For those of you (like my dad) who are reading this blog and are wondering if I am actually studying during my study abroad adventure, the answer is: it’s Syllabus Week, so, um, like, no.
Syllabus Week, for those of you no longer in
heaven college, is the week (or two) at the beginning of each semester where you can show up late to class (“I got lost”), not bring your textbook (“they’re still being shipped”), and then party every night because all you do in class is… read the syllabus. That being said, some of my girl friends and I decided to spend our lovely Syllabus Weekend enjoying a little paradise away from heaven, in Lagos, Portugal.
Lagos, not to be confused with Lisbon, is a small city along the southwestern coast of Portugal on the Atlantic Ocean. While it is mainly a summer destination, there are
lucky bastards people who live there all year round. Lagos is not only a summer getaway, but also one of the most visited cities in Portugal, center of the Age of Discover, home of Henry the Navigator, historical shipyard, and once a center of the European slave trade. Also, in 2012, Lagos was voted #1 on TripAdvisor’s list of “15 Destinations on the Rise” worldwide. Keep reading, and you’ll see why.
Last year, some of my best guy friends Josh and Joe studied abroad in Madrid, and raved about their trip to Lagos. I’d
stalked seen their pictures from the trip, and ever since then, Lagos has been on my radar of places to visit. Like the guys, a bunch of girls on my trip were booking it through Discover Excursions, and in a wave of spontaneity, I booked my ticket as well about 24 hours before departure. Thursday night, after a bike tour of Madrid via Casa Del Campo (SO FUN) with some friends, we set off on a bus to Sevilla at 1 am. We drove all night and arrived early in the morning, catching some Zzz’s on the floor of the Portuguese consulate in Sevilla where the DE bus would meet to take us to Lagos. Once on the bus (I’m starting to recognize rest stops now…), our guides Toba (think Russell Brand in Forgetting Sarah Marshall), Benni, Luis and Nito got us pumped up for the trip with some throwback jamz and I finally began to relax.
We pulled up to the Marina Club Hotel, and checked in with me, Bria, Rhiann and Anna sharing a suite (throwback to freshman roommates). Only drawback was we had to sit in the sun by the bar next to the pool to use the wifi. #firstworldproblems. We changed quickly then walked towards the marina to board the boat for the “Sangria Boat Cruise“. Basically, we toured the coast of Portugal for a couple hours blasting music with unlimited sangria, took breaks to jump into the ocean, and explored the coastal caves via a smaller boat. I still can’t get over how blue the water was.
That afternoon, we napped by the pool then had dinner at Nah Nah Bah, which was recently voted in the Top 50 Burgers in the World, and for good reason. We then enjoyed some complimentary beverages at Shaker’s Bar, and ended the night pretty early (around 3 am) at a club called Grand Café.
The next morning, we had breakfast at the hotel and then went to the praia, or “beach” in Portuguese. I have been in Portugal so much I am feeling trilingual at this point, but also I’m really glad *mostly* everyone speaks English here. The beach was one of the most BEAUTIFUL beaches I’ve ever seen. I collected sea glass with Bria, lounged with my friends, jumped off a cliff with Rhiann, and enjoyed some more sangria. I also got a little homesick and missed my family… Not that I wish I was home, but I definitely wish they could have enjoyed the beach with me or at least it was easier to call them.
Later that day, we hopped on a bus to the “End of the World” to watch the sunset. The southwestern most point of Portugal, and Europe for that matter, was incredibly windy, and unfortunately we didn’t get much of a sunset because of the clouds (I have yet to see rain here) but it was still very fun.
That night we got some authentic Portuguese grilled swordfish and chocolate mousse which was TO DIE FOR. We had the best time at the bar Joe’s Garage, went back for round 2 at Grand Café, and ended the night with two very cute British guys walking us back to the hotel. Such gentlemen. I love Europe.
The last day in
paradise Portugal, we hung out at yet another beautiful beach Meia Praia, then walked around downtown before heading back to Madrid in the late afternoon. All around a GREAT weekend to kick off the new semester. I definitely want to come back here someday. Who’s coming with me?