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Ah, last year, I went to Portugal just after Christmas.
And I stayed there until… well, just after new years this year.
Ah in Portugal, I met up with one of my friends from Toronto.
He had family that lived in Portugal, because his family was originally from Portugal.
So, they were kind enough to let me stay with them.
I didn’t know any Portuguese, except for some simple words like “hello”, and “thank you”.
I learned some simple words through an audio CD, before I went there.
And the people that I stayed with didn’t know very much English either.
However, we got along surprisingly well.
They were surprised that I was able to eat some of their exotic foods.
They made some delicious meals every single day, like octopus, tripe and rabbit.
It is quite exotic, but I thought it was quite good.
They also made some excellent desserts, like crème caramel, and
a rich sponge cake that they call Paon d’lo.

I went to a few cities, such as Porto, Almeirim, Lisbon, and Nazare.
The new years celebration on the beaches of Nazare was fantastic.
It was really quite a celebration.
We had some champagne and some raisins.
In Portuguese tradition, they eat twelve raisins for each month of the year.
And make a wish, for each month.

I think that because of my friend and his family, I got to experience a part of
Portugal that most people wouldn’t just by going on vacation.
And I really did have a fantastic experience.