So much to see, not enough time. Portugal. 

Oh how I love Portugal. I landed in Porto, Portugal around 10:30pm. I was disappointed to have missed an entire day here seeing that I only had 2 nights in the city, but it really was enough time to see a lot of what I wanted to see. I had a penpal that I started talking to a while back pick me up from the airport and take me to my hostel. As I was waiting for Pedro to pick me up, I decided to grab a cappuccino and it was only 1,50 euro. In Ireland, it would have been at LEAST double that price. So I was already happy with the difference in prices and was definitely looking forward to it.
I arrived at Gallery Hostel around 11:30 and followed an old couple in, as they were just coming back from a night out. I told reception I was checking in and he told me to sit down and take off my pack so we could go over a few things. He gave Pedro and myself a long overview of the city, even though Pedro lives right outside of Porto, and urged us to go to one of the bars tonight after I dropped my stuff off in my room. Though I was not planning to necessarily go out, I was not tired and knew if I wanted to fall asleep, I would need a drink. The man at reception gave me a tour of the hostel and I was seriously blown away. No offense to Ireland, but Portugal seriously knows how to accommodate. The hostel was seriously stunning, and it was technically an Art Gallery, so there were paintings on the walls, the original blue and white tiles were still in tact, and the entire place was very well thought out. The hostel had a beautiful bar, balcony, and garden. The man at reception took me up to my room and showed me where my bed was, my personal bed light, and my locker. The room was spacious and pretty and the bathroom was actually nicer than mine at home. It had two showers and two toilets for 6 girls – if you’ve been to any hostel, you will know that’s a lot. Most of the time, there are that many for an entire floor at a hostel. 
I settled in, changed out of my gross travel clothes, and went back downstairs for Pedro to show me around. We went to a bar that had small cups of beer for only 50cents!! It was definitely handy knowing someone who spoke the language and was able to communicate with everyone. We walked around and I loved the streets of Porto, and the fact that you could walk around with alcohol made it even better. I had no idea it was allowed in most places in Europe because it was definitely not allowed in Ireland from what I could tell. 
We went to a packed square with tons of people our age and got another drink – this time I tried sangria and it was very sweet but also very good. We walked and sat in a park across from a group of college students all wearing black cloaks. “Is that a coven?” I half joked. Because that’s exactly what they looked like. But he explained that they were upperclassmen and that it was basically mandatory for them to wear it, which isn’t something I had ever heard of but it was a cool tradition. 
The next morning I went on a free walking tour provided by my hostel after eating a hearty breakfast. I feel like the people across from me were judging me for eating the amount that I did, but hey, free food is free food. The walking tour started in the city center and we got a lot of history of Porto. The guide took us into the train station, known as the most beautiful train stations in the world. Which was probably true from the architecture and tile work alone. We went to a church that had over 550kg of gold encrusted onto the walls. We weren’t allowed to take pictures which was really disappointing because it was absolutely stunning, and I’m not one to be struck by the beauty of churches. It was very, very, very gold. The guide took us to Luis I Bridge for pictures before we moved onto the oldest neighborhood of Porto. The narrow streets were everything you want in an old neighborhood in a foreign city. The buildings were bright yellow with red/orange roofs. And the streets were made of stoned that were hand placed, piece by piece. It must have taken forever. Word on the street (literally lol) is that the streets weere mae of slippery stone because the men were so short, and they didn’t want to let the women wear heels. Hell, when it was raining, I could barely walk on those streets with normal shoes. Let alone heels. 
The tour ended down by the river, and I had to hurrry back to my hostel because I was already late to meet Pedro. By the time I got back I was drenched in sweat and had to cool off for a minute before we went to lunch. We went to a place that the man at reception recommended to go to that was nearby for a Francesinha, a sandwich that was originated in Porto. We shared one sandwich – it was filled with ham, sausage, and steak, covered in cheese, topped with an egg, and drowning in a semi-spicy tomato sauce and served with fries. It was insane and I understand why it’s called a heart attack on a plate. Apparently the reason it came to existence was basically because a man wanted a sandwich that was so hearty and spicy that it would cause women to take their clothes off from the heat – and then the salt with the heat would make them thirsty, to where the owner/creator would hand them a beer instead of water. Clever, clever… 
We ended up walking down by the river and having a glass of Port wine each. Personally, it wasn’t my favorite thing in the world. It was very, very sweet red wine. I love sweets more than anyone else I know and yet I still did not enjoy it – and the alcohol content was basically double the amount of a regular glass of wine. Bleh. 

I took a bus from Porto to Lisbon and it took maybe three hours I think. The guy who was sitting next to me didn’t speak English but he still took me to the metro station so I could take a subway to the station where my hostel was. When I got to my hostel, I was greeted by a girl named Marina – she shook my hand and got me settled. I went up to my room and met my new bunk mate, a guy from Saudi but who had also lived in America. I put all of my stuff away and went out for a desperately needed coffee and went shopping for nothing but ended up buying a dress – isn’t that always how it goes? I signed up for the hostel dinner that was only 10 euros and included unlimited beer / wine / sangria along with 3 courses. When I went downstairs I found some girls to chat with who had also just arrived the same day and we ended up meeting a few other girls as well. 
Now, by the time it was actually time to go to the pub crawl that night, I was already drunk. Hell, I was drunk halfway through dinner. No one told me that the sangria was made with vodka until I already had… a few. So let’s just say the rest of the night was a blur and I did not feel very well the next morning, but I had signed up for the Sinatra tour so I basically lay dying in my bed while I waited for 1pm to roll around. 
We left for Sintra about 40 minutes late. Two of the girls were sick so I literally stayed as far as humanly possible from them as I could as I attempted to not throw up on the hour long drive. Sintra was beautiful. It was picturesque beyond belief. The houses and castles and palaces were unbelievable. To think people had actually lived there at some moment in time was crazy. The tour guide explained that most of them were now hotels or rented out as insane AirBnbs or used as picturesque weddings. 
We stopped in the city center for a little Port wine and cheese/sausage tasting. With how hungover I was, it was slightly nauseating. Or more than slightly. We got back into the van and headed over to Quinta da Regaleira. It was a huge estate with a palace and caves and wells and a little waterfall too. I could have explored that place for hours but we only had an hour and a half. It was the most stunning place I’ve ever seen. I feel like the things I saw there were pictures on Tumblr that I had only ever dreamt of seeing. Even the caves were fairytale like – honestly it all was. It was a perfect little town comparable to the ‘Beverly hills’ of Portugal, according to our tour driver.
We stopped along the beach so we could see the most western point of the country, even though it was not really comparable to the most western point of Ireland that I had seen just a week before. Our last stop was Pasteis de Belem – the original creator of Pastel de Natas in Lisbon. The pastry was warm and served with a packet of sugar and cinnamon and it was so much better than any pastel de nata I have had. Incomparably good. I want 6 more.
I came back to a new bunk mate in my hostel who was sleeping on the bottom bunk and two others who were from Dublin. That night me and the girls I have had been having out with had dinner at the hostel again and decided to go out to a rooftop bar that night. It was different than the pub crawl and I was not nearly as drunk as I was the night before, thankfully. Apparently, that was not the case for one of my other bunk mates. 
I got back to my room at around 4am and climbed up to the top bunk and started getting ready to go to bed. As I was laying there, I heard the guy on the bottom of my bunk get up. And then I heard water pouring onto the floor. I had a water bottle near by and I actually thought that it was that. But no. It was the guy below me, peeing into the corner, all over the floor. And of course I was the only one that was awake in my room, so I had to go down to reception to tell them uh hey, some guy just pissed on the floor. SOS. Long story short, he had to pay a fine and I was seriously uncomfortable being in the room with him. 
The next day I went on the walking tour in the morning that led us to some beautiful sights and places to take pictures. It was short but to the point. I think my favorite thing about Lisbon are the beautiful purple trees. I came at a good time of he year, my tour guide explained, because only a few weeks ago nothing was really in bloom. After the walking tour, I threw in some laundry and went out for the most scrumptious lunch of my life for only 10 euros. I got a traditional Portuguese dish at a restaurant called Grelha de Carmo. It was basically grilled Cod in olive oil and onions and cilantro and the potatoes were just as scrumptious and covered in onions as well. I ended up going back to the hostel and falling asleep because the previous night was exhausting. For dinner I went out with the same people I had been hanging out with and we went to a killer restaurant called Restaurante Cabacas. They put appetizers that you have to pay for on the table before you even sit, so we were all taunted and ended up eating it all. But the food was what was really spectacular. Rather than ordering steak, they put it on a burning hot stone and you basically grill it yourself with salt and two dipping sauces. I left early the next morning after paying way too much for a damn uber to get to my bus station… should have taken the subway. But it’s whatever.
Now I am in Lagos. I just arrived here today by bus and oh it is beautiful. I have not really explored much but I am just sitting at a table, waiting for my food, drinking sangria, wearing a maxi dress, and ready to eat so I can head to the beach for the rest of the afternoon. My entire time in Lisbon was spent socializing. So I dont really intend on being all that social in Lagos, even though it is a party town, I am here for the beach and the caves.
These photos are in reverse order:

Advertisements

Published by

eatdrinkwalkwrite

This blog is a way I can talk about my upcoming travel adventures and will be the blog I use once I am finally abroad in a few months. I have a lot to get done and even more to look forward to.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s