Thanksgiving Break in Portugal & Spain – 12th Week at NYU London!

Read all the exciting things our scholars have been up to!

Hi everyone, I hope you’re all doing well! This week was Thanksgiving break, which means NYU London gave students a holiday on Thursday and Friday. For the long weekend, my three friends and I traveled to Lisbon, Portugal and Madrid, Spain!

On Thanksgiving, we flew to Lisbon in the early morning to spend the whole day exploring the city. First, we spent some time wandering around the Christmas market on the main piazza. The artisan market stalls were selling all kinds of handmade items, ranging from jewelry to purses and festive Christmas ornaments. There was also some tasty food options such as the famously delicious Portuguese pastry “pastel de nata”. The custard-filled pastry has a soft, gooey texture that melts in your mouth and makes a great treat! After the market, my friends and I walked through the streets and admired the picturesque houses with their open balconies. We made our way to the marina and enjoyed the view of the beautiful red bridge in the distance.

On Friday, my friends and I woke up early to catch our scheduled tour to Sintra, a delightful Portuguese town that boasts extravagant palaces. Our guide, Gustavo, was very welcoming and knowledgeable about the sites we visited, including Peña Palace, Quinta da Regaleira and the park and palace of Monserrate. Peña Palace exemplifies the 19th century Romanticism style of architecture and stands atop a rocky peak, which is the second highest points in Sintra Hills, while Quinta da Regaleira comprises a magnificent Renaissance-style manor and a 88-foot well built for secret ceremonial purposes. Once we arrived back in Lisbon, my friends and I celebrated the end our successful tour with a dinner on the top of a hotel with a gorgeous view of the city’s sparkling lights.

For the last two days of our trip, we had spent our time in Madrid. Some of the highlights of our visit included the tour of the Royal Palace, dining at a seafood restaurant and walking through one of Madrid’s largest and oldest Sunday markets – El Rastro. Home to the Kings of Spain from Charles III to Alfonso XIII, the Royal Palace was especially enjoyable, as it featured extravagantly decorated rooms, including dining halls, banquet halls and bedrooms. Additionally, we knew we couldn’t leave without trying Spain’s famous paella dish! This meal consists of Spanish rice, shrimp and vegetables. It was such a fun time bonding over the delicious food and relaxing a bit before our flight the next day.

Thanks so much for reading my twelfth blog post! Now that I only have about two weeks left in London, I will be focusing on exploring the sites I haven’t yet visited and finishing up my final exam papers. Wish me luck!