Portugal: que loco

Some JMU kids and I visited Lisbon, Portugal last weekend. The number one question was: what language should we speak, English or Spain? Which was odd considering I have never considered speaking anything but English in the States. Our crazy bus driver takes us over to Portugal on a scenic 8 hour bus ride, stopping to spend 45 minutes at a Portuguese gas station for dinner. Finally we get to our hotel, which was gorgeous. The red parlor greeted us and the hotel workers spoke English. All of us were thrilled but now had to mind our speech, no more secret conversations.

The first night we hailed taxis and tried to brave our way through Lisbon to the party. El Barrio Alto was our destination and after a crazy race through the streets we arrived. It truly is the literal translation of a high neighborhood.

Bars lined the streets going vertically up, never seeming to end. People talked, drank and smoked in the streets right outside the bars. Only about 50 people could fit comfortably inside the bars so it seemed natural to move out into the street. Near the bottom of the hill 8 cops stood. I was not comfortable with this but none of the other thousand people in the street seemed to mind. They seemed purely like a formality.

The first day we walked everywhere and learned not to wear heels, wedges do you much better on the cobblestones. The altitude there rose and fell creating hills hikers look to climb with walking sticks. We took taxis back to our hotel and crashed. If we only knew the workout that was ahead for the next day…

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