Thursday, April 30, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009
Alright - so before I jump into our last full day in Porto and also in Portugal, let me build this up a little bit. First of all, whenever I think back on Portugal, this day is the first image that comes into my mind. Actually, I've probably thought about Wednesday in Porto every single day since the trip. If you've ever had the quintessential day at some point in your life where you think, "man - if every day could be just like this," then this was that day for me. So we woke up Wednesday morning, hopped on a city bus (which was a much better bus system than Lisbon) and took a 30 minute ride to Foz, a coastal suburb of Porto. We had no specific plans for the day, were dying to be on the beach since Algarve fell through, and with the weather we had there was absolutely no way were were going home without spending a day by the water. We started off by wondering up and down the coast for a while, hiking out on rocks the jut out into the ocean, and soaking up some sun. Thiago brought a mini soccer ball with us, so we also spent about an hour making freestyle videos which was hilarious. If you look at the pictures in the photo album of the columns along the beach, there's another sidewalk about 15 feet below the columns. After many failed attempts, we made a pretty sweet video of us juggling back and forth between sidewalks, Thiago down below and me up above. While I'd love to say we got it on the first take, it was actually hilarious how many times we messed up, or I would hit somebody walking by down below because I wouldn't see them from up above and would pass the ball down anyway. But eventually, we found success. Remember kids - never give up and you too can conquer the world. After deciding that the freestyle session was over, we sat down at an oceanside cafe for a mid-day lunch. We had an delicious plate of duck risotto for only 3.50 each, again illustrating how cheap Portugal was. Once we finished lunch, we strolled a bit further down the coast where we stumbled upon a beach cafe, which is where my slice-of-heaven day hit its peak. We had 4 hours still before we had to catch our train back to Lisbon, so we figured why not sit around some more and enjoy the view. Just after we sat down, we met a Polish girl who was studying in Porto through the Erasmus program, which is definitely the greatest exchanged program ever if you're a European Union citizen. Once accepted, you can pretty much just say I want to go study here or there for this or that amount of time and then you go. It's incredible really, and the states should seriously look into adopting a similiarly structure program. So we sat around talking to her for a couple hours as we layed around in beach loungers while sipping Caipirinhas and listening to a smooth set of global grooves. Caipirinhas by the way are "the" drink. Delicious, sweet, and perfect for a warm sunny day - and this was unquestionably the perfect day. There's nothing better than having nothing to do, finding a delicious drink, meeting a beautiful girl, relaxing to some smooth grooves, lying around in beach chair, and listening to the ocean all while soaking up the view on the Portuguese coast. It was literally one of the best days from beginning to end that I have ever had in my life, and if only this one random Wednesday in Porto could be on repeat, I'd probably drop everything and go right back. But, life is good here too, so for now it will have to remain a sweet memory in my mind.
So that wrapped up our week in Portugal. It was incredible getting to spend so much time in such a beautiful country all while travelling with my best friend. Lisbon is now my favorite city in Europe that I have been too - it has the perfect combination of a laid-back atmosphere, nice people, beautiful views, yet plenty to do. And likewise, Porto was also a beautiful city where as you know by now I had the best day of our trip. It's too bad that this is all just a memory now, but there's no question that the time I spent in Portugal will stay with me for the rest of my life. So, until later, take care, sit back, enjoy life, soak up a view, live at a slower pace - you'll appreciate it in the long run.