Azulejo

1 September 2013

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The vacation casa of the Maroco family in the central Eastern part of Portugal, right near the Portugal/Spain border. It is so gorgeous here. The Portuguese countryside is so relaxing and calm, who wouldn’t love it? Not to mention all the great food.

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Azulejo-the typical blue and white tile that you see adorning all the beautiful buildings in Portugal. The tiles used to have yellow in them as well, but that color was expensive and the people soon ran out of it–resorting to using just the blue and white dyes. When you see these old tiles, you will understand just how gorgeous they are–with or without yellow.

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Once again, Diana and Luis have made our first few days in Portugal amazing. They arranged for us to walk around Castelo de Vide with a local who knows all the history of the town. Castelo de Vide was home to several Jewish families throughout the ages from the 1100s to the present. During the time when Jews were being persecuted throughout history, they tried to hide their Jewish symbols in their everyday lives. Many were forced to become Christian in order to survive, and others died because they would not convert. I learned a lot about the Jewish faith, and discovered that they were persecuted all throughout the ages and all throughout the world. The tour was in Portuguese so it was hard for me to understand much–but luckily Kailey did a bit of translating for me. I took several pictures of the Jewish town and the hidden religious symbols they disguised on their doors, streets, churches, clothing, food, etc… and that are still visible today.

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They made their unleavened bread into a dessert called Bolemo with an apple filling to hide it from the catholics who were persecuting them. The decorated their doors and walls with carvings and paintings secretly containing 7 parts (resembling the 7 arms of the Menorah), and they carved crosses into their door frames but hid them by sharping their knives on the doorframe to create more marks to cover them. There was so much more that I learned but right now it slips my mind. Having to focus so hard on every word that is being said is absolutely exhausting, and although I learn so much everyday–I equally forget so much.

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We had to leave the Casa de Maroco this evening. Sad, I know. Before we left, we stopped by a typical dairy in Portugal and watched how the cows were milked and even got to let little baby calves suck on our fingers like a baby bottle. They were adorable. Seeing all those calves and cows maneuvered around so harshly and systemized makes me really think twice about what I eat and drink…

Anyways, I had a great weekend and I learned so much from all the people I was with. I have learned so much Portuguese and I am actually able to understand what people are saying and have learned to respond back in short little phrases. I am on my way to being a fluent speaking Portuguese woman–well kind of!

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One of the olive trees in the backyard of the Maroco’s casa. Until this trip I had never seen an olive tree in person. It was really nice to be able to see one after hearing about them in so many parables in the scriptures. I was expecting to be able to just pick the olives off of the tree and eat them–I guess I did not realize that they have to go through a long process to be soaked and flavored. It makes sense now– and oh ya, the olives here are really good!

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