It all started with our cama turistas. On the way there we thankfully got to have beds for our long journey. There were four beds per small room, and we were both on the top bunks, safely with our things, which we were warned to be careful of. There were two other Spanish women with us who were very nice and tried to talk to us in Spanish, pretty successfully. I literally slept the whole way and it was very strange because it seemed to go by so fast and we woke up and we were there. We had some struggles when we got there though, because I didn´t have the address or anything for the hostel, only the name. We tried to ask someone who worked at the train station, and they told us which metro stop to get off at. Again, another women helped us buy our tickets and told us which one, but we were very confused with the pronunciation. Rossio is not Lucio and Restauradores is not Honduras. But we managed to get on the metro and get off at the right stop. We didn´t know where to go so we went into a hotel hoping they could look up the address for us. And a very nice woman, after telling us this was a hotel not an information center, gave us directions and we were actually right by it. We checked in but didn´t get our rooms yet and ate some free breakfast before going on the walking tour. The free walking tour took all morning and was actually very nice. We got to see some things we wouldn´t have found ourselves and hear random stories that went along with it. We also ended up at a flea market, which was actually more like a garage sale slash flea market slash collection of random things, but got to buy some beautiful pottery, which Rachel ended up leaving on our bus later on. After that we had wanted to go on a touristy river cruise, our splurge of the trip, but didn´t know where it left from. We finally figured out what metro to go to and accomplished that but after getting off had no idea. So we decided to walk into the closest hotel, and right when we walked in was someone from the tour, who told us we could get on the bus and go. Somehow we managed some perfect timing right there. They took us to the boat, where we got on and sat right on the top with our Lisbon river cruise stickers proudly showing what big tourists we were. It was actually really nice to be on a boat, and it was relaxing and we got to see some more of Lisbon from a different point of view. My favorite was seeing jellyfish and thinking it was trashbags, and then realizing after seeing tons of them that they were in fact jellyfish. It also wasn´t really a river but more of like a sound in from the ocean. But it was again a beautiful day and we had a good time. After that we decided we wanted to get dinner and ended up going to a plaza right by the water again. And it was a delicious dinner, where the waitor brought us “una cerveza and a nice healthy still water”. Also, “Classic” rice means buttered rice. In case that wasn´t clear. But it was a great dinner and since we were just treating ourselves so nicely that day, we got some ice cream afterwards and it was perfect. We then went back to the hostel, took a nap and then showered and got ready for our night. We decided to go on the hostel bar crawl once again, and hung out in the lobby with some Australians we had met earlier that day before we left. It was a very fun bar crawl and we met some interesting people, including an Italian and a Canadian, and of course the bar crawl leader who was Portuguese. We thought we would go home early because we wanted to get an early bus to Lagos the next day, but of course that didn´t happen. Things never really go as we think they will and we have learned to just go with it. Or at least I´m trying to learn that.
So, Sunday morning we had breakfast at the hostel, and then took the metro to the bus station and got there around 11. The next bus to Lagos wasn´t until 2 so we went in search of a park to relax in but instead found the zoo. So we went to the zoo. We stayed there until we had to go back to the bus station and got on our bus and got to Lagos around 6. We then found our beautiful hostel, where we were greeted by a surfer man, an adorable dog, and a nice cerveza and wine for me. It was such a nice hostel and my only regret was not being able to stay longer. We hung out there for awhile and got ready and then walked towards town to find somewhere to have dinner. We finally found a place kind of by the water and it was perfect. We had the cutest man as our server and it felt like a Portugese restaurant, although I guess we don´t really know what that is exactly. We had delicious salmon and steak after waiting a long time and it was so good. Again, we splurged a little on this day, but it was very nice. We were going to go to the beach, but by the time we were done with dinner it was dark so we tried to go back to our hostel. Half an hour later and still wandering random streets, we gave up and got a taxi and finally got back to our hostel. We were going to go out, but ended up sitting and chatting with two Australians before deciding to stay in and go to bed early. It was kind of disappointing because it was our only night, but it was worth it because we got up early the next day, Monday and went kayaking and beautiful doesn´t even begin to describe how amazing it was. We had gotten up early, ate a free hostel breakfast, and then the surfer man called and got us a spot in the group. The hostel was really so nice. It seemed new, like a house that was just renovated into a hostel, and almost felt like being up north, only with a little ethnic flair.
But, great vibes, and a little bit of up north relaxation and love that I miss so much from home. We were in a hurry for kayaking because it started at 10 and we didn´t know where it was but we made it in the knick of time. As soon as we got there the group was ready to go and we grabbed life jackets and paddles and pulled our canoe into the water. We had about a 3 hour ride along the shore that was filled with cliffs and small caves and it was amazing. Rachel and I kept saying, “We´re just kayaking in Portugal right now…” like we couldn´t believe it. We got to have a small break to go on the beach and swim as well. The water was cold but refreshing. It was a wonderful morning and we didn´t want it to end. Afterwards, we realized we could walk to the bus station, where we had to go buy our tickets back to Lisbon, which thankfully there were still some left. We then walked back to the hostel and stopped at the grocery store to get some lunch and snacks for later on the way. We ate at the hostel with our Australian friends and some people from Madrid and then sadly it was time to go. We walked to the bus station, got right on the bus, and fell asleep for almost the whole way back to Lisbon. Once we arrived, we took a metro to the train station, sat outside and ate our snack and then got on the train for our long journey home. We sadly didn´t have cama turistas this time, we just had turista. It was not nearly as comfortable and was actually pretty dirty and gross and just not very pleasant, but after about 10 hours we made it to Madrid in one piece! Home sweet home. It was about 830 in the morning, so I sat at the train station and tried to make myself look presentable to go to work. I made it to work early and it was the first day with just Irene and I because Maria is gone now. For now I get to sit at Maria´s old desk because it´s in the same office as Irene and that way we both won´t be by ourselves. I got to help with the press clipping, los periodicos, and even some translations. I was really tired though. After work I came home and took a great 3 hour nap. As in laid down closed my eyes and when I opened them it was already 630. I did some laundry and had a snack and then around 9, Farhana, Sheetal and I went to go get dinner at an Indian place, where Fátima met us after work. It was actually really fun to sit and chat and laugh with them, and explore a new place because it was in Lavapies. Afterwards, we went to a grocery store I´d never been to and got some ice cream to top off our night. And then we went home and all hung out for awhile. It was nice to do something all together, we were just missing Nerissa and Hannah. But it is very nice to have more roommates and it´s fun to all hang out together.
Wednesday after work I went straight to Rachel´s house and got there just in time for lunch. Normally they are done by the time I get there and I felt bad for intruding but Amparo, her mom, was so sweet and made me some lunch as well and it was delicious. It was an unexpected treat. Afterwards, Rachel and I went to the pool and decided to swim some laps as our workout for the day. Then we went back to my apartment and went and got a drink before deciding to try and see the sunset at the Templo de Debod again. We had thought we were in the wrong place, but it turns out we were indeed in the right spot, so it was our second time going, although we actually got to see the sun set this time so it all worked out. And now we really know where it is.
Thursday was hot, hot, hot, and I just couldn´t bring myself to do anything productive after work. Finally once the sun started going down a little bit, I decided to go to Retiro and go for a run. I really haven´t been running as much as I would like so I was proud of myself for my 3 miles in the hot weather. I´m determined to go more often for the last month while I´m here so when I go back to school it won´t be so hard to get back into it. Later that night, Sheetal and I were very excited to find a movie we wanted to watch online after watching nothing but Spanish tv since we´ve been here. We didn´t get to finish it though because we ended up going out with Fátima which is always fun. It´s actually really nice to have someone who knows where they are going and can easily talk in Spanish, anddd get us in places for free because she knows the tricks of the trade. It ended up being an unexpectedly good night.
And now it´s Friday. I’ll have to update again soon!