros, which we may have considered, but I was tired and it seemed like a lot of effort to basically go to another lookout.  Plus, by this point, Mike really wasn't feeling well.  We headed back to the hotel, siesta-ed and ventured out for a quick dinner and gelato before going to bed early.   What a day! 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Lisbon, Portugal

We arrived in Lisbon on Saturday night just in time for dinner, which in Portugal is 9:00pm.  I don't mind eating late and we definitely adjusted our schedule to be more like the locals, but it was an adjustment from our normal 6:30 dinner time.  

Mike found a barbecue place on TripAdvisor that was close to our hotel. What we didn't realize was that it was up a hill and some stairs.  By the time we got there, I was huffing and puffing! Baby Maximus has definitely taken a toll on my lung capacity!

The next day, we set out to do some sight seeing.  We primarily stuck to the Baixa area but our hotel was right downtown on the main street, so we pretty much saw it all. Again, we were just happy to be out in the sun, so we could have seen anything and been content.

The Opera House

We took the tram up to the Baixa area, which was recommended on every tourist sight and book we read.  In the end, it's just a tram.  I thought it would provide some good sight seeing, but really, I think it's recommended so that you can say you've ridden a tram.  While cool, not sure if it's all that it's hyped up to be.  

What was worth the hype was the overlook.  Our walking tour (thanks to Lonely Planet) was pretty much all overlooks with a few churches thrown in. Our last overlook gave us a view of our first overlook! Too funny!

Lisbon definitely has the city feel to it in some parts.  While Berlin definitely wins the prize for the most eclectic city, we did find some cool street art in Lisbon. 

Another hour, another lookout.  You see that tree to the left of center? We were standing under that when I took the first lookout pictures of this post.

These guys had me cracking up.  

Day Two in Lisbon was spent outside of the city, in Sintra. I'll do a separate post on that because it was super cool.  We had a half day left in Lisbon on Tuesday and had planned to go to Bellam, which is another area of the city that has a monastery.  When we arrived, there were tons of cameras and media people outside.  Come to find out, it was a funeral for a former president (the one who got them into the EU and brought socialism to Portugal....a big deal!).  It became apparent that we were not going into the monastery that day.  It ended up being fine because Mike wasn't feeling great and the weather was nice, so we walked around for a little while before heading to the airport early. 

We were definitely sad to get on the plane and say goodbye to sunny Portugal.  I definitely enjoyed Porto more than Lisbon, mainly because Porto was on the water and had a more laid back feel, but Lisbon and it's beautiful architecture was well worth the trip!