Finally, almost four months in, I took my first trip out of the country. The week of Semana Santa (Easter Week), two friends and I journeyed to Portugal for a trip we all very much needed. The hustle and bustle of teaching in Madrid had taken its toll on us. Warn out and exhausted, we took an 8-hour bus ride to the beautiful city of Lisbon. Although the first night was miserable, trekking the hilly cobblestone roads in heels in the cold and rain into overcrowded bars with the hostel bar crawl (next time I’m listening to you Haley), the rest of the trip was amazing and reminded me that this is what I came for. The next day, we walked over fourteen miles seeing the city from a local’s point of view as my friend’s roommate from Lisbon graciously showed us around. We walked along the waterfront, had lunch at a rooftop bar, and hiked up and down the two big hills of the city to see breathtaking views. We fell in love with Lisbon.
The next day, we took a day trip to the much-recommended town of Sintra. We had such high hopes for this day trip, unfortunately, the massive crowds, lines, and pestering tour guides made the experience much less enjoyable. However, we stuck with it and it was worth it. We climbed the ruins of a medieval Moorish castle built in the 9th century and toured the very colorful Pena Palace built on top of a hill overlooking the town.
The following day, we took a three-hour train to the coastal city of Porto. When we arrived, the weather was perfect and not a single cloud was in the sky. Taking the advice of the hostel employee, we walked to the waterfront and had lunch along the river almost in arms reach to the landmark bridge. From there, we hiked up a hill to a park to relax, have some drinks, and watch the sunset over the city. The next and last full day of the trip was, of course, a rainy one. However, that didn’t stop us. We explored the art district, tried the famous Francesinha sandwich (ham, sausage, and steak in between three slices of bread, on top of tomato-y sauce and French fries, covered in cheese and a fried egg – had so much potential but the taste fell way short), and went to the most beautiful book store, Livraria Lello, where supposedly JK Rowling found inspiration for her writing. The next morning, we had a lovely breakfast at a nearby café and ventured back to Madrid. I wish I could say it was smooth sailing; however, I do not have good luck with budget airlines. First off, my carry-on was slightly too big for the sizer. Thankfully, a nice gentleman in the boarding line helped force my suitcase into the sizer, saving me 50 euros (to put things into perspective, that is about 3 ½ classes). Then, the boarding passes would no longer load on my phone despite downloading them. Therefore, we had to wait until everyone else was boarding the plane for the RyanAir workers to write out manual boarding passes (I didn’t even know that was a thing!) Thankfully, we made it on the airplane and successfully arrived back in Madrid. Check out my pictures from the trip here.
Since the Portugal trip, I have been working like a dog. My company continues to add classes to my schedule since they will process my work authorization. As of right now, I am teaching nine classes at the Biotech company, four classes at a Law Firm, three one-to-one classes, and ten hours of nannying, for a total of 27 hours Monday-Thursday (not including travel or prep time). I am trying to squeeze in as much Spanish as possible; however, making a living and traveling has fallen higher on the priority list. Although Monday through Thursday are beyond busy, I day dream about my upcoming trips. Next up, Munich, Germany! Hello real Bavarian beer and pretzels!
And the wandering continues…