Sunday, June 5, 2016

Louisville to Lisbon

Sunday, June 5, 2016 - Day 1

I'm off again! This time to Portugal, not only to explore its beautiful coast but also the farms, vineyards, rivers and countryside of the interior.  
I'm going on a two-week Rick Steves' tour. Several of my friends have experienced this tour and have given it rave reviews. I have been a fan of Rick Steves' guidebooks for over 5 years and decided it was time to check out one of his tours.
Portugal is one of the last Western European countries for me to visit. I've been to Spain 5 times, but like many travelers, I just haven't gotten over to its Iberian neighbor. Now is the time.
A few interesting facts:
Spain and Portugal have had the same border for over 800 years.
Geographically, Portugal is about the size of Indiana and has a population of 11 million. 
Through its sailors' expert navigational skills and the development of small, but well designed vessels called caravelles, the Portuguese explored the world in the late 15 and 16th centuries. By 1560, a Portuguese ship could sail all the way to China and not lose sight of land that Portugal dominated. Consequently, Portuguese is the sixth most common language spoken in the world today.
So now I am in the Newark airport awaiting my flight to Lisbon. We are having a rain delay but the sun has just burst through the window and I see a rainbow, so that is good. Hopefully, I'll soon be on my way! (Below, leaving Louisville)

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