Feliz Ano Novo !
May this year have all humans safe and in peace and have compassion to one another, that next generations wouldn’t need to put any effort to keep that love amongst them!
I am excited for this year and what it holds. For a start, it kicked-off great. Maybe this is the first time in my life I ever spend New Year’s eve away from my family and friends away from home, but it was great to have this first page written by so many different backgrounds.
I spent NYE with some Portuguese, Polish, Ukrainian, German, French, Italian, British people plus my American-Palestinian cousin who is visiting. We all gathered and celebrated the new year watching the fire works on top of Miradouro de Santa Catrina. It was very pretty.
I spent the first day of the year exploring Belém, which is the Portuguese name of Bethlehem. It is a very unique city with it’s site-seeing that represent the Portuguese explorations around the world, the Age of Discoveries. Of course had Pastéis de Nata at one of the most famous places that serve this typical Portuguese egg tarts. We walked next to the Tagus river and saw the Padrão dos Descobrimentos monument. It is a beautiful representation to celebrate the Portuguese discoveries situated next to the port where sailing boats used depart to trade and explore India and the Orient. In front of the monument, there is a rose campus that tells the story of the exploration journeys, a campus of colored limestone that we learnt was gifted by the Republic of South Africa.
We spent some time walking around the garden of Belém, passing by the Belém Palace, we entered Santa Maria Church where there is the tombs of Vasco da Gama and Luis Vaz De Camões.
On the Second day of the year, we went by train to the mountains of Sintra, a very fairy-tale-like village with breath taking landscape. The green forest can literally take your breath away, it’s very reviving and feeds your soul with colors that can never be experienced anywhere else. Climbing up the mountain, walking between the very green trees connects you to nature in a spiritual way. We reach Pena Palace, the most beautiful colorful palace I’ve ever seen. It is truly a fairy tale on top of Sintra mountains, a breath-taking view between the clouds, and I am a person with acrophobia, but I had to pull myself together and overlook my phobia to enjoy this heavenly view.
Being among people with different nationalities and celebrating the new year together, exploring the beauty of Portugal and it’s culture, knowing more about myself through this journey and being connected to nature, cities, people and LIFE, is a great start to this year. I always try to look beyond each experience. I consider myself a spiritual person, seek for the unseen beauty behind every little thing where within lies the power of the creator. Starting this year with so much energy of colors around me in new places and new people makes me feel positive about this year.