I cannot believe that this is my final week in Lisbon, Portugal before I return home to San Diego. My time here may have been short, but it was filled with such amazing experiences that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

As I look back on my trip there are things I wish I had done and a few I would have done differently. One thing I wouldn’t change was my decision to study abroad; I would highly recommend it to every student that is given the opportunity. To tell you that it will change your life is an understatement and it has given me an opportunity to see how other people view us as Americans.

Lisbon is not usually the first destination students think when they choose to study abroad, but I think it should be high on their lists. The city is so affordable compared to other western European cities, plus it has friendly people, excellent schools, and amazing food. Lisbon is fast becoming a very popular tourist destination, due mainly to its affordability. Now is the time to visit before prices match those of other, more famous, nearby cities!

My original plans did not call for visiting any other countries, however when we had a free weekend I jumped at the opportunity to visit Barcelona Spain. I can see why the city was chosen for the 1992 Summer Olympics. The architecture of Antoni Gaudí is, by itself, enough reason to visit. But the city has so much more to offer.

Although the thought of leaving makes me wish I had more time to explore, it will be nice to get back home. The hesitation I once had about traveling abroad has been dispelled and I can’t wait until I can travel to a new destination. There is so much of the world I have yet to see and I will make every effort to see as much of it as I can!

Lisbon from the top of the Elevador de Santa Justa (Santa Justa Lift).

The Tram 28 and a Tuk Tuk are the best motorized ways to explore the narrow streets of the Alfama District, Lisbon.

The iconic Tram 28, in operation since 1873, in the Alfama District the oldest part of Lisbon.

Looking over the Baxia (Downtown) District of Lisbon; The area was completely destroyed during the 1755 Lisbon earthquake.

Convento da Ordem do Carmo (Convent of Our Lady of Carmo) was partially destroyed during the Lisbon earthquake; The ruins are now a popular museum and tourist attraction.

The arch at the Praço do Comérico (Commerce Park) the park sits on the site of the former Royal Ribeira Palace, destroyed in the 1755 Lisbon earthquake.

The Praço do Comérico is still referred to as Terriero do Praço (Palace Yard) because it was built on the site of the former royal palace.

Statue in Praço do Comérico of King José I, who had the Ribeira Palace built by the Tagus River in the 16th century.

Lisbon from the Castelo do São Jorge (Saint George Castle), a Moorish castle that dates back to the 10th century. The 25 de Abril Bridge (April 25 Bridge), which often gets compared to the Golden Gate Bridge, can be seen in the distance.

A typical side street in the Baxia (Downtown) filled with endless al fresco dining opportunities.

One of the many street performers in the Baxia (Downtown) district.

The Torre de Belém (Belém Tower) built in the 16th century, it was originally in the middle of the Tagus river; The 1755 Lisbon earthquake diverted the river putting the tower closer to shore.

A courtyard in the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos (Jerónimos Monastery) building was started in 1501 and was completed 100 years later, in 1601.

The Santuario de Nossa Senhora do Cabo Espichel (Sanctuary of Our Lady of Cape Espicial) was built in the early 1700s and is located in Sesimbra, Portugal.

The Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument to the Discoveries) glorifies 32 key figures from Portugal’s Age of Discovery.

Our Geology 303 study abroad class in the coastal town of Cascais – the childhood home of our faculty leader Prof. Isabelle SacramentoGrilo.

La Sagrada Familia is a Roman Catholic basilica in Barcelona, Spain, The chief architect was Antoni Gaudí, known for his modernist neo-Gothic works. Construction was started in 1882 and has a expected completion date sometime in 2026; 100 years after Gaudí’s death.

Avenue in Barcelona, with La Sagrada Familia in the background; is made for pedestrians with only two lanes in each direction made for scooters.

Casa Batlló is another Antoni Gaudí masterpiece, in the heart of Barcelona.

The monumental section of Park Güell is a testament to architect Antoni Gaudí and is a must stop on any visit to Barcelona.

One of the many shops dedicated to selling of Iberian ham; which is a specialty one must try while in Spain.

Barcelona streets fill with street vendors who display their wares wherever there is room to lay down their blanket; This is the Port of Barcelona building.

The old customs house is located next to the Port of Barcelona.

Nighttime view of the wall surrounding the Jardins del Baluard (Bastion Gardens) in Barcelona.

Aerial view of the Barceloneta neighborhood; the only one that was built in a typical grid pattern.

The architecture in the Gothic Quarter makes for a great opportunity to walk around and get lost for hours.


David McLean-Perkins is majoring in information systems. He is participating in a study abroad program to Portugal in Summer, 2017.

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