Passing on the Porto, but loving Portugal!

Portugal Travel Blog

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Well, I know you´ve all be waiting for me to fly to coup again... and I have.  
I am currently in Granada, Spain, and for the last two weeks, I have been
traveling with my old friend, Bekki, from high school.My trip started with a
flight to Madrid, and with the cost of flights, I decided to take the ¨budget¨
18 hour flight.  After making the fatal mistake of watching Iron Man and Kung
Fu Panda on my flight instead of sleeping, I arrived in Madrid, and crashed
immediately in my hotel.  Then, without wasting a minute, I traveled to
Santiago de Compostella to meet Bekki, who had just walked 900km from France. 
There were hundreds of hikers in town since it was where the pilgrimage ended.
Again, without wasting more than a few hours to check my email and take a look
around the city, I was off to Finnesterre, Spain.  Finnesterre is also know as
the End of the World, because it was where King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella
once stated that there was nothing more after that point.  It is also where
many pilgrims continue to walk (needlessly, I might add) and burn their boots. 
It was a stinky day at the end of the world. Other than being the location
of one of the great flubs of historical declarations, Finnesterre also
possesses some beautiful white sand beaches.  For some reason many pilgrims
choose not to sun bathe after their journey, which was great for me, because
it felt like I had the beach all to myself. After Finnesterre, we headed to
Pontevedre, in an attempt to get to Porto, Portugal.  We didn’t expect much,
but we heard there was a festival in town.  So, while were wandering around,
we came accross a free outdoor concert and my new favorite band, Lumatumba. 
They were this Spanish Ska band and they were so much fun!  Bekki and I
danced our butts of in the rain and had such an amazing time!  The best part
about it all was that we had no expectations at all, and it turned out to be
great.  Funny how that happens, huh?

The next day it was off to Vigo, Spain, where we had to wait for a train
during the day, so we ventured about in town, drinking local beer, eating
unnecessarily from the panadaria (bakery), and just killing time in general. 
But still, it’s always fun to discover a nice little town you never would
have gone to otherwise. Finally, we arrived in Porto, Portugal.  We were
instantly struck by the beautiful architecture and the cobblestone roads. 
That is until the clumsiness I inherited from my mother kicked in and I
tripped and fell on my face (okay my elbow).  But after I recovered, we
went out into town and drank sangria and took in some beautiful nightscape. 
The next morning we made it our mission to take in as many Port Wineries
as we could.  That is, until we actually tasted the Port Wine.  After
having tasted the most foul of all wines, and stomping all over town in
about a day, we realized that we were done with Porto.  Too bad, because
we really had a lot of plans for those wineries.  I guess I´ll just have
to stick to Temecula. Then it was off to Lisbon, which didn´t really
impress us much.  Once we took all of the obligatory pictures, made some
funny videos, and watched Sex and the City (the second time for both of
us), we headed down to Lagos.

In Lagos, we had different expectations, and were disappointed to find
out that Lagos has virtually become an Australian and German tourist
colony.  One person asked us where the Traditional Portuguese Restaurant
was and we told him it was an aborration. We really couldn´t find much
of Portugal in Lagos, and only stayed as long as it took us to get bus
tickets to Sagres.

In Sagres, we were overwhelmed with joy to find out that, while the
city was slightly colonized by the Germans, it was almost completely
deserted!  We immediately encountered a crazy Portuguese lady who told
us she had a great place for us to stay.  We were a little skeptical at
first, but after shopping around, we found ourselves back at her friend´s
hotel, which was mostly a house converted into a hotel for the summer.  But
the owners, Fernanda and Fransisco, treated us like their own, and even
gave us cooking tips (like lots and lots of olive oil on everything).

Another bonus to Sagres was the Southwestern most point of Europe, Cabo 
Sao Vicente.  Perched on beautiful cliffs and possessing a giant lighthouse,
the scenery was well worth the visit.  However, I found myself again
discouraged when the vendors were selling hemp ponchos, but accepted
credit cards!!! Or when you could buy “the last bratwurst before going to
America!”  Is nothing sacred?  I guess not. But I did get a certificate
for going.  I don’t know if I’ve ever received a certificate for enjoying
something beautiful.

Bekki and I filled our days in Sagres with very important tasks, such as
laying on the beach, having lunch, having coffee, and drinking the local
brew (also called Sagres), then heading back out to the beach.  It was a
very trying time in our travels, but we made it through unscathed and
only slightly sunburned (as for Bekki, she got a tan).  Bekki is also
heading out to China in the next week, so my travels with her have ended.
More to come!
Love and besos,

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