When I booked my tickets to Portugal I was very happy and excited. Finally, I thought, I will return to the country that has is all and will be able to enjoy the sun, sand sea, great food even greater wine and will have an amazing time.
Well that is almost what happened.
I was in luck when we landed. The plane was a little delayed but not too much to miss the last metro into Porto. The city welcomed me with the rain and even though I had two sweaters and a rain jacket on me, it was still unpleasantly cold.
By the time I got to my hostel it was around 2 a.m. so without further due I just went to bed and waited for the sleep to come get me. Eventually, it did.
First day in Porto - I was excited and full of energy to go everywhere and see everything. Even the angry clouds in the sky did not scare me - I can take them. Map in hand and so I went. I walked without a purpose or a destination really, just exploring the city - I walked to the other side of the river, I visited the cathedral and small hilly endless streets with very Portuguese tiles, mostly blue and white, making it look more like a walk in the past.
In the evening I took an advise of the hostel worker and went to the `bars street` for dinner. I was promised best food lives there. I am not sure about the food, but wine was definitely delicious - red, spicy - an absolute delight. I may not know much about the wines, but this one, even though `only` a house wine, was really good.
The next day, even more rested I have decided to go to the Atlantic. Salty water, sand, endless beach and the feeling like you are at the end of the world - is something that is too good to pass. I took a bus closer to the Atlantic and then started walking. Unfortunately that is when rain decided to start going too. Only a little at first, more and more as I walked. already a little wet I jumped in one of the coffee places on the beach for the tea and a high hope that the rain will give up.
Do I really need to say that didn't happen?
I waited long enough for my tea to get cold and over and the moment the rain slowed down, I started walking again. How bad can it become, I thought? Well, it became pretty bad. My shoes were soaked, I was soaked, my papers in my bad were soaked, I was cold, tired and just wanted to curl into the ball and be woken up when September ends. It felt as if the rain will never stop, so I took the bus. Even though cold wet and miserable, I still wanted to go to the what they called `best sea food restaurants` in the whole Portugal. By the time I got off the bus the rain stopped [but of course]. I tried to keep my spirits up, but by then I lost even my appetite. And so off back to the hostel I went.
In there I met another girl in the same/similar situation and we bonded over the heater trying to dry our shoes and clothes and warm up our insides. We managed, or at least we almost managed. But we did a good job, because by the early evening/late afternoon we were dry'ish and we went out, since sun decided to show up as well.
We walk a few rounds around the city checked out the most important things of the city and by the time we were both hungry and thirsty for wine, we found a place for food. And it was great. Or maybe just we were very hungry. Either way - we enjoyed it a lot, we found a lot of things in common and plenty of topics to talk about.
In fact we bonded well enough to hang around next day as well. It was raining in the morning so we firmly decided to stay in and not even risk to repeat yesterday's fiasko, but at arounf mid-day it surprisingly stopped. We went Port wine tasting with chocolate, walked along the water and then she left. She left and I continued with my book. It was the last night in the city and was quite excited to leave this rainy and cold place - only hoping that the next place will be better in that sense.
The next destination - Aveiro - was a pleasant surprise with sun and +20 something temperature. It is a small but cozy town, a little touristy if you go to the very center, but very inviting if you just take a turn to a little side street. Taking those few layers off my back and not freeze was something that made me believe that Portugal is actually in the very South of Europe again.
That was until I went to Coimbra - where the cold and rain returned. It was almost as if someone up there did not like me too much. Or just has a weird sense of houmor. Either way, Coimbra was cold when I got there. And it did not get too warm afterwards either.
Looking back I can say that Coimbra is a big old town, very nice to be in, however I did not get to enjoy it too much, because half the time I was forced to look for the shelter from the rain. Even when I went to the Botanic garden they have, after two paragraphs of my book I was forced to close it and run for the pub next door. I got a beer, so I guess it could have been worse.
°You should have seen by the look in my eyes
That there was something missing
You should have known by the tone of my voice°
Next destination - Peniche. I had big hopes for it. To begin with - I was hoping for some sun and beach time. Also - I already had myself signed fore the surfing class and even though I was terified, but I knew that I need to do one thing that scares me at least from time to time. Surfing had to be it.
And it provided everything that I was hoping. Portugal was finally giving me a break. I walked around the peninsula, I tried surfing, I walked along the beach. Surfing was real fun. I only managed to stand on a board for no more than half a second, but it counts. And I was very happy to do it.
Finally I went back to Lisbon. It's been like... 11, no 12 years, but Lisbon did not change much during those years. Still amazing city, great little streets and trams in them, amazing beaches, beautiful Sintra. I even managed to meet some really great people back in the hostel where we exchanged stories, laughed and talked until midnight. I went to Belem, an amazing ex monastery, I visited a colourful, almost like from the cartoons palace in Sintra and walked miles. Literally miles on the hills, down the hills, around the hills.
And then almost at the very end of my trip, something trully amazing happened. I was already sitting in the train to Porto, to catch my plane back to Denmark when someone else sat down next to me. I looked up from my book and there I see her - Aušra, a girl from my university that I first met on my way to Lisbon. It was such an incredible coincidence that we ended up talking the whole trip to Porto. Catching up after twelve years and talking about our life stories and wines of Portugal. Thanks to her I got some tips on what wine to buy and bring back to Denmark.
It sits there on my shelf now, a very good wine that is now waiting to be tasted.
I cannot stop listening to three songs now. And just like that, completely unexpectedly, youtube plays another not forgotten sound - Daughter - Youth.mp3.
It brings me back. To the happiness. Of some sort.
°You don't die from a broken heart. You only wish you did°