Once again, my Portuguese friends pull out all the stops for me. =) Today was a bit of a funky day, coordination wise. The plan was to go with Irene to Braga and work on the site, and then meet up with Ricardo at the hotel the volunteers stay at in order to go to Vigo
, Spain, then stay the night at Ricardo's and go with him to school in Guimaraes, and meet up with Sandro for lunch. Wow, sometimes things just work out beautifully and sometimes they just totally fall apart, like today...
I've had a series of uber-late nights just bumming around and have been getting up around 10am most mornings. Bad habits begin! so at 7am when Irene came and said "it's time to get ready" I had just had 2 hours of sleep and was like "ohh.
ooh, very pretty!
. I'll take the train or something laterrr" 4pm rolls around and I'm having a hell of a time figuring out how to get myself over to the metro that connects to the train. Irene gives me a taxi number and I forgot in the midst of my stress how nice Portuguese are. They usually speak English as well and I got a taxi no problem. Went outside about 10 min later, forgetting toothbrush and some other stuff for my overnighter and the taxi had LEFT.. wow.. and of all days, Irene took the keys to the outside door so I couldn't get back in the apartment unless someone opened the main door, so I'm outside on the phone with Ricardo stressing out and trying to figure out how to get another taxi using Irene's screenless/creditless phone. Hahaa! The poor phone mercifully gulped out one last call for me before becoming completely useless.
park area in front of marina
Thankfully, it all turned out fine after I stepped out of the taxi - metro systems seem globally easily to navigate, whereas bus systems seem globally difficult and uninformative. Made it to Braga after another small catastrophe that a totally drunk and non-english speaking middle-aged Portuguese man helped me avert. The signboards were indicating 2 different tracks for Braga and then the train was not only late but 3 trains arrived ahead of it at the appointed time so I was razor close to getting on a train to Lord-knows-where by accident! Thank god the poor drunk guy started shouting and gesturing for me NOT to get on the train!! =) I blew him a big kiss before I finally got on the right train.
Finally got out of the station into Ricardo's open arms and he asks "are we ready to go?" We were driving straight to Vigo from the train station - whooo!! Ricardo and I listened to tunes, he tried to convince me (I've decided this is a Portuguese trait) to delay my trip for a FOURTH time explaining his trip to Lisbon this weekend for a political meeting, and then he promptly decided we needed to speak only Spanish when crossing the border (a bridge).
SO MUCH FUN! And Vigo is really pretty! Spain is so trafficky though but it was really lovely by the water.
Ricardo and I were craving seafood. God what I would have given for some good calamari or some crabmeat.. but there were no seafood places to be found by the water.. strange! We ended up at this too-expensive zen-looking place that basically served nachos and pizzas. And STUPID ME since I was craving seafood, we ended up sharing a seafood pizza. And it was obviously GROSS. Always go for the BBQ chicken ones, for sure. No matter what country you're in. I think... anyways, it was that kind of day. Wonderful company, beautiful location, but the details were just a little crazy.
During conversation we realized that if I spent the day in Guimaraes, I would have no way to get back to Braga in time for Irene to pick me up to go home.
Ricardo, otherwise known as "Ricardo-my-love!"
At this point, so close to departing back to the US, Ricardo pulled out a last magical display of friendship and drove me all the way back to Porto via Formalicao so that we could pick up the keys from Irene - at past MIDNIGHT! I'm going to miss all of Irene's beautiful homes, her incredible hospitality, and all the wonderful potential for parties galore!! =)