July 13, 2012

I love Lisboa

I thought I did a pretty good job of writing in my journal while I was in Spain, but now that I'm back I have realized that I didn't write nearly enough! I want to write about my favorite days from Spain..or wherever. I can honestly say that I loved every minute of my Study Abroad. I didn't have a single bad day, but there were some days that were just perfect.

Usually on the weekends we had planned trips with our group, but there was one weekend that we had a group trip on Friday and then nothing else for the rest of the weekend. There was a couple in our group, David and Sarah, and they decided they wanted to fly to Lisbon for the weekend. David and CJ have a mutual friend who was living in Lisbon, and since CJ served his mission in Brazil and speaks Portugese it was perfect. Obviously Sarah and David couldn't go by themselves (yay, BYU!) and David's roommate, who was their usual third wheel, said he couldn't afford it as he was saving up for his wedding. Which is coming up in like two weeks, by the way. Anyway, they invited CJ and I to go with them and it took some convincing, but I decided it was an opportunity that I could not pass up!


The Sunday that we were there was one of the best days. I got to sleep in a little, which was a rare occurrence, and while we were eating breakfast in the hostel we met this girl and she was like "Hey, did I hear you say you are going to Sintra today?" I told her we were and she asked if she could tag along. I really admired her because I don't think I would have had the guts to walk up to a girl I didn't know and ask her if I could spend the day with her and and her boyfriend! She was from Connecticut and living in Madrid teaching English so we had a lot to talk about. It was so much fun having her around, but she was one of the worst photographers ever. CJ always gave me a hard time for not taking the best pictures but this girl was a different story. Every time we asked her to take a picture of us we would be like standing right by something beautiful and she would take it ONLY of us. Honestly. In every picture we are blocking the thing we actually wanted a picture of! And I don't even care that we have all these pictures of us together 'cause a lot of them are just really unflattering. She was so cool though and I'm really glad we got to spend the day with her. Even though she made us miss a train and a bus...

Like I said, the first thing we did was travel to Sintra which was about 45 minutes away from Lisboa where we stayed. Sintra is beeeaaaauuttiful. It kind of reminded me of Portland because it is hilly and jungly but it was like nothing I had seen in Spain. It was the cutest place! We took the bus up to Pena National Palace and it was easily the most beautiful palace on my Study Abroad. It cost a chunk of change to get in but it was well worth it! We saw this really fancy couple taking their engagement pictures there and they both looked SO good...then I realized that the man was wearing the UGLIEST shoes ever! They were Skechers or something and I just absolutely cringed. I hate when people could have wonderful engagement pictures and they do just ONE thing wrong, like wear stupid shoes or a ponytail holder on their wrist (hahaha pet peeve much???) But I digress. 


Palace hat! LOL

There was a vending machine of only KitKats and it didn't have a price on it. We were all starving so I got one and it turned out to be 2 euro! CJ was appalled at the price but I thought it was well worth it. We went to the Castle of the Moors which was a preeetttyyyy big hike. Our friend and I were like 50 feet behind CJ the whole time...I had so much stuff in my purse it was really slowing me down! Plus, I am really poky anyways. When we got to the top we had a beautiful view of Pena Palace and all of Sintra. It was gorgeous! Of course, the picture we took at the top is pretty lame, as CJ and I are BLOCKING the palace.

So sick of walking and especially sick of carrying my 100lb purse.
Just one example of the dumb pictures from that day.
Blocking the main attraction, the palace.

By this time it's like mid-afternoon and we haven't eaten anything except that dumb KitKat so we walked around looking for a cheap place to eat. After like an hour we agreed on a small cafe where I ordered a dessert and quiche. Here are a few things about restaurants in Europe. They bring out the food as it is ready, not all at once. So if someone else's food is ready before yours, they will bring it out and you just all have to sit there and watch them eat it. Also, if they are out of something they don't tell you when you order. They will bring everything out and be like "Enjoy!" or whatever and start to walk away and you're like "Oh, um, excuse me...I ordered a quiche?" and they're like "Oh, we're out of quiche." and start walking away again and I'm just like "Hello! Oh, sorry, excuse me? Can I order something else, then? Because I'm not just going to sit here and like, not eat..." I am actually like, eternally grateful that they were out of quiche because then I ordered tomato salad just like I did every single day in Portugal and it was the best one I had! It was soooooo good. And the fries there were amazing as well.

We took our friend to the train station and said goodbye and then turned down the street and watched our bus to Cascais drive away...it was actually a huge bummer because we had to wait 45 minutes for the next one. Precious beach time! But we just played the infamous "Who Would You Be?" and laughed at the asian tourists and everything was fine. I slept for almost the entire bus ride which turned out to be my worst idea ever because it was like the most beautiful bus ride in the world, accoring to CJ. Thanks, dude. I did wake up to see Cabo da Roca, the most western point of Europe and it was so pretty.

As soon as we got to Cascais I was on the look out for Santini, which is allegedly the best gelato in Portugal/the world, as that was like one of the main reasons I was excited to go to Lisbon...haha! CJ was dying to get to the beach and we were just walking along and I saw people with cones. (I am honestly like a blood hound when it comes to finding food, especially ice cream! Even though I have no sense of direction I can always find McDonald's or ice cream...I was notorious for this in my group.) I finally saw where they were coming from and I yanked on CJ's arm, "Sannnntttiiiiinnniiiiiiiiii!" The line was out the door and going up the street and we just hopped right in it. I knew that CJ was not thrilled because we were running out of beach time, and he doesn't really care that much about ice cream...not like I do, anyway! But he didn't even guilt trip me at all and he was sweet about waiting in line for 30+ minutes just for ice cream. LET ME TELL YOU, THOUGH. That was the best damn ice cream I have ever had in my life and WELL WORTH the price and wait in line. I got mango, coconut with chocolate, and strawberry...and it was sooooo amazing. I was just eating my ice cream cone and laughing like a crazy person. It's fine. I would actually probably kill a man for some of that gelato right now.

You can't really tell but the line was forever long! Happiest girl in the world.

After we finally got our ice cream, we walked around the town and it was so cute! It was so fun to just walk around and look at the houses/buildings and the ocean. In Portugal the sidewalks are like mosaic...they are like that in Brazil too and they are so pretty. We finally headed to the beach to lay out for the last hour of sunlight in the day. We people-watched and just talked and laughed a lot. Then we walked along the beach for like two hours and then went back home to Lisbon.

For some reason we didn't take that many pictures in Cascais...sad!

BASICALLY I am in love with Portugal. Everything about it was wonderful: the food, our hostel, the people...I really want to go back! CJ and his dad took a week and went all over the country after our program ended so I can't wait to hear all about that and see pictures from their trip.

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