*Dealing with a few technical difficulties (what’s new?) so I think you need to press play if you want to listen to the music*
Travel breaks. They’re both a blessing and a curse. What makes DIS so unique is that you get three weeks throughout the semester to slip away from the stress of school and travel wherever your heart desires. That’s the blessing of travel breaks. The curse is that bad luck seems to follow me wherever I go. I am genuinely starting to think I should change my last name to Fincher just so I can say “There’s always an adventure when traveling with a Fincher” and have people understand what I mean by that.
The bad luck for this week started a little earlier than usual. Sondra, my roommate, is from Portugal and is so kind that she invited a big group of us to visit her home in Évora for a few days. The journey was supposed to begin on Friday the 6th. It wasn’t until Anna and I made it to the airport and all the way up to security that we realized we booked the flight for the wrong day and we weren’t going to be getting to Portugal until midnight the next day. The downside of this is that we missed the day on the lake, but the upside is that I got to experience Jule Dag and get a true sense of what hygge really is.
Fast forward to Saturday. After three hours in the Hamburg airport (never do a long layover there) and an hour-long car ride with Flavio, we finally made it to Sondra’s house!
I always joke that Sondra’s family is part of the mafia, but now I think that might actually be true. Like they say in The Lion King, all that the light touches is their kingdom. They have a beautiful property that we got to spend a lot of time exploring and an abundance of puppies.
While in Évora, we got to gorge ourselves in delicious food and I even got to cross riding a motorcycle off my bucket list! Part of me wishes I had spent the entire week with Sondra and her family because they were so welcoming, and to top it all off, the weather was fantastic.
You might think that after such a great day at Sondra’s home, my bad luck would be over. That’s where you’re wrong. We took a bus to Lisbon on Monday, and it wasn’t until I was halfway there that I realized I left my wallet with her. Good thing I still had my debit card though!
Arriving in Lisbon was stressful. We had a group of twelve people who had absolutely no idea where we were and what we should do. Eventually, we decided to split up, and after an hour of walking aimlessly in an attempt to find somewhere to eat, Anna and I gave up and went to our AirBnB. When we decided to go back to the city center, we were so hungry that we just went to McDonald’s…big surprise!
As the daylight was waning, I was beginning to get anxious that we had just wasted an entire day doing absolutely nothing. It wasn’t until we approached a man driving a pink tuk tuk that things began to look up! Bruno, the tuk tuk driver, told us that he would drive us to all of the important sites and give us a brief overview of everything for only 45 Euro. If you ask me, this is something everyone should do. We got to see virtually the entire city from the comfort of a teeny car and some of the things we did are things you could never do without the help of a friend like Bruno. There was one moment when Bruno took us on a walking tour through a residential neighborhood when Anna and I both got nervous and thought he might try to kidnap us, but he caught on to our hesitation to follow and quickly assured us that we were close to the cafe that was playing live fado music. When we got to the little restaurant, I felt like I had gone back in time. The woman singing had the most beautiful voice and everyone seemed so content with their lives. After listening to the music for a while, we went on the search for a tucked away bar that served ginjinha (a traditional Portuguese drink that’s made from sour cherries). The bar we were looking for was closed, but thankfully we caught the man right when he was leaving and he was so kind that he let us in and even hangout with him for a little while. Shortly after, we made it back into the city and then headed back to our apartment so we could wake up bright and early for our flight the next morning.
While our time in Portugal was brief, it was so much fun! Be on the look out for my next post about the 2 1/2 days I spent in Barcelona!