my name is Lucija. I am a student at IV. gimnazija ‘Marko Marulić’ and in this blog I want to show you the project in which I participate. Today schools are real hell for students, first associations are hard working, boring classes, exams, tests… We can all agree that school is not our favorite place in the world and we often wonder why we need all that knowledge. When our sociology teacher asked us to list the shortcomings of our educational system, hands started to raise in the air. Learning became boring for us, we neither see the point nor application. Our education got stuck on the principle ‘sit and learn’. We don’t have practical teaching, but we know so much unnecessary ‘information’. Those were just some of the comments of students from 3.b class and I agreed with most of them. However, I have also mentioned the positive sides of our education system, more of them. Why? Because I have a bigger picture, more positive than theirs. How? Because of my participation in this project. I want to show you the other side of the school, fun school, the true sense of school for life. My wish is to encourage each of you to strive your goals. If you are interested in what this program is all about, what it looks like, why we traveled to Portugal, when we’ll travel to Poland and Lithuania or when the students from those countries will come to Croatia, get comfortable and keep reading.
DAY 1 (Sunday, 10.3.)
Early in the morning our teacher Ms. Žanetić and students met at the Split airport and boarded the first plane to Zagreb. As usual Toma was late, so everyone woke up immediately because of worries. Our teacher Ms. Palčić and me joined our cheerful group at the airport in Zagreb. Our first flight together was to Zürich. It was raining there, but it didn’t spoil our mood. We had a short break that we used for learning some Portuguese words. The application of the day was Google translate and the teacher of the day our Petar. It didn’t take long because there was already another flight waiting for us, the one to Porto. First time in the plane and three flights in a row. I have to admit that it killed us. We finally took our luggage and at the exit an elderly man waited for us waving some papers with our names on them. We got on a van and drove a little more than two hours. As we approached our destination we were becoming more and more suspicious. The view of the settlement looked like our Dugopolje, a base industrial area. As we drove towards the center it looked like we came to a village of Dalmatinska zagora. Well not that much scary ha, ha. We finally saw the sign ‘Arganil’ and that meant we were going to stretch our legs soon. The van parked in front of the school and we were greeted by cheerful and warm faces. I have to admit that the school didn’t look like ours at all, it looked like a kindergarten, colorful, interesting, but pleasing to look at. Mr. Vasco, the coordinator in Portugal, greeted us warmly and wished us welcome. He asked his host students to find their partners. He thought that was going to be hard for them because they had only one photo of us and only short information. The thing that he didn’t know was that we already had a group chat on Instagram and we talked all the time, so finding a partner was easy. They honored us with their traditional sweets, gave us a plan for the next few days and cards with names that we had to carry all the time. The deal was to go to our host families, leave the luggage and then go to the event promotion of cheese in Tabua. We were told to expect a tavern with varied sorts of cheese for tasting and a long speech about what we’re eating long enough to stop eating. However, as soon as we got there all our prejudices vanished.
The fair was in a great hall and the offer was varied: homemade cheese, sausages, prosciutto, jam, cereal, chocolate, mushrooms, liqueur, wine and so on. Those were all home-grown products and above each stand there was the name of the farm and the producers. For me as a gourmet a true paradise on Earth. We tasted so many things there and enjoyed the first true snacks on the Portuguese ground.
The traditional Portuguese music performed on a stage by folk groups could be heard in the background. We were impressed by the domestic animals, which were very tame. As the night was coming, we were getting tired and it was time to go home to our host houses. That evening I got to know the rest of my host family. My hostess Beatriz has two houses. Her family bought one recently and they were still renovating, so I couldn’t sleep there. Beatriz’s parents, her younger brother Salvador and the grandpa live in that house. Beatriz’s other grandpa and grandma live in the second house in which I stayed. We would have dinner in the first house and then we would go to sleep in the second house. That house was located in beautiful greenery…it’s like having a house on top of our hill Marjan, it was wonderful. Grandma Ana warmly accommodated me, she showed me the house and they made sure that I was comfortable. I was impressed by their hospitality and kindness. I was messaging my friends and teachers in our Whats app group about our thoughts and impressions. We were quite pleasantly surprised and satisfied. I was shortly chatting with Beatriz and then we went to bed because a long and difficult day was ahead of us.
DAY 2 (Monday, 11.3.)
Me and Beatriz woke up at 7 AM and it was very cold. I saw fog from the window. That was my first encounter with the weather in Portugal. Mornings and evenings were very fresh, temperatures dropped to nearly zero degree, but afternoons were warm and temperatures would rise above 25 degrees. Beatriz’s grandparents warned me to wear a layered outfit. We had breakfast and Beatriz’s mother took us to school. We met there the students from Lithuania and Poland, who arrived late in the evening, so we didn’t have a chance to meet them earlier. We explored the classrooms together and the Portuguese students introduced us to their teachers and their teaching methods. Their school system is similar to ours, but there are some differences. Children start going to school when they are six years old, which is an equivalent to our preschool year in the kindergarten. The first four grades are the same for everyone, then they divide the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grade by subjects. High school starts in the 10th grade and for the first two grades it is the same for everyone (till the 12th grade). Then they divide in vocational schools or a grammar school, which is the same as in Croatia. They write exams in the 9th, 11th and 12th grade. They have less subjects than us by half, but they still complain that it is difficult. When Portuguese students heard that we have 16 school subjects, including Art and Music, they were shocked. The rest of the trip they thought that we were geniuses. They were knowledgeable in marketing and managing in society (their two main subjects), we had more wider knowledge in the fields that they never even heard of. Ah, they haven’t even heard of a grammar school… I flicked through some of their books, and the curriculum was similar to ours. Some differences were shown in the ways of studying material. In Chemistry classes they do a lot of experiments, and in Math classes they solve problems on laptops, they draw animal cells in Biology classes, and so on. The school library has a space for relaxing and entertainment, which is equipped with books and computers. The room which we liked the most was the entertainment room where students hang out. There are desks, a stage and a billiard table. We rested there and talked, but soon enough it was time for lunch. The school canteen was quite big. A healthy meal plan and menu created by nutritionists is carried out there. We had tuna and rice, side dish and fruit for lunch. I have to admit that we were not impressed by the lunch because we, Dalmatians, are very used to spicy food. Luckily we found our alternative- LIDL. After the lunch we had some free time designed for socializing and talking. Our Portuguese friends took us to their school cafe, also known as ‘Eduardus’, which became our living room in the following days.
We had our first Portuguese coffee and we enjoyed the company of our new friends. I think that in that coffee bar we found out the most about them. We explained to them that people from Split drink coffee at least two hours, and they quickly adapted to it. When we finished our coffee, we went exploring the city. The city mayor welcomed us in his office and wished us enjoyable stay in Portugal and then they gave us presents as a sign of welcome.
After the reception in the City Hall, the hosts prepared a game called ‘Peddy paper’ where we got to know Arganil and its landmarks. We walked through the city and enjoyed the view and the beauty of nature. We were especially impressed by particular tiles which were everywhere. Walk made us very tired and it was the time to go to our houses. Beatriz had her 16th birthday that day and we had a family dinner, which her mother and grandma prepared. We had chicken with sauce and rice with sweet potato for dinner. Then we had cake for dessert. After a very long day and a croissant for lunch, I was very excited about the dinner. It was very tasty and spicy, which I love. After the dinner we went to grandma and grandpa’s house to sleep. A very hard trip was scheduled for the next day, so we needed to rest.
DAY 3 (Tuesday, 12.3.)
This morning there was no sign of fog. The morning was wonderful, we knew right away it would be like this all day. While we were having breakfast, we studied the itinerary that seemed quite tiring. We were taken to school by Beatriz’s father and that day was his birthday. They announced we would have dinner together, which made me very happy because we were supposed to have a lunch packet and I felt like I wasn’t going to like it… The bus was waiting for us in front of the school and we headed towards Coimbra. Our first stop was the ‘Institute Pedro Nunes’ (IPN) developed by the University of Coimbra to promote innovations and technology transfer establishing connections among scientific and technological environment and production. We were lectured by two amazing lecturers, who each in their own way tried to explain the significance of technology in today’s world. The first lecturer was Jorge Pimenta, a project manager, an entrepreneur, a Start Up enthusiast and a business programmer, who encourages innovations and entrepreneurship in the IPN. He was talking about entrepreneurial incubators, so-called Startups based on technology, international market research and innovations. Young entrepreneurs stay for about four years there and then after that they become independent. In today’s world it is all based on digitality and tends to transform from physical to digital shape in which there are no longer limits we once used to know. He told us to learn , travel, progress and believe in our ideas. The second lecturer was Pedro Jorge Caridade (Copernicus Academy), a remarkable professor on the University of Coimbra and a co-founder of SpaceLayer Technologies ( ‘Institute Pedro Nunes Startup’ company), who gave us ‘From prime layer to space layer’ lecture. The topic of his lecture was a connection between geography and technology and how we use it today in progress related to our daily lives ( for example, climate, pollution and economic, environmental and social dimension of research connected to this subject). After the lecture we headed towards our next stop the University of Coimbra. Frankly, I didn’t get the impression of a university, it looked more as a museum, but I really liked it. We explored the whole University, which was really big, and learned a lot of interesting stories related to its history. Vasco, the project coordinator in Portugal, also studied on this University and even got married there. It has been educating generations of people since 1290. It once used to include only the study of theology and law and later the social studies (med school later moved, so it can be closer to the hospital). What I found interesting was the fact that students take their final exam sitting on a lower chair looking at their professor’s legs. The point was to inspire them to pursue higher goals. The color of the University is green and that is the color of curtains on University events. Each faculty has its own color ( psychology orange, medicine yellow…) and when there are special events, the curtains are in their color. The University even used to have its own prison which was opened in 1773. and the reasons for punishments are absurd to us today. Being late to a class or rude to professors, writing on page margins were some of the reasons for punishment. The room that left us all speechless was, believe it or not, the library. Unfortunately, taking pictures is forbidden because they are trying to protect books from radiation. The University managed to pay building the library in just three years, which shows us how wealthy it was during that time. Just like in all the other University premises, there were clear and strict rules. Students would sit at a table and read, would not talk and they were not allowed to call a librarian. You are wondering how they would get the book they wanted? They used a fountain pen to write the name of the book they needed and then rang. About 40 000 books are exhibited, with a total number of about 200 000. It is hard for me to illustrate its greatness and luxury. After the library we went to Sao Miguel chapel. It is decorated with beautiful Persian patterns created at the urging of the king who was in love with Persian culture. After we got out, they suggested we climb a tower. We were looking forward to experience some adrenaline and height. We climbed 33 meters and enjoyed the perfect view of the whole city . The passage to the tower was very narrow and the stairs had different dimensions due to the fact they were not built by the same builder .
As we were leaving, we noticed some girls wearing dresses that looked like school uniforms from Harry Potter. We later found out that J.K.Rowling was inspired by those dresses. We also noticed some ‘rags’ hanging on the front doors of the University. Vasco told us these were pieces of uniforms of graduating students. It is customary, after they graduate, to chase them around the town and tear their clothes off until they remain in their underwear. The last piece of clothes ties to the fence followed by a shout: ‘Now you have graduated!’ After sightseeing the University we walked through the city. It is really amazing. Houses, squares, characteristic blue doors, a part of the city for relaxation in nature and a ‘playful bridge’ painted in many colors… we were all delighted! We were enjoying so much we didn’t notice we were running late. They were waiting for us, so we skipped the lunch and ate it in the bus while driving to Fatima. When we arrived, we went to the museum and watched a presentation about Fatima. There were displayed many golden objects donated by people to the church (jewelry, priest’s gowns, chalice..) The square was very monumental. We went to the church, lit candles, prayed and thanked God for this experience. We bought a couple of souvenirs and headed towards the bus, but the problem was Toma couldn’t find his wallet. We were all worried, but luckily he found it. I was very tired and couldn’t wait for the dinner. While I was waiting for the dinner to be served, I was talking to Beatriz’s grandfather . I was amazed by his knowledge about Croatia and his life story. The dinner was ready and I enjoyed it. We had baked cod and vegetables and it was delicious. After the dinner we went to sleep.
DAY 4 (Wednesday, 13.3.)
We woke up later than the other days because we didn’t have any trips planned. We spent the day doing many activities that our hosts had prepared. First, we played traditional Portuguese games, we actually knew most of them. We split in groups and played a game with balls, made a sack race, played the game of the rope, etc. It was funny and we got to know some other students from the project better. After that we made our creativity work. We made some figures and our flags out of wood. It was already cut so we just colored it. We showed our agility, I also made a butterfly with Petar. He cut it and I perforated it with a hot stick and then we colored it together. We let it dry and went to the canteen for lunch. As soon as we finished, we went to the municipal library of Arganil (Biblioteca municipal de Arganil). First, we assisted to an entrepreneurship idea contest. The students presented their ideas, explained why it was useful for the community. The ideas were very interesting and innovative, we really liked how the contestants were so informed about the needs of the market and found ideas to satisfy them. To show us that it is possible to develop an idea and make a successful business they invited Pedro Silva Santos. Through his presentation ‘Wanted’ he showed us how business works. He taught us that having an idea is nothing, at least until you develop it into something concrete. Anyone can have an idea, but not everyone can realize it and only a few can make a successful business out of it. He also said that we had to be wanted and not those who wanted, our work had to be recognizable enough, so others could reach out to us and not vice versa. He also introduced us to the world of Instagram and blogs, their power and gave us some tips to make profit out of it. He recommended us to read two books, ‘The art of social media’ by Guy Kawasaki and ‘Known’ by Mark Schafer. He also explained how to make a great marketing strategy on the example of his book. It was interesting to hear some advice for getting higher in society. After all those serious things we needed some rest, so we went to our favorite café in the town, ‘Eduardus’, for a well-deserved coffee. Our hosts organized a dinner for all the students from the project, the teachers and the parents from our host families. We tasted a lot of snacks made with ‘bacalao’, the codfish, which were delicious. Then we had a soup and a meat plate, for dessert we had some traditional Portuguese cakes prepared by the host families. I was surprised when I saw only a few chocolate cakes and mostly cakes made out from eggs and cheese, which were very much like our rožata. Of course, we also had some great music as there was a real little orchestra on the stage and Barnardo’s sister sang. They introduced us Fado, a musical genre anchored in the Portuguese culture since the 1820. Its characteristic nostalgic, sad melodies and stories about life enhanced us. The modern Fado is a little bit happier. The Fado is often described by the word ‘saudade’, which has no translation in any language, the closest would be nostalgia, melancholy and deep sadness. We sang, danced and Toma even tried to teach the others our traditional dance, kolo. Ha, ha, ha, it wasn’t quite easy. We also danced a Portuguese ‘train’ dance. We had lots of fun, at the end a student from Poland sang, we didn’t even know that we had such a talented girl with us. Then there was a ceremony for thanking all the participating schools and taking some photos with the flags we had done earlier that day. We received our certificates, took some photos together and went to our hosts’ homes. It was late and we had a trip to Porto the next day so we went to bed quickly.
DAY 5 (Thursday, 14.3.)
We woke up a little more tired than usual, probably because we danced so much the night before. We had a breakfast and left to school, the bus for Porto was already waiting for us. The ride was calm, the majority were asleep. As the end of the journey was coming closer, we were increasingly tired. While we were on the bus, Vasco presented the plan and program of that day to us and told us a little bit about the places we were going to visit. First, we went to church Clerigos with a high tower. The church was beautiful, but the biggest challenge was climbing the top of the tower. By the top of the belfry we had done more than 240 steps. The view of the whole Porto was wonderful, although the space was very tight, we all were able to see the town. Our next stop was Livraria Lello, probably the most beautiful library in the world, which would particularly be interesting to those who grew up reading Harry Potter books. Allegedly, J.K. Rowling found her inspiration right here in Porto, more correctly at this library, in whose café bar she drank her coffee daily and wrote the first part of book series, for which back then she didn’t even know would bring her a planetary popularity and wealth. And indeed, when you step into Lello library, at first sight you will notice irresistible similarity to Hogwarts. Our teacher Ms. Žanetić and I, as great book lovers, we were amazed. You could find everything for everyone, bookshelves were filled with books of different authors, languages and genres. I bought ‘Little prince’ and ‘Heidi’, because those were my favorite books from childhood, and the rest chose something of their own choice.
We were already late for our next destination, so we finished shopping quickly and went to the center. On our way to the center we saw famous Casa de Musica, in which biggest concerts are held. I’m sure every fan of modern architecture and innovations would love it. Windows are made in shape of the waves to get the best possible acoustic. Besides that, we also saw Crystal Palace Garden, the garden complex designed in a romantic style with a beautiful sight on the town and the river. As part of the museum there are romantic and wine museums, too. We took a little walk and came right to the coast. A little boat was waiting for us, and the ride was marvelous. We were sailing down the river Douros with a panoramic view on all the bridges of Porto and two coasts- Ribeira and Guja with Luis I. bride ‘above us’. After the ride we got some free time which we spent for sightseeing and shopping. Our teacher Ms. Palčić and I went to visit the famous Calem winery and bought a few postcards on the main street. The coast is filled with restaurants, but there was no time for lunch, so we just had coffee. Vasco came for us and told us that the bus was waiting, our next stop was Castelo de Queijo on the Atlantic coast. It is a medium sized fortress out of the three that oversee the port of Porto and the mouth of the Douro River. It was erected in 1643 and the order for construction was issued by the Portuguese King John IV. The beach was beautiful, the fine ocean sand reflected the last rays of the sun. For some project participants, this was their first encounter with the sea, especially the ocean, so most enjoyed it. Running tired us, we got on the bus and fell asleep. A Dinamo-Benfica match was played that night, so a roar of guys woke us up at the end of the ride. They didn’t argue much because our Hajduk fans were in doubt – cheering for Dinamo even though we were born for Hajduk, or joining our teammates and cheering for Benfica. It was hard to decide. We went to Carolina’s house where her mom welcomed us with dinner and we lined up ‘like sardines’ on a couch to watch the game. In the end it all ended up eating pizza and chicken with chips, and we didn’t care anymore about the result. We ate, shared our impressions of Porto and chatted for a little more about the day ahead. Everyone was already tired, so we decided to bring the party together. Just when I was going to bed and sounded the alarm, a message came to the Whats App project group. Prof. Palčić wrote that she had been informed that entrepreneurship in our school should be presented in the morning. It is designed that each school has a presentation in English that should be presented by one of the students. We were a little panicked. We neither had a presentation nor knew what we were going to talk about. Prof. Palčić immediately remembered Ivana who had very good presentation skills and asked her to help us and explained to her what it should look like. When we got the presentation, there was something more to say about each item. Peter and I joined forces and got to work. I was familiar with most concepts in politics and economics, but there were some that I didn’t understand. Peter explained everything to me and I tried to frame the text, so that everyone could understand what I was talking about. The terms and definitions about marketing, entrepreneurs, sales and production are a big headache for most. It took me a while to get that close to my peers, and the night was already moving. The clock was showing at 2 in the morning, and we had no more power. We decided to try to make the rest in the morning.
DAY 6 (Friday, 15.3.)
Ah, I’m already bored with writing these openings, always the same… woke up, had breakfast, went to the school where the bus waited for us, but fortunately, the rest isn’t the least bit boring. We made our way to one of the seven wonders of Portugal – Piodao. It is an old village built from stone in the mountain Açor. It is located on the mountain peak so the drive was lengthy, as soon as we entered the bus we took a seat next to our professors, so we could finish up the presentation. Professor Žanetić and Toma were tidying up the presentation, while me and professor Palčić worked on the speech. The professor was very fond of the end result, and I had a sigh of relief. I decided to talk about general terms, such as what entrepreneurship is, who can be a entrepreneur and such in the first part of the speech, which would tie into our subject of Politics. The second part was supposed to talk about our practical application of entrepreneurship in our school. The ideal idea evaded me until the group remembered Petar who organized the entire prom party, Petar dictated and I wrote. By the time we reached the top of the mountain, we finished the text and translated it into English, the only question was who was going to present it all, and the delicate task fell on me, honestly I don’t have problems speaking to crowds, but I was afraid I would make some mistake as the whole speech was in English. We entered the hotel, where all the presentations took place, ours was last, the plan was for me to present the first bit, while Petar talked about his work with the prom, but he admitted he wasn’t so skilled in English, so we decided that he would make his speech in Croatian and I would translate, my monologue lasted about 15 minutes, while a video depicting the prom ran in the background, everyone was amazed by the presentation and we were proud we had done such a wonderful job. After the hard work, some fun was in order, we walked to the village and were left speechless, the tiny and tightly fit stone houses seemed as if they were from a fairy tale. After we had explored every nook and cranny and every street, we took a seat to drink some juice and have some ice-cream. We took some pictures in front of the church, but we couldn’t enter, and after enjoying the scenery it was time to return home and have lunch, for lunch we had codfish with chickpeas, after which we visited the ‘Eduardus’, which everyone was already familiar with, we ordered some long awaited coffee, while our professors visited a cosmetic salon nearby, most of us remained in the coffee shop, where we came to the conclusion we liked it so much there because we weren’t in a rush and were together. Coincidentally, it was also where we learned the most Portuguese words, such as: Bom dia! – hello, cerveja – beer, obrigado – thank you. There were many others which I can’t remember right now. We hanged out some more and then I decided to join the professors, while they had their nails done I decided to get my hair, which at this point resembled a mane, taken care of. I enjoyed the salon because it was very unusual, the chandeliers were shaped like hats, the hair spray was in a bottle that resembled soda bottles, all in all, very odd. We spent the afternoon together but around dinner time we had to part ways for the day, for dinner we had pizza, which was obviously prepared in some special way as it tasted very special, I liked it even though it wasn’t a typical pizza, I packed my things as this was our last day in Arganil, and Lisbon waited for us, I was both sad and excited, sad to leave my hosts and excited to see the famed city. I left a present on the table for grandmother Ana and Beatriz’s family and asked Beatriz to write a letter in Portuguese, so her grandmother could read it, I thanked her for her hospitality and the warmth with which I was received, I was told we had to get up early at 5 in the morning, so her grandmother would probably be asleep. I took a shower and hit the hay.
DAY 7 (Saturday, 16.3.)
We woke up very early, quickly got ready and went to the front yard where Beatriz’s mother waited for us. While I was heading for the exit, I felt someone’s hands try to hug me, when I turned around I saw grandma Ana, her eyes were full of tears and in her hand she held my letter.. she woke up to say goodbye after all. This touched me because I really didn’t expect such warmth and sincerity. We said our goodbyes, and Beatrizs other grandfather hugged me and told everyone that they didn’t need to hear what he was about to tell me, he told me that he had spent a few nights talking with me and got to know at least a small part of me, that he was glad that I was so ambitious and had big plans for the future, he told me something that I had to remember and that would always remind me of him, that he believed in me and everything I imagine I could achieve, and to keep on being me, and then he told me goodbye, I was touched by his words, and they made it that much more difficult to leave. I sat in the bus and for the last time passed through the ,’Portuguese Marjan’. I hadn’t thought I would get so attached to this place and these people, but I obviously had. Beatriz’s mom took us to the hotel in front of which a van waited for us, we said our goodbyes to everyone, thanked them for such a wonderful experience. We didn’t expect some of them to shed a tear, but they did. We put our baggage in the van and went on our way to Lisabon. Our first stop was McDonalds, we were hungry and wanted some familiar food. Honestly we were disappointed because it wasn’t the same as our ,’Mickey D’s’, our driver Bruno waited for us patiently, our first real stop was Cabo da Roca, the westernmost mainland point of Europe.
The renowned poet Luís de Camões described the cape as a place where the land ends and the sea begins. The cape is located in the Nature park Sintra – Cascais, near the Sintra cliff created by abrasion from the ocean waves. On the capes plateau there is a stone obelisk with a board on which there are written geographical coordinates, and also a lighthouse and a souvenir shop. We were greeted by mist and strong winds, but this didn’t deter us from enjoying the view. The next stop was Sintra. Along with the National palace, Sintra’s most well known attraction is the palace Pena. It is under UNESCO-s protection and considered one of the seven wonders of Portugal. The construction of the palace was ordered by king Fernando the second and queen Maria the second in the 19th century. It was constructed on the cornerstones of a monastery destroyed in the great earthquake of 1755.
The complex is an odd mix of gothic, renaissance, Egyptian and Mauri architecture, but the result is oddly attractive. The palace is surrounded by beautiful gardens, spreading over 200 acres and in which are planted many exotic plants. Among it all are hidden a number of fountains and ponds which give a refreshing note to the entire complex. The interior isn’t any less amazing, the vast rooms are richly decorated, and we had a feeling as though we were sent back in time. We were especially impressed by the, believe it or nor, slightly unusual toilet. Except that, we were impressed by the kitchen, so large the entire family could use it at once. After we had seen the castle, we went downtown. We did not want to waste our time, so we left the suitcases at the hotel and went to the main square. We were hungry so we ate at a restaurant that was on the main street. When we were done, we could enjoy the town. Ah, I forgot… Coffee… First we went to get coffee from Starbucks, and then we could move on. The district Belem was our first destination. It was far away from us, so we took ‘the tuc tuc’ and enjoyed the drive. The driver left us in front of Jeronimos monastery. It is one of the best examples of the original Portuguese late gothic manueline style. Because of its artistic and historical importance, it is listed as a UNESCO World heritage site in Europe. What impressed us particularly, was Pasteis de Belem. It is a dessert that was made by catholic monks in 18. century. Somewhat rustic, with seemingly unsightly, but rich cream in crispy ,’baskets’ of puff pastry, perfect.. It is interesting that nobody except the monks knows the recipe. We wanted to try it, but there were over a 100 people in the line in front of the cake shop. We decided not to try it, so we went to the Maritime Museum and the Monument of Discovery (Padrao dos Descobrimentos). The monument was built in honor of the sailors because famous Portuguese sailors would start their expeditions from that place. On the ground, there is a whole map of the world that is made of tiles, it is incredible! We climbed to the top of the tower of the monument and the view was indescribable. Unfortunately, it was already late so we couldn’t enter, but we enjoyed the sunset instead. On the way back to the hotel we also saw the Cristo del Rey monument, inspired by the famous Brazilian Christ in Rio de Janeiro. It was built in 1959 because they wanted to thank that Portugal was not destroyed in World War II.. We saw a bridge that is connecting Lisbon and Almada on the south cost of the river Tagus. It is often compared to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, USA, because both of them are suspension bridges and they have a similar color. When we came to the center, we went to dinner. Then we went to a famous shop that had an interesting interior, it is decorated with sea motives. It was interesting to see cans with dates of births and the store reminded me of the circus. Then we went to Hard rock and we did some shopping. We were tired because, at that point, we had been walking for 18 kilometers. But we passed much more because we were driving in ‘the tuc tuc’ as well. We went back to the hotel and decided to meet up at 7 A.M. so that we could hang out in the town for a few more hours.
DAY 8 (Sunday, 17.3.)
We did as we agreed. We had been ready to go when professor Žanetić decided to take us to Alfama, the oldest district in Lisbon. Alfama is the only district that survived the earthquake in 1755. so we could see how Lisbon had looked like before the disaster. The Alfama was mostly inhabited by the poor population who invented fado, they sang about hard life of their workers. Mauri ruled over all Lisbon from 8. to 12. century and that is why they had a large impact on the architecture. Also, above most of the gates there was a sculpture of St. Ante Padua, who was born in Alfama and is their protector. We visited his house that was turned into a museum. He was called Padua because he served there at the end of his life. We visited Lisbon Cathedral – Se de Lisboa, as well. Yellow trains, which are a recognizable symbol of Lisbon , were passing through the streets. The scenery was beautiful and we all agreed that it wouldn’t be difficult for us to live in Lisbon. Warm climate, friendly people, delicious food… Do you need anything else?! It was 11 A.M. and we needed to catch the train. But what kind of trip would it be if everything went according to the plan?! We agreed with the owner of the hotel that the bill would be ready in the morning, except it wasn’t. While we were running to buy the metro tickets, professor Palčić was negotiating the problem with the reception worker. Fortunately, everything ended well. We were tired and exhausted, which could be seen on our faces. We were missing our families, food and beds. We arrived at the airport and boarded our first flight, to Zurich. The flight from Zurich to Zagreb was late so we were afraid that we wouldn’t make it to the flight to Split on time. Luckily, we arrived at the last minute and spent most of the time in the plane sleeping. At the airport our families picked up us and our journey came to an end.
Although all this already passed, we are still talking about our journey and I am sure these anecdotes will be mentioned many more times. I want to thank the teachers who organized everything and who were part of this incredible experience. Thanks to them, we learned a lot and visited many places. They were a good company. Of course, thank to our hosts who made an effort to make us feel welcomed. Ah, I must thank our legendary team of Croats with whom it was a pleasure to travel. They all were patient while I was taking notes and photos for this blog, especially Toma. Besides everything I learned about entrepreneurship and marketing through the program, I learned much more. I met a whole new culture, people, customs, language, and what surprised me in particular, my team. I’ve seen Ana and Toma and Peter and Nina and Deni in the school hallways, but we did not have time to get to know each other. On this journey, I realized how good and kind people they are, they made every moment that much more special. After all this text and pictures, can you believe I have nothing more to say? I know, neither do I. I do, actually, but there’s still something that I want to keep to myself. I would say that what happened in Portugal, stays in Portugal, but I think, after reading this blog, you feel like you were part of it, and that’s exactly what was my intention. I hope that I described Portugal to you, at least from my perspective. If I did, my mission is completed successfully.
Until the next trip, goodbye.
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