Sunday, May 23, 2010


I'm posting these pictures for my brother and father, who are civil engineers. (Look up Givler Engineering, and you'll find their firms.) They design bridges and dams and retaining walls and things like that, so I figured they'd be interested in these photos of a high retaining wall that failed in my neighborhood. Yep, when the Givler guys get together, it's a laugh a minute.

This winter we got more rain than anybody can remember having had before, but if a Givler had designed this retaining wall, I bet it would still be standing.

Daddy Daughter Dance

Recently the US Embassy here in Lisbon hosted a Daddy Daughter Dance. Zoe and I went and had a great time. When I look at her in this picture, taken in our front yard, I'm surprised to see what a young lady she has become. She and her brother grew so much while I was in Saudi Arabia that it's hard for me to adjust to it. (I'm also a little surprised at how old I look, but mostly I'm surprised by her.)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A New Painting

Monday I walked down the hill and across the street from where I work, to paint this old fort guards that the coast.

Here's a closer view of the painting.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Mountainbiking Around Sintra

Just west of me, a mountain range splits the peninsula on its way to the sea. The village, national park, and UN Heritage site of Sintra, is located along that range. The high points of the range are graced by old monasteries, a moorish fortress, and incredible views of the coast, while the valleys are filled with dense eucalyptus forest, through which wind miles and miles of excellent mountainbike trails.

Of course, there are plenty of climbs.

At this time of year, the forests are incredibly green.

This ceramic tile marks the route to a mirador (scenic overlook).

Nice spot for a picnic.

Instead of a picnic, we climbed another mountain. The climbs in these pictures never look as steep as in real life.

Once you finish the climbs, though, it's always worth it. This is the monastery atop one of the highest peaks. It's visible from miles away when the weather is clear.

Of course, after a climb there's always a great descent. This one took us back into lush forest, and past the ruins of this elaborate trials course, which featured elevated trails and jumps.

Near the top of the final climb, you can see another monastery atop a neighboring mountain.