Bom dia a todos!
It’s been three weeks, the lack of six posts, and 8,210 miles. I’m back. For real. I took a bit longer of a hiatus than I had originally planned, but it was nice and relaxing not to have to worry about posting for a while. It’s all over, and no I’m not sad, what are you talking about? No, I don’t miss my people and the beautiful scenery at all…
Yes, I’m sad. I’m so so so so sad, and I’m terribly sad that I don’t have this trip to look forward to anymore, but I know that I’ll get over it. I’ll stop pouting about what I’m not doing and start remembering what I was able to do. It was truly an amazing experience from start to finish, and I had such a great time! I’ll always remember going to Spain and Portugal, and I’m going to do a series of posts very similar to those of you who have been reading since the end of last summer. I’m going to be posting some of my pictures and transporting you miles away to Lisboa, Albufeira, Sevilla, Toledo, and Madrid.
Saturday the 31st rolled around. This was it. The day I had been waiting and packing and buying things for FOREVER. I was finally going to take off and leave the ground to go somewhere new. The morning flew by, and my excitement rose steadily until I said goodbye to my family and sat in the window seat of the 4th seat on the right side of the bus. I was excited to be on that bus, but a little unsure. This was the first time I had ever travelled without my parents or family, and I was already a little homesick before we even pulled out onto the highway. It was awful driving away from Hochstein, watching tears spill out onto my sister’s face, but after they disappeared from sight I turned around and put my attention toward our first destination: the Toronto airport.
It’s an interesting feeling to be off again – to leave the known and have a great unknown ahead. It’s an amazing feeling to think of what one will do and see in a week, and to embrace the spontaneous. Adventures are a thing that I’m growing to love, a little at a time.
-Me, my little travel diary
(I got a phone the Friday before I left so I used that to keep my journal)
Waiting was the keyword that whole day. We waited for the bus ride to be over. We waited for hours at the airport before we could get on our plane. We waited for 7 hours on a dark, dingy plane to arrive in Portugal. We waited in line to get through customs in the Portuguese airport. We waited to go out to the busses.
(Speaking of flying, it was my first time! I was a little nervous, but to be honest the plane we took really underwhelmed me. The food was crap, and they didn’t have any movie screens!)
All of the waiting was SO worth it because we took a little panoramic tour of Lisbon from the bus and it was beautiful. Every city has some parts that aren’t the nicest, and Lisbon wasn’t much different. What made Lisbon so much more special was that (1) it was in Europe and (2) it was so much older and the architecture was so much nicer. There were vibrantly colored houses and the roofs were all terra-cotta and red. The city was right on the Tagus River about a mile from the ocean – the weather was conveniently very nice. Our first stop from the bus was at El Parque Eduardo VII. It was a long stretch of grass with shaped bushes dedicated to Edward VII of England when he visited. (Edward’s brother was Queen Elizabeth II’s father). At the bottom of the park is a traffic circle and a monument dedicated to a man with a really long name who was once the prime minister of Portugal and was extremely crucial in rebuilding Lisbon after the earthquake of 1755. Enough with your history lesson – here are some pictures!
sorry about the grainy quality – my phone doesn’t have great zoom and it was REALLY sunny
Next, we drove around a few plazas and then down to the water. We were all super tired and were nearly falling asleep, so they took us to the hotel. Most of the rooms/room keys were ready, but of course, my room was one of the ones that weren’t, so I didn’t get into my room until much later that afternoon. In between, however, the group went to al Centro Vasco de Gama, a mall right down the street from the hotel. We ate there, shopped a bit, and walked around outside for almost 3 hours and then went back.
I didn’t get any pictures of the mall really, but I like this picture because it features the sidewalks: all of the Portuguese sidewalks and even a lot of roads are made of stones like these. The stripes in the road aren’t painted – they’re actually different color rocks! They’re really slippery when they’re wet though 😀
After that, we went to the hotel, had dinner, and went to bed for the night because we were all especially tired from the time change.
The next morning was exciting because we would actually be seeing things – first we were going to the Castelo de São Jorge, an old fortress in the Alfama district that had been partially destroyed by an earthquake in 1755. While we were there, it was quite windy and rainy and a bit chilly, but the view from the top was beautiful and the fortress was so cool. Plus, there were even peacocks in a certain area!
Sorry that the pictures of the peacocks are a bit blurry – we couldn’t get super close.
After that we saw three other structures – a monastery/cathedral that we weren’t allowed into, a fortress sort of thing, and a huge monument dedicated to all of the navigators and important people of the golden age.
After that, we were given almost two hours of free time to eat and shop, so my friend and I walked down the pedestrian streets that we were allowed to go on. We strolled around for a while, I bought a few bracelets amd a notebook for my sister at a cool shop called Ale-Hop, and we finally decided on a place to eat, where I had spaghetti bolognese. We also got ice cream, which was heavenly – I think I got nutella and snickers! Before we had to leave again I bought a tiny little porcelain rooster. In Portugal roosters are a sign of good luck, but I mostly got it because it was a traditional Portuguese thing and it was super adorable.
After that, we headed across the Tejos River to a little town on a hill called Portela, where we would be giving our first concert. In between rehearsal and concert time, we were given a little time to explore and have fun 😁
Isn’t it gorgeous? After the concert we were all ridiculously tired so we packed our suitcases and eagerly awaited seeing the Algarve the next day.
Kudos to you if you actually made it to the end of this post! I had a lot of fun reliving this part of my adventure and I can’t wait to share more 😀
Comment what your favorite monument was, and if you liked my rooster 😂 Have an amazing day, and I’ll be back on Thursday!