Portugal, or, reflections

Since My Personal Francophone is off in Portugal until Thursday night, whilst I while away the hours writing papers and studying for my five final exams, I thought it appropriate to do a little blogging about my own trip to Lisbon back in September.

I wrote a lot about the trip there, but close to nothing about the actual experience.

As I’ve said, the hotel in Lisbon was a little sketchy. The beach at Cascais, where we went the next day, was really nice. It was warm and sunny, and I curled up on top of a rock full of tide pools (my first ever!) to write in my journal. Sadly, the water was too cold to swim for long.

After Cascais the day took a definite downturn. It’s not Joaquin’s fault. But he dropped us off at a little town called Sintra, where the royal family used to summer, and sort of…left us there. He was with us, but there was no actual agenda, and as none of us had done our reasearch we had no idea what there was to see or do.

Not much, as it turned out. Sintra may have had a glorious past, but all it has to show for it now are a series of very nice views, a shop carrying a particular pastry known as “God’s bread,” and a natural history museum with two pointy towers that reminded me of a strangely shaped bra.

After dinner that night (I was so hungry I welcomed McDonald’s, which is far more expensive in Europe than the States), my classmates discussed whether or not to return to the club they had gone to last night, where the moment they stepped out of the cab they were approached by a man who attempted to sell them crack cocaine.

I was kind of sick at the time, so I got in bad and watched more MTV with German subtitles until I fell asleep.

The following day, we visited Lisbon. We should have just gone there the day before, because it was absolutely wonderful. We walked to the top of Saint George’s castle, which has breathtaking views, and then saw an opera concert in the park. We lunched on bread and Nutella in the port and visited the Medical History museum–where I discovered I can get the general idea when I read Portuguese, though with some of the exhibits I wasn’t sure I wanted to.  Then we took a (very short!) trolley tour–literally five minutes, as we failed to realize we got on near the end of the line–and got kebap–Lisbon, Berlin and Salamanca have fantastic kebap; how did I not know this existed before this trip!–and headed home in the sunshine.

Anyway, it was overall a really nice trip. And what I didn’t enjoy then I can laugh about now. I hope he and his friends have a wonderful time–and I really hope he brings me back some of that bread. (It’s delicious.) 😉

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