Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Não falo português

«there and back again, an Iberian tale: part 1»

I don't speak Portuguese. I don't.

Okay so I do a little. But it's definitely less than sub-par. It's sub-sub-par. Six feet under par, if you will.

Now, I don't know how this rumor started, but, for reasons beyond my comprehension, others began expecting this skill from me as our sole means of communication while traveling around Portugal. And you know what happens when you make assumptions? Umps will shun you. Or . . . something like that.

Okay so I might have said I studied Portuguese a little. But you can't hold that against me. I say a lotta things.

Regardless, we made our way to Lisbon (or Lisboa, em português--pronounced *Leezhbooowah*) completely and totally reliant on my ability to speak the language. Which was foolish, if you ask me.

Day 1

We met up at the airport that evening for our short flight into Geneva. By "we" I'm obviously referring to myself, Adrien, Emily, Nikita, and Stephanie. Aka: 4 Canadians and an American. Aka: 4 weddings and a funeral, as I so self-deprecatingly referenced.

Unfortunately, our flight to Madrid didn't leave until the following morning, and we were barred from entering the terminal. Thus begins the tale of how I learned to stop worrying and love my inner hobo.

That night. Oh that night.

It was, quite possibly, one of the most unpleasant evenings I've ever experienced. On par with that full-body sunburn I got that summer I learned what "reapplication" meant.

Because we had no home, one of the security guards took us by the hand and led us to a "secret" little nook next to a severely underachieving heating unit where we set up camp for the night.

We make for a very pitiful looking heap o' people.

At around midnight or so, I imagine, the lights in the airport dimmed. At the same time, I'm fairly certain, the heat was turned off. Save for this lowly heating unit. After waking up several times from the icy hypothermic fever I was surely contracting, I decided to attempt to squeeze my entire body between Nikita and Emily's feet on either side of me to flatten myself against this god-given heater and salvage any excess warmth I could. Unfortunately the space provided was not 5'8", and I quickly became uncomfortably aware of my legs and how I had no idea where to put them. My semiconscious resolution? To stick them in the air.

. . . and I did. We would all reshift every 20 minutes or so, finally waking up at 3:30ish, feeling a little defeated and a lot delusional. But these things bond people, whether you like it or not.
Day 2

The flight to Madrid, the following 7 hours in the airport, and finally the flight to Lisbon are all kind of a blur.

I remember the view from my window.

My phone doesn't do this justice. It was the most beautiful view
I'd ever seen. Or the sleep was "clouding" my eyes. Whichever.

I also remember when we landed in Madrid, the woman in front of Adrien and me introduced herself, saying she had a sister who lived in Nashville. (I must have said something about Nashville. Not sure. I say a lotta things.) I told her I had visited Geneva during the super-massive-Russian-style cold front. And, with her thick Kentucky accent, she responded, "Aw, darlin'. Bless yer heart."

I got a lot of "Bless yer heart southern sass" after that from my dear sweet Canadians. Though contextually it never really worked. But I'm not vengeful. What's that? You think I'm lying? I don't know what you're talking aboot.

Then we played some cards. I think we ate too. It's a sleepy memory mish mash.

Once we finally made it to our hostel, we crash landed on our respective beds, "doin' a curl up" as Emily put it since "cuddling" usually implies more than one person, pulling the IKEA duvets close to our hearts and snoozin' til after dinner.

(And, yes, just in case you were wondering, the hostel is as cute as it looks on the website. Greatest, coziest, most adorable hostel ever.)

After curling up, we decided to go out and find a café to get some warm drinks before bed.
The post-sleep/pre-sleep look suits us very well. (cred: Nikita)

Day 3

Day 3 we awoke early to the wonderful surprise of freshly homemade breakfast. Really delicious, exceptionally flat pancakes. Or . . . really delicious, exceptionally thick crèpes. I'm not really sure. Pancrèpes. We'll go with that. Nevertheless they were very tasty.

Then, fun was just a severely overcrowded bus ride away. We first went west to the Monastery of Belém.

Too cool? No, too sunny. (cred: Emily)

(cred: Adrien)

What do monks, wild horses, and the Dixie Chicks have in common?
They all need wide open spaces.

Echo Echo Echo Echo
(cred: Emily)

"When someone says 'Don't jump!' it makes
me really want to jump."

Then as we were leaving the monastery, we passed this guy, and, after collectively pausing for a double-take, Nikita raced back, grabbed the stranger, and propositioned a photograph. 

Eerie, eh? 

After the monastery we moseyed on over to one of the most celebrated hotspots in all of Portugal: Pasteis de Belém. It's a pastry shop known for, you guessed it (but probably not), pasteis de belém--a wholly sinful combination of (powdered) sugar, (cinnamon) spice, and everything nice. It sort of resembles a baby quiche that got mugged. It doesn't look appetizing. I would not have looked in the window and thought, "THAT. THAT IS WHAT I WANT IN MY STOMACH." But, friends, I would have missed out. Flaky on the outside. Mush on the inside. My dreams realized. And only 3 people know the recipe. If that doesn't make this awesome, I don't know what does.

"Zees ees my keetchen! Zees ees my pastry!"
(He's probably Portuguese, but I think the accent suits him.)

And we eat our pasteis. And we die happy people. (cred: Emily)

I tried to get a before picture.
There just simply wasn't enough time.

One of the 7 gastronomic wonders of Portugal! Booyah.

After sufficiently and satisfyingly stuffing our faces, we took the metro all the way to the other side of Lisbon. The east side. The MODERN side.

Subway art (cred: Emily)

To the aquarium!

This guy was on a surprise date with his
girlfriend, and it was precious.

We discuss the issues. The fishues, if you will.
(cred: Emily)

Then we returned to the hostel, ate a homemade meal at a real-life dinner table, and spent the rest of the night chatting with some Polish guys in the common room. Polish people really like to talk about their depressing Polish ancestors. Emily and I were fed an unwarranted yet harrowing tale of pain and suffering, and now I feel bad.
Day 4

Cabo da Roca! The westernmost point of Europe! The air was crisp. The cliffs were breathtaking. The bus ride was a nausea-inducing mix of winding roads and a backwards seat.

To the east and to the west

Then we got adventurous and hiked a ways down toward-ish the water. The first picture is the view back up the hill from where we were (circled in the second). Steph's shoes were less than adequate for treacherous rock hopping, so she stayed at the top and snagged picture number three.

After "Cabo" we went for dinner, and returned to the hostel a little early. So we decided to utilize the hostel's awesome media room to watch a movie before bed.

Now I'm not too picky when it comes to movies. I'll pretty much watch whatever. Most of the time I draw the line at horror, but sometimes when you're in a group that wants to watch a horror movie, you just have to go with it. Nobody likes a stick-in-the-mud.


But I made it all the way through. Mostly from behind the pillow. Because I was NOT walking back to the room by myself.

Amitiés :)


  1. Molly, this is fabulous. You are fabulous! I'm sad I missed this adventure with you guys! I'm glad you had such a great time!

    Bisous xo

    Kendra Hall (another Canadian)

  2. DUDE!!! Your blog ROCKS my Canadian SOCKS!!! Man, I'm not usually one to follow people's blogs, but I'm DEFINITELY gonna make an exception for you! This is awesome!!!
    P.S I can't wait to see your work come to life on SNL a few years from now... ;) :D

    Miss (Stephanie) Fabiana (Agostinelli) a.k.a Your biggest fan a.k.a ME! :D <3


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