Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Happy Birthday Marines

United States Marines around the world celebrate November 10 as their "birthday" to commemorate the founding of the USMC in 1775. We recently celebrated the birthday of the Marines by attending our fourth Marine Corps Birthday Ball, which was hosted by the Marine Security Guard Detachment stationed in Lisbon. It's a great event where the Marines get to show off and commemorate their history. The embassy community tries to support the event, so we've made it a point to attend them so far. Plus they're a lot of fun. Enjoy some photos.

All dressed up

Hillary with our friends, Rebecca and Sgt. Ochoa

Hillary, Rebecca and Abby

Nine years ago, we went to our first Marine Corps Ball in Athens

Monday, November 15, 2010

100 Maneiras

The title of this post is a restaurant we recently tried, and it was so great I wanted to do a post about it.

Last month we had some friends come visit us in Lisbon, traveling here from London, Baghdad, and Warsaw. It was a nice reunion, and they also got to do a little sightseeing while they were here.

We had heard wonderful things about a restaurant here that does a 10 course meal. I thought it would be fun for us to try while they were visiting. There is no menu, and you can't order anything a la carte. However, the total price for this decadent, 10 course meal? Only 35 euros!

The first course was so cute and inventive - bacalhau (dried cod) crackers hung from mini clothespins!

The second course was a foie gras made with chocolate, served with a mango something or other.

After that, I was enjoying everything so much I didn't bother to take any more pictures.

Oh, except I had to take a photo of the wonderful wine we had so we would remember the name. It was one of the best wines I've had since we moved here.

The last 2 courses were dessert. Every single thing served was wonderful, and managed to be delicious and unique at the same time. Here is a group shot of us at the end of our almost 3 hour meal (!)

If you live in Lisbon or visit, definitely make a reservation here!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Prague, Czech Republic

Recently we went to Prague for a conference John attended, and I got to tag along! We were able to go for four days, and John's conference was only for two days, so it was a nice trip. I had been to Prague ten years ago while backpacking, but only for two days. One of the days we took a day trip to Terezin, a former concentration camp about 45 minutes outside of Prague. It was one of the most interesting places I visited while backpacking. But essentially I had only seen a day's worth of the city, so I was excited to go back. Prague has become much more touristy in the past 5-10 years - I definitely noticed that. If it was that crowded at the beginning of October, I'd be afraid to go during the summer! We spent most of our time walking all over the city, and trying out the Czech food and beer - both of which were great. Enjoy the pics.

We got to stay in a really nice hotel called the Alchymist, which was right across the street from the American Embassy there, and near his conference. Although the first night we stayed in a cute attic room of a hotel. The only drawback was no elevator. Here is John after carrying our luggage up four flights!

We stayed very close to the Charles Bridge, which connects the old part of the city to the new. It is lined with licensed vendors and musicians, and is always packed with tourists.

See all those people?

View of the Prague Castle. It is the largest castle complex in the world!

Famous astronomical clock

This was a popular Czech appetizer called beer cheese, which you put on fried toast. Needless to say, it was delicious.

Night view of the river and castle

Apparently Prague has freaky black squirrels with pointy ears and glowing eyes!


And more beer

A really cool underground cave-like restaurant

Look at all that candle wax!

Awesome steak with potato-stuffed onion!

Bridge with thousands of locks

Here is the famous "Lennon Wall". Since the 1980s, this wall has been graffitied over and over with Beatles-inspired images and lyrics.

I decided to climb to the top of this mini Eiffel tower to see the great view. Yes, Prague has a mini Eiffel tower, too!

While walking around, I found a reflexology place! Since I hadn't had a professional foot massage since Jakarta, I was pretty much in heaven.

The funniest part was the guy outside. If it weren't for him yelling out "massage", I would have walked right by the place. Check him out, you'll see why I definitely noticed him!

Our fancy hotel had a complimentary cheese and wine-tasting hour every evening.

One of the neat things to do in Prague is to see a classical concert in a stunning concert hall or church. These guys were great

I'm sure it would be a great city to see covered in snow. But we were happy that it wasn't too cold and we didn't get rained on during our time there! One last shot - the beautiful Tyn church taken from the top of the Eiffel tower: