Living in a city for a month is a really weird thing. On the one hand, it sounds like a really long time to be in one place. But when you factor in the fact that you spend the majority of your time doing “real life stuff” — like working, doing your laundry and going to the gym — it really isn’t that much time to get the full experience of a place. Every month, I promise myself that I’m going to do a million and one things (and swear that this will be the month I send everyone postcards) but then all of a sudden it’s time to go to the airport again and I have no idea where the time went.
Because of this, @RemoteYear tries to plan cultural events and experiences (called “tracks” for a reason unknown to me) so that we feel like we’ve at least done something immersive in each country. When I was living in Lisbon, I signed up for one called “West Coast, Best Coast” that had zero description online (but I assumed was some sort of beach trip?) and had NO idea what to expect.
A group of peeps and I took the train up to Sintra, aka the fairytale-like valley where Portuguese royalty used to spend their summer vacations. We were greeted at the train station by a fleet of open-air buses and adorable tour guides, and told we were going to be chauffeured around the area for the next 6 hours. And the best part? There was AN AUX CORD, and I was somehow unanimously voted to DJ. (suckers.)
First, we drove through the hills of Sintra and looked at the palaces, including the yellow and blue Pena Palace (which, by the way, looks straight out of a Disney flick) and the Palace of Queluz.
Next, we drove to the beach and had the opportunity to hang out in the sand and snap some pics. I decided for a not-at-all-candid shot of me jumping in the air, and ended up flashing the entire group. Whatev, because the picture came out cute.
Then we stopped for a traditional Portuguese lunch, in which we downed approximately 100 pieces of bread with cheese, multiple pitchers of Sangria and some sort of fish soup. They also let us take full bottles of wine to go, so safe to say our afternoon was *~*LIT*~*
After lunch, we drove to a lookout point in which I posed for romantic photos with a bottle of wine.
At the next lookout point, I replaced the wine with my boyfriend for some more couple’s pics.
Then, we drove to the Western-most point in Portugal, which was beautiful but a little anti-climactic because of how tourist-y it was. The other spots we’d been to were completely empty, which made them feel a lot more special. Plus, I couldn’t even see the Statue of Liberty from the Western-most point (fun fact! NYC is directly acrossthe ocean from Portugal!) so what was even the point?
The last stop (after an hour of driving around blasting The Backstreet Boys’ Blue Album) was at Azenhas Do Mar, a popular beach with a natural pool. We sipped cocktails and laid on the beach, and it was the perfect end to a perfect day.