for xmas e had some days off, so we decided to roll the dice with some early season (for europe) snowboarding. we flew to geneva, and took a 4 hour bus ride into the french alps to a town called val d’isere. i’ve noticed that when flying to and from portugal, everyone claps when the plane lands like it’s the end of a concert. it’s a little weird but fun.
the first day it snowed with very little visibility and lots of wind, but then the next few days it cleared up and unlike mountains that we’re used to in the states, it didn’t get tracked out after 3 hours. i think it stayed untracked because about 75% of the people there were british beginner skiers.
to be more clear, val d’isere is the town we stayed in, and the area that we rode is called espace killy and it includes the ski area of val d’isere and tignes and is huge. here’s a trailmap.
last night at 1:37am there was an magnitude 5.7 earthquake 165 miles southwest of lisbon. it didn’t wake me up, but it woke up e, who then woke me up. i just felt the end of it which was like a bus driving down the street, and i could see the old tv antennas out the window wiggling. there was no damage reported from the earthquake.
last weekend we went to see a poster show at a place called the LX factory, (which is pronounced el sheesh factory, x=sheesh in portuguese). i thought the LX factory was a club/music venue, but it turns out that it’s an old industrial site under the ponte 25 de abril (golden gate bridge) that now houses creative firms, shops, cafes, events and work spaces. one of the coolest shops there is a bookstore called ler devegar (read slowly). it’s a big lofted space with a huge printing press on the second floor that has a cafe built in and around it.
for the past month there have been posters up around the city promoting a monster truck show. yesterday we were exploring a different part of lisbon (LX factory, more on that later) and we kept hearing loud engine sounds. i wanted to see what it was, but we were at the LX factory to see a poster exhibit, so we wandered around for an hour and then finally found the exhibit on the 3rd floor of a building there. once we were on the 3rd floor we could see the monster truck show.
i’ve only been to 1 monster truck show, i was about 9, i was in mississippi, and bigfoot was the big attraction. the monster truck show here in lisbon looked a little amateurish compared to what i remember, and judging by the empty seats i’d say that it’s not too popular either.
last night it got down to 1 degree. that’s just above freezing, and i’m pretty sure our apt was only in the 40′s this morning, and this morning while i was reading an article about the cold weather in the portuguese news i read this (translated):
“The ANPC also advises the use of several layers of clothing, which should not be very fair, not to perform intense physical activities and contact 112 immediately for signs of hypothermia.”
not to perform intense physical activities? it got up to about 50 degrees here today. i agree that it’s cold at night, but avoid exercise? i’m surprised later in the article it didn’t say, “smoke a cigarette when you start to feel cold”.
last weekend we visited coimbra. it’s 2 hours north of lisbon and is known mostly for its university, which is one of the oldest in the world. it was founded in 1290. 1290 is a really long time ago. what did they teach in 1290?
on saturday we drove to the small mountain town of lousã and set out for a little hike up to talasnal a “schist village” which e swears isn’t schist but phyllite (schist is a type of rock)… the village is made entirely out of stone, and people live there, or at least live there on the weekends and there is a bar, pension, and a little snack bar/shop. that’s it. also, of course there was a castle. it was at the beginning of the hike. here are some photos from our trip.
i’d like to introduce you to my new favorite fruit. it’s called a dióspiro in portuguese, and apparently it’s dióspiro season here because they are in the produce stores now. i bought a few really ripe ones today, so doce and boa.
here’s a timelapse that i shot last week around lisbon.
today (dec 1) is a portuguese holiday. it’s the anniversary of the restoration of independence from the spanish dynasty on december 1, 1640. most people seem to be celebrating ditching the spanish kings by christmas shopping.