Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Trip to the Azores Islands

This past weekend we had a game in the Azores islands. Ever since I found out that Jen and I were going to play in Portugal, I was looking forward to visiting these islands. The Azores islands are a Portuguese island chain in the Atlantic Ocean. There are a total of 9 islands, and on this trip we stopped in 2 of them (one for just a short layover).

Anyways, we went to the airport early Saturday morning. Our first flight was from Lisbon to Pico island, and it lasted about 2 hours. When we landed in Pico, we weren’t allowed to get off the plane, but we were allowed to peek outside. We took some pictures, enjoyed the beautiful breeze, visited the cockpit, and talked to our teammates. After about an hour, we were back in the air for a quick 30 minute flight to Terceira. We landed in Terceira, split up in a couple different cars, and drove to the center of town. The island was very green, and there were a lot of cows :-) It only took about 20 minutes to drive to the “downtown” area, and when we got there we had lunch at a restaurant. After lunch we had about an hour to just walk around and explore before we had to be at the gym. We walked down near the water and took some pictures. Some of our teammates wanted coffee so we went to a coffee shop with outside seating. Jen and I wanted to walk around a bit more so we left our bags with our teammates. We didn’t really know where we were going so we didn’t want to walk far, but we had seen a beautiful church while we were driving, and we knew we were close. After walking for about twenty seconds, we found it! :-) It was the Cathedral of Our Holy Savior. It was very beautiful and peaceful inside. I have noticed that every Catholic Church I have been to in Portugal has a statue of Our Lady of Fatima (which makes perfect sense). It reminds me of how close we are to Fatima, and it makes Jen and I so excited to go!

We didn’t have much time to spend in the church because we had to meet up with our teammates to walk to the gym. On our way to the gym, we stopped at a little convenience store. We were told that there is an United States’ Air Force base on this island, and as a result, many of the stores carry American foods that you can’t normally find in Europe (ex: Reese’s peanut butter cups, Mrs. Butterworth’s pancake mix, Country Kitchen maple syrup, and Butterfingers to name a few). Some of our teammates bought a few things, and then we headed to the game.

I wasn’t really sure how our team would start the game considering that we had been traveling for about 10 hours, but I was pleasantly surprised. Our team took control of the game early and maintained control throughout. After the game, we showered quickly because we had to get to the airport to catch our flight home. During the flight we played some trivia games with some of our teammates, and before we knew it, we had landed. It was a long day, but Jen and I really enjoyed the experience.

We had the day off on Sunday, and since we had been up late the night before, Jen and I slept in Sunday morning until about 9:30. Then, we got up, went to Mass at 11 and then went to get some lunch from the restaurant we eat at. After lunch we ran into our teammate Barbara on our way to Pingo Doce (our favorite grocery store). We had invited some teammates over in the afternoon so we needed to pick up some snacks. Our teammates came over around 2 in the afternoon, and we just sort of hung out. There were a few movies on TV that we kind of watched, and then we ate some chicken wings, caramel apples, caramel brownies (Jen says: They were a hit. Talia, Tabitha, and Natasha – I can’t wait to make some with you when I come home!), and some other unhealthy food. After we were done eating, we played a game called Farkle. It’s a game that my family played all summer. You roll 6 die, and different combinations have different point totals. Ultimately, the goal is 10,000 points, but there is a lot of gambling involved. It was fun. I played one of the worst Farkle games in the history of Farkle, but my scorekeeping was pretty darn good! :-) Congratulations to Joana for winning both games of Farkle. She’s a natural! After Farkle, we played cards for a little while. Then, my sister, Theresa, skyped me so I was able to talk to her. She is a freshman at the University of Denver so it was fun talking to her and getting caught up on all of her new college experiences. All in all, it was a fun day off!

We have a pretty normal schedule this week with 2 practices a day and a game on Saturday. We’ll keep you posted! :-)


Jen and Tina

On the plane on the way to Azores - Jen sitting with Sara and the referee for our game!!! :-)

Jen was really excited for this trip

Isn't she cute?! :-)

Joana, me, Barbara, and Susana

Jen learning about the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Fatima, Portugal

Pico island

Terceira island

Susana, Jen, and Joana before lunch

Semi-awkward team picture :-)

Our teammate Sara always winks at us, and we love it ;-)

Sofia and Jen

Jen in front of the Cathedral of Our Holy Savior

Blessed John Paul II

Inside the cathedral

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