A Slog through the Blog Log: Portugal

Today marks the 90th day we’ve been out of the United States. Looking back to the beginning of our trip, the distance that we’ve travelled, and the stark differences between each country, we decided to spin a thread that follows the day-by-day journey into a five-part series spanning the entire trip thus far. Each country represents a separate entry. We begin in Portugal.

February 16th: Lisbon-Porto
Upon landing we discover the particularities of Schengen Zone rules. Struggle through conversations at the train station. Take a train to Porto. Jet lag is as severe as the second guessing of this entire trip. Short nap on the train. Arrive in Porto. Catarina is waiting for us. We eat home cooked dinner at her house. We meet Carla and Win. Jason tries wine and we both eat codfish. We get coffee at a nearby cafe. People are in costume for something called Carnivale. Back to the house. We put on mustaches. Catarina wears a sun and moon costume. Get possessed by the Spirit of Carnivale. Dance and drink until five in the morning. Back to the house. Late night conversations about “saudade”. Very little sleep was had.

Februrary 17th: Porto
Too early to wake up. Get coffee at same cafe. Head to the beach. Taste the ocean. Drink more coffee. Back to the house. Walk along the streets towards the canals. First glimpse of Porto is breath-taking. Keep an eye out for reality. Eat chesnuts, talk about Port wine and see where the barrels are kept, walk along the bridge to the other side of the channel. Look for a place to eat. Meet Pedro. Get dinner. First glimpse of the strange meat stack. Grab drinks. Watch Portuguese traditional dance. Jason learns new dance moves. Taxi back to the house. Try to sleep.

February 18th: Porto
Wake up. Eat light breakfast. More coffee. Carla drives us near the port. Ministry of Culture has been shut down. Explore old churches near a fort. Walk across the top of the bridge. Make shadows on the wall. Meet Pedro. Pedro takes us on a tour. We learn a great deal about Porto. Grab snacks and beer at a soccer club cafe. View is beautiful. Walk along graffiti covered alleyways to the center of town. Pedro wants to watch a soccer game. He answers all our questions along the way. Sit down for dinner. Win gets fish again. Nathan tries the squid. Bread, butter, and sardines are added onto the bill. It’s expensive. Meet new friends. Cab back to Catarina’s house. Stay up late writing blog posts.

February 19th: Porto
Win and Catarina arrange a tour. Worst Tours are early in the morning. We see a different side of Porto. Loathing of the tourist industry is formed. Appreciation of Porto is multiplied. After the tour we eat amazing pastries. Say goodbye to Pedro. Relaxed at Catarina and Carla’s home. Begrudgingly wrote about food. Ate our last meal in Porto.

February 20th: Porto-Lagos-Vila do Bispo
Early in the morning say goodbye to the sea. Catarina puts us on nearly empty train to Lagos. Swedes tell us we are sitting in their seats. Arrive in Lagos. Find bus stop. Buy tickets. Eat omelettes. Miss our bus. Buy new tickets. Wait five hours. Catch next bus to the Vila do Bispo. Arrive in town. Drink coffee at a cafe. Get a ride from commune matriarch. Meet the other workers. Receive bad vibes. Make poo fire. Plan escape. Scrap escape plan. Confess our intent to crazy people. Sleep with knives.

February 21st: Vila do Bispo-Lagos
Escape from commune. Meet Peter in the rain. Peter reaffirms our suspicions. Attempt to hitchhike. Fail at hitchhiking. Walk 17 kilometers back to Vila do Bispo. Find no food. Catch a bus back to Lagos. Eat omelettes. Sigh endlessly with relief. Check in at hostel. Shower. Sigh again with relief. Scramble to make new plan for Europe. Do laundry. Eat sandwiches. Go to sleep in an actual bed.

February 22nd: Lagos-Seville
Eat breakfast at hostel. Check out. Briefly explore Lagos. Talk to weird British guy. Buy bus tickets to Spain. Catch our bus this time. Observe Portugal out of the windows. Take notice of the many number of boarded up shops, homes, factories, businesses. Feel an overwhelming sadness. Connect sadness to effects of tourism. Arrive in Spain. Spain is noticeably wealthier.

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