Lagos, Portugal. April 2012.
When my mom, who works in my former junior high school, told my 9th grade Spanish teacher that I would be enjoying parts of my spring break in Spain and Portugal, he apparently got misty-eyed, went weak at the knees, and stared off into an unknown horizon as he whispered, “The beaches of Lagos, Portugal ruined me for the rest of my life. No beaches will ever compare.”
(I may have dramatized that a little.)
Okay, maybe my fully-grown former teacher didn’t cry at the mere thought of Portugal, but after having spent a few days there with a few of my friends during our April break from classes, I wouldn’t be surprised if he had. Lagos is in the Algarve region of southern Portugal, and was an unusual, whimsical, breathtakingly beautiful place — something we didn’t expect. It was turquoise waters and golden, rough sandy beaches and landscapes that were lush and unplaceable. While driving through the countryside, at some points it almost seemed like we weren’t on this planet anymore — were we in Middle Earth? Do dinosaurs roam these lands? It was such a perplexing feeling, but in a mystifying, intriguing way that made me want to stay for weeks to explore and discover more.
When we got on the bus in Sevilla, Spain that would take us to Lagos, my camera decided it wasn’t up for the trip and refused to take any pictures. A few days later, after re-arriving in Sevilla, it magically came back to life and acted as it had not just betrayed and deserted me in the most gorgeous land of all time. THUS, all photos in this post are courtesy of the artful eye of fellow PSU-gone-Euro-for-the-semester
Miss Hannah Lane Misses Hannah Myer. Upon arrival in Lagos, we immediately explored the cliffs at Ponta da Piedade and basked in the Mediterranean sun — which my other travel companion, Mollie, and I particularly loved after having spent three months in Ireland and England. It’s easy to understand why this area of Portugal is particularly tourist-y and why spots on tour buses full of American study abroad students fill up fast — I mean, are we seeing this photos? The Huffington Post even said that “Ponta da Piedade could very well be the most beautiful beach on Earth.” (!)
When we were informed of a “sangria cruise” that would take us out on the ocean & give us a little sightseeing tour of the cliffs, no convincing was needed. We hopped on that sailboat and were swept right up by the magic of the sea and of the warm, soft air and of Portugal. After having grown up visiting the Jersey Shore every summer, these southern Portugal coasts were a HOLY MACKEREL, CAN’T BREATH, TOO BEAUTIFUL smack in the face/breath of fresh air. And one day, as Mollie and I strolled the sands and befriended Portuguese dogs, Hannah officially crossed surfing off her bucket list!When we were leaving the beach this day, our last day in Portugal, I distinctly remember standing at the top of a cliff after eating lunch, reluctant to walk away and lose the view of the ocean and beach. This was the end of our spring break, and we felt so lucky to be there and to be experiencing it all. To this day, all Hannah or Mollie or I have to say is, “PORTUGALLL” and the others will reply with a heartbroken, “UGHHHH.” A place that had never been very high on my to-visit list has stuck itself at the top of my must-REvisit list.
Have you been awed by the southern Portuguese coast?