The first spring break stop outside of the country was Lisboa, the capital of Portugal, one of my must-sees this semester. We had to catch an 11 hour bus ride from the Granada station to get there. The bus waiting for us to our surprise when we arrived early for our spring break chariot was not what we imagined at all. Sitting in the number 16 park space was not a luxurious, immense charter bus but instead an oddly shaped conjunction of a minivan an minibus.  After 2 hours in our solemn but still comfortable ride through the sunset and eventual darkness, just AM, Fatima, myself, and another passenger, we stopped in a gas station. Unknown to us yet, we would be switching buses to the large, and luxurious one we had originally been hoping for. Unfortunately since it was already late we wouldn't be able to talk to people and make new Portguese/travel friends. With the change of scenery I was amped although we were in the midst of darkness. When we first arrived on the bus they were playing the new Alvin and the Chipmunks movie in Portguese so although I wouldn't necessarily see this movie on my own will, I was obviously intrigued because of the language! And I was interested to see what I could pick up and decipher. The next movie to my surprise was a little more intense for obvious reasons in ratings, Little Man. And luckily for me in my lack of ability/desire to sleep it was played in English with Portguese subtitles, so I read instead of watched the entire duration of the movie. Later on I would find that this would prove extremely beneficial for us on our many adventures. I'll admit that beside booking our hostel at Jardim Santos in the historical center of town, I didn't do any other homework than that than I would have normally done. Por ejemplo, how to get from the bus station to virtually...anywhere else at 6am in the morning when we were to arrive. I wouldn't say we were lost or stranded BUT for a short amount of time it may have felt like it. The pieces of information that I did have with me..the address of our hostel and a picture taken from my phone of the map of the city. Unable to communicate..well, comprehend the lone bus station attendant with my broken and basic Portuguese with him spitting rapid fire responses, I had to find us some other options. I was able to locate the other passenger that had accompanied us on the two hour bus ride into Sevilla to change buses. She helped as much as she could because she didn't know the specific area of Lisboa too well. 

When we had one of our early morning bathroom stops, I got out to have some fresh air and in the entrance of the rest stop building had one of those awkward encounters with this younger guy about who would come out of the door first. Although it was a quick encounter I remembered that as we passed one another he said, "Sorry". In our time of need at the bus station this occurrence came to mind and I immediately went to search for this English-speaking boy. Turns out that Bruno, the first Bruno that we would meet on the trip, is Portuguese and knows his stuff. He recognized where we were headed. Even with his two suitcases he physically walked us inside of the train station and helped us find and buy the less than 2 euro train ticket. We had to wait an hour or so to catch this train but that was the least of our worries, besides the cold temperature inside of the station. Words can't describe the luck we found with finding Bruno #1!

The stop of our train station, another lucky thing for us, was just a short taxi ride from our hostel. We made it, although a little worn out, in time for breakfast. Our room that felt like a large loft, comfy like no other hostel I've ever stayed in before, with a Mexican family currently living and studying in Spain. I sat and ate breakfast with them in the cozy kitchen chatting in Spanish about their family, myself, and all of our travels. It was a great way to turnaround the adventure in Lisboa. After breakfast I worked with a member of the hostel staff to book online/on telephone our bus tickets to Lagos the next day. If it weren't for her it would have been much more difficult to book the tickets through the Portguese website, although definitely not impossible. After a long nap we all accepted the fact that we needed to get out and enjoy the day, weather, and city! We spent hours walking, first following a map to find the 'yellow bus' route that climb up/down the city. I thought those were the tran vias at first, with the rails on the streets and cables in the air. . And then of course from historical site to the next beautiful view. By the time we made it to the central center we realized how late it was. This was the point again where I needed to use my basic knowledge of Portguese with my map to find out "Onde estamos agora?" in relation to our hostel. Another lucky quick taxi ride and we were back. Our task before that was to find a local supermarket to buy the food of our choice, pasta! We had limited time to cook, eat, shower, and get ready because when we got back to the hostel we started talking to two Spanish girls from Extremadura, Ines y Cristina, two great girls. One studies the English language and the other has a lot of knowledge of the Portuguese language after having studied in this neighboring country. They introduced us the Barrio Alto of Lisboa, known for it's nightlife. There we met other Portuguese crowds of people, many who spoke English too. In particular a Portuguese boy named Bruno (#2) studying to be a chef, with the most beautiful eyes and presence... :) I hope somehow to be able to meet up with them all again!

The most beautiful part of Lagos was...everything. From the beach that we simply had to climb down a set of stairs to access, to our amazingly perfect (all around) tour guides, to the great breakfast in the hotel and other food options, the majestic views, all the way to the company I was able to surround myself with, new faces and old. The best way to describe the trip would be to go minute by minute/excursion by excursion but I won't bore you with all of those details:) We hardly slept the night before Lagos because of staying out all night with Ines and Christina.  

The bus to Lagos was only a four hour trip I was very exhausted from staying up the night before, which is not generally the way to start spring break vacation but we had no other choice and were not going to stop there! The only negative about the trip I would say is the lack of Spanish and the overuse of English. All of the tour guides that we had and fell in love with are required to speak over 4 different languages to work for the DiscoverSevilla program, and all currently reside in Sevilla, and therefore all speak the Spanish language (and Portugese!) extremely well. 

I'll include the schedule here too but most of the trip included beach trips, mini boat cruises, sand sports, sangria, sleep, sunsets, beach workouts, bus rides, long nights and early mornings. Definitely the relaxing/crazy/exciting combination of spring break that I was looking forward to. On Sunday after another relaxing day on the beach I came to the realization that I had fallen in love with another part of Europe and didn't want to leave. I almost considered booking one of the next rounds of the trips back to Lagos with the same group, DiscoverSevilla just because I felt like I was entitled to having another great weekend like that while abroad here since I wouldn't be doing any other major/out of country traveling in this chapter. We arrived in Granada after 1 AM and then had to walk home from the bus area. Feeling fairly alive in the darkness we made the 20 minute walk home dreading having to go to classes the next morning. I skipped my 1030 French class because I had plans to get a lot done the next day before my 2 other classes and championship game for the volleyball inter mural league. (We ended up losing BUT in 3 by 1 point or so! Unofficial rules/no rules essentially hahah but it was fun!)

------Lagos, Portugal Trip • April 6th – 8th

Trip Itinerary:*Lagos is one hour behind Spain and the itinerary below is listed in local time (Spain & Lagos).  All times and locations are subject to change.

FridayApril 6th

06:00 AM – Please meet up with us on Meson Gregorio in front of Puente de los Basilios, Granada (Click on the link to see where on Google Maps)

06:30 AM – Bus departs from Granada

09:45 AM – Bus arrives in Sevilla at the Consulado de Portugal, which is located in front of the Jardines del Prado de San Sebastián on Avenida De El Cid, Sevilla(CLICK HERE TO SEE WHERE)

10:00 AM - Bus departs for Lagos-Portugal, please be on time, as we CANNOT WAIT FOR LATE ARRIVALS!
**Sign up for the Optional Activities on the bus ride to Lagos**
12:30 PM
 - Arrive at Hotel in Lagos, check into rooms *Now in Portuguese Time*
1:00 PM - Meet in Hotel lobby for 1st Sangria Sailboat Cruises
1:30 PM to 3:30 PM - 1st Sangria Sailboat Cruises + Grotto Tour
3:00 PM - Meet in Hotel lobby for 2nd Sangria Sailboat Cruise
3:30 PM to 5:30 PM 
- 2nd Sangria Sailboat Cruise + Grotto Tour

**Free time after the Sailboat Cruises**
7:30 PM
 - Meet in Hotel lobby to walk down to the center of town for dinner recommendations. 
11:00 PM - KICKOFF PARTY at Stevie Rays with DJ TOBY ONE!! (1 beer & 1 mix drink included).

SaturdayApril 7th

08:00 AM to 10:00 AM - Breakfast (included)
11:00 AM - Meet in Hotel lobby for Bus Ride to Ponta da Piedade to check out the Cliffs.

**After the Cliffs we will be going straight to Meia Praia Beach, therefore you should bring everything you will need for the day at the beach including some extra cash for lunch & Watersports! (Optional)**

12:00 PM to 4:20 PM - Beach Day at Meia Praia
4:30 PM - Bus picks everyone up at the drop off point in Meia Praia Car Park to depart back to Hotel.
6:00 PM - Meet in Hotel Lobby for Bus Excursion to Cabo Sao Vicente aka End of the World to watch Sunset!! Please be on time and come ready to go out (bring jacket in case it gets cold) 
**After the sunset we will return to the Hotel and walk down to the Center of Town for dinner recommendations.**


11:00 PM - DG Party round two!! 

SundayApril 8th 
08:00 AM to 10:00 AM – Breakfast (included)
10:00 AM - Surfers & West coast beach-goers meet in hotel lobby and MUST check out and put luggage in hotel luggage room.
12:00 PM - People that don’t come surfing or to the beach on the west coastMUST check out and put luggage in hotel luggage room.
4:30 PM - Surfers arrive back to the Hotel from the beach. People that did not go to the surfing beach have to be in the lobby ready to leave at 5:00 PM
5:30 PM - Bus departs from Portugal to Sevilla
9:30 PM - Bus arrives in Sevilla
9:45 PM - Bus departs from Sevilla to Granada

1:30 AM - Bus arrives in Granada at the same spot where we will pick you up on Friday (Puente de los Basilios)
**Bus from Granada:

Price: 30€ for a private round trip bus from Granada, which will be paid upon boarding. A DiscoverGranada representative will be waiting for you at the meeting point. 
If you plan on meeting up with us in Sevilla, and catching the bus back to Granada from Portugal, then the price is 20€, which will be paid upon boarding the bus in Sevilla.

Hotel Information:Praia Dona Ana, Apartado 33
8600-500 Lagos – Portugal
Tel. 
+351 828 762 026 

In addition to the extensive knowledge I was able to quickly pick up during the playing of the American movies, DiscoverSevilla also provided us with this nifty little tool:Helpful Phrases in Portuguese

Yes / Sim     No / Nao   Hello / Olá    How are you / Como estás
Good day, Good afternoon, Good night / Bom dia, Boa tarde, Boa noite
Please / Se Faz Favor   Thank you / Men say:Obrigado and Women say:Obrigada    You’re welcome / De nada    Excuse me / Desculpe    Goodbye / Tchau
Do you speak English? / Falas Ingles? 
Where is the bathroom?   Where is the hotel?   Where is the beach? / Onde está a casa de banho?    Onde está o hotel?    Onde está a Praia?How much does it cost?  / Quanto custa?    The Bill Please / A conta se faz favor!
Help! My pants are on fire! / Socorro! As Minhas calças pegaram fogo!

 


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