Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Back to reality

Before I get into the details of my amazing four day weekend in Portugal, I should talk about our recent visit to the Reales Alcazares. It is currently used as the King's (Juan Carlos) house whenever he visits Sevilla, but when it was first built Sevilla was the capital of Spain rather than Madrid so it was the King's permanent residence. It was first built in the 700s by the Muslims who came to Spain, and the gorgeous architecture reflects the Arab influence. It was absolutely huge with hundreds of gardens and many different buildings connected by patios as well as some super cool peacocks...I would totally live there if I could be Queen of Spain. 

Now to the main part of the story - we just got back from a four day weekend in Lagos, Portugal and I had the time of my life. Those were easily the most beautiful beaches I have EVER seen and Lagos itself is an adorable little beach town settled into the side of massive cliffs. The weather was perfect for lazing by the beach and it was a very nice break from the scorching heat of Sevilla - this was by far the most relaxing yet extremely fun weekend of my life. All of the people in Lagos were super friendly and spoke really good English and all of the signs/menus were in English as well. We soon realized that Portuguese is really similar to Spanish and that we could understand it when people spoke it to us - they also understood us when we replied in Spanish. They called it "Portspanglish" - a hybrid of all three languages that a lot of the people speak when talking to tourists. 
Church by the beach in Lagos
It all started with a 730 a.m. bus ride - we pretty much didn't sleep the night before since we had to get up so early to walk the 45 minutes to the bus station, so we slept almost the entire way to Lagos. Once we got there around 1 p.m. we checked into our hostel (Lagos Escape Hostel) and it was brand new and very nice - for only 12 euro a night we had our own private room and a huge homemade breakfast every morning. We were literally a two minute walk from EVERYTHING. We spent the whole first day at the beach and saw the amazing cliffs surrounding Praia Dona Ana while playing soccer and other beach games with some local Portuguese people. Since it stays sunny so late here we were able to stay at the beach until 6 p.m. everyday, then shower before heading out to dinner (it was very nice to be able to eat whenever we wanted, rather than waiting until 10 p.m. like we do in Sevilla!)
Where we spent most of our days
Ahhh the FOOD. I probably gained 10 pounds over a 4 day span - the food was just delicious. We found out about this restaurant called NahNahBah's (which has one of the top 50 burgers in the entire world) from a friend who had previously visited Lagos, so we decided to go there for our first dinner. It was a tiny little hole in the wall with Jamaican decor but oh my GOSH was the food amazing. The sandwiches were huge and came with amazing potato chips - by far the best chicken sandwich I've ever had in my life. So of course we had to go back there for our last dinner in Lagos too, and that time I decided to try their world famous burger...now I know why its so popular! Even bigger than the chicken sandwich and it had pineapple on it - my mouth died of happiness. We also ate at a local pizzeria, a seafood restaurant, and had some amazing crepes. Full, happy bellies and lazing by the beach all day? Talk about the perfect vacation. 
Best thing I've ever tasted. 
We also went on a grotto boat tour where a tour guide drove us through all of the amazing cliffs and caves in a small motor boat. I got some beautiful pictures and it was well worth the 10 euros to see all of the awesome sights of Lagos - every picture could be a postcard. 
On Saturday we went to a sports bar near our hostel (everything was close to our hostel - the joys of a small beach town) to watch the Copa del Rey soccer game between Manchester and Barcelona. While my friends and I were cheering for Barca, we were surprisingly in the minority. Since Lagos is such a popular destination with people from the UK and Australia, almost everyone was cheering for Manchester. But Barca won so we were happy :) We spent every day from about 11 a.m - 6 p.m. at the beach, and then met up with other friends who were also there from the Sevilla program as well as our new Portuguese friends to hang out at night. 
After some shopping Monday morning we left on the 1:45 bus to head back to Sevilla (or Sevilha, in Portuguese)...a.k.a. back to the real world of school and exams (but really, who can complain about living in Spain?) The bus ride took 7 hours on the way back, 2 more hours than on our way to Lagos, since the bus had to make a lot more stops along the way. I definitely prefer traveling by train, but you can only get to Lagos via bus or a rental car. We were all exhausted when we finally got back to Sevilla, but thats just a sign of an amazing weekend in my opinion :)

No comments:

Post a Comment