Friday, March 21, 2008

Our First Visitor

One of the benefits of working with your family is that you sometimes get all-expenses paid visits from them. My brother Eric recently had to come to Portugal for business and he was able to stay a few extra days to play. He was our first visitor from home and it was nice to have the opportunity to give him an experience of our lifestyle here. This included a sunset on the beach and a bike ride in the mountains…all of it, of course, in brilliant sunshine even though it was the end of February.

We also introduced him to our local restaurant, Gafanhoto, which makes a great seafood rice. And took him (or I guess he took us) to a soccer game up in Porto. The game featured Leixoes (a Porto team) vs. Academica (from Coimbra) and neither team is all that great by professional European soccer standards, but it was still great soccer. We ended up siting in the visitors section, which was directly behind one of the goals, and completely fenced off from the other spectators. But it ended up being an exciting game with almost all of the action right in front of us. The home team was lucky to tie it during injury time on a penalty kick. You can be assured our neighbors in the visitors section were not pleased.

We spent Saturday touring some historical areas north of Porto. We went to Guimaraes, which is the unofficial birthplace of Portugal as it was the country’s first capital and the home of its first king, Afonso I. We then went to nearby Braga, home of supposedly 365 churches (it seemed to be true) before heading to Porto for the soccer game. All in all, it was great to see some family and a friendly face from back home. We were happy to be able to show Eric around (although he had been to Aveiro before), break in our guest bed, and look at our home and lifestyle from a different perspective. We look forward to having more such opportunities in the future as the rest of you come visit.

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