Ocean side photos (day 106)

Day 106, Thursday, 03.01.2013
So I woke up, edited some photos that I made last night. It was actually my homework for today. When I finished that I went to buy some groceries and it was really nice to walk to the shop on such lovely sunny day. It was a bit colder than previous days, but it was still like autumn weather in Slovenia. I enjoyed the walk very much. Oh, and before that I washed my hair with some shampoo tester I got at some store last week and I just love it! My hair is so soft and silky now! So when I walked to the shop and the wind was blowing, I actually felt you know, fabulous. =)
Anyway, in the afternoon I had my first class this year. I got there few minutes late and I was the first one there. Luckily the professor got there just few minutes later, but at the end there were still just like 10 other students in the classroom, and usually there are about 30 of us. Holidays are tough I guess. =) And I just found out that next week it’s the last class of this subject so I really need to finish my final project! There is a lot of work to be done in next couple of days…
Ok so after the class I went home, did some more photo editing, watched some Friends episodes and that’s more or less all. So I managed to edit some photos from last week, and here they are. Ocean side. =)

The Best week in Portugal (days 100-105)

Day 100, Friday, 28.12.2012
Our day started a bit later in the morning today and out first trip was to see the Obidos Lagoon. Damir knew some side paths, because he cycled there with his bike a few times before. We went to the beach of the lagoon and realized that it looks more like some swamp than the ocean because of all the plants in the area, but also because the water there is really calm. But that’s just because it’s a lagoon and it’s quite closed, so not many ocean waves get inside. I really liked a beach house there, that is actually some sort of surf school and rent area for different kinds of water activities. It must be really awesome in the summer when there are people.
After the lagoon we went to the beach of Foz do Arelho and watched the ocean waves for a while. That is always fun to do. =) Well beside that, there was not much more to do in that area, so we got in our rented car again and drove to Nazaré, because everybody was telling us we have to visit it. On our way there we stopped at some of the old windmills that are so common here in Portugal. Damir knew where we can get close to one. Well there were actually two of them; one abandoned and damaged, but the other one was restored and renovated, so it looked like it still works. It was such a nice thing to see and I would love to spend a vacation in one like that. Good thing Damir explored the area with his bike and so he knew these small paths… =)
So then we went to Nazaré and well, people were saying Nazaré is a small fisherman village, but as it turns out it’s more of a beach resort than a village. There are few old houses left, but most of the buildings are some apartments and shops for tourists… We were quite disappointed by it, because it was really not what we expected and what we wanted to see. But we drove up to the top of the cliffs above the city and we stopped at the end of the road, where there is a small lighthouse. We enjoyed the view from there for quite a while, because it’s so amazing how the waves hit the cliffs there and the water splashes all around. Such a beautiful experience that totally made our day about thousand times better – not that it was bad before. =) Then we went off the cliffs to the sandy beach and we walked along the coast and had so much fun just running in front of the waves and taking photos. I felt so happy that I can’t describe it. The best feeling ever! =) And I found a dead dry fish on a beach, so Damir had some fun with it by preparing a bit like a funeral for poor fish. He even picked some flowers to put on a “grave”. Hahaha! =) Before we went home we stopped in a city to take a walk along the beach and we went for a cup of tea at some bar on a beach. It was a nice ending of an amazing day. I think we all had a lot of fun.

Day 101, Saturday, 29.12.2012

It was time to visit Lisbon one more time and we decided to drive off the highway, because we could see so much more countryside if we were on more local roads. So we drove a bit longer and we had to use a map a bit more, but it was nice and we even passed some of those large wind turbines that are all around the area. We drove directly to one of those and we couldn’t believe the size of it. We knew they are huge and we knew how they look like and all that, but when you’re standing directly beneath them you get that feeling of respect. You feel really small. It’s amazing.
Then we finally arrived to Lisbon and first we stopped at the Belem tower. We found a free parking space there and so we went for a walk from the tower to the Jeronimos Monastery. Damir and his mom decided to visit the Maritime Museum that is in the same building, but I wasn’t that interested in seeing the same exhibition again and also I’m sure I’ll be there few more times… So I went to the Berardo Museum across the street. The exhibition in there was the same as I’ve alredy seen the last time there, but I still enjoyed it because I took enough time to see some of the art works a bit more in detail. Some videos were really great and I didn’t see them last time, so I believe my time was well spent. =)
After we’ve all seen what we wanted we got back to the car and drove to the other part of the city. We went to Expo, that place where Oceanarium is. The sun was already going down and we were all a bit tired, so we went to Vasco Da Gama shopping center and walked around a bit. Maybe that was a mistake because it was very crowdy. You know, all the holidays and sales… After that we decided to go home.
We wanted to take a highway back home and obviously we didn’t see one of the road signs, so we were on a wrong highway to the north. We wanted to go on the one that goes directly to Caldas da Rainha, but instead we were on the one that goes directly to Porto, so it goes more inside the mainland, not so close to the ocean. And like that’s not all, we we’re a bit confused while looking at the road signs, so when we got to the toll where you usally take the ticket, we were on the wrong lane, where people with some electronic card go. When we got off the highway we had to pay a bit a higher tax because we didn’t have the ticket. But now we know we have to be more careful… As we were told later, we’re not the only ones that had this accident. It might be also because those signs are not in english so you’re not sure what they mean and you have to react quickly. Oh well, what matters is that we got back home safely.

Day 102, Sunday, 30.12.2012
We slept a bit longer today and our plan was that maybe we would visit Sintra again. After checking the weather forecast we realized that it will be raining in Porto for the New Year’s evening and so we decided that we go to Porto today and we wait for the New Year somewhere else. First we went to Obidos because Damir’s mom wanted to buy some souvenirs that she saw there. When we started our way to the north it was already 11 o’clock and we decided to go on side roads again. It was nice and interesting, but on about half the way we gave up. It would take too much time and we were already quite late, so we decided to go on a highway.
First we didn’t know how the toll system works, because there were signs of some sort of electronic toll payment and that’s different than the one with tickets. Then some people explained that it’s ok if you don’t have some small electronic box in your car and that you can pay the toll later in the post office. A bit unusual system, but obviously it must work somehow. =)
We arrived to Porto at around 3 p.m. and we found a parking garage near the city center. It wasn’t the best weather, it kept on changing from sunny to cloudy, but it was still much better than rain. We walked around the city and went to the river. We walked on that main avenue along the coast where most tourists go, then we went to some other tourist attractions in the area and we even visited two churches that were open. Anyway, we visited most of the important locations in the center area.
Now I must comment the city and the feeling of it. Everybody was telling me that Porto is really nice, that it’s even prettier than Lisbon, that it’s charming and lovely… My opinion on all that is that they are wrong. This city is awful. I usually like most of the old cities and I’m a huge architecture and history lover, but seriously, this city is just horrible. I really wanted to see the positive things and yes, there are some nice buildings, but that can’t hide the fact that the city is full of moisture problems, dark smelly narrow streets and destroyed old buildings. There are so many buildings that are abandoned and nobody cares to renovate them, there is moss everywhere, the city smells bad because of that. In many areas you can smell pee and in other areas you can see garbage everywhere. Similar that I noticed in Lisbon, but here it was much worse! I don’t know how it is in summer, but I guess old buildings don’t look any newer and moss doesn’t just disappear, but ok, maybe it doesn’t smell that bad. I don’t know. I guess there must be something about the city that attracts so many people, but to me, that city is probably the worst I’ve visited so far.
Well after the disappointment we went some bar that looked quite nice. Well I had to wait for my fruit salad for quite a while and I really don’t know why, because it’s not a complicated thing to prepare and also there were not so many people. I know, it happens, I usually wouldn’t notice it, but since the whole city was such a disappointment I did notice it.
So I’m not sure if I’ll visit Porto again or maybe not any time soon. Maybe in summer so I could compare what’s the difference, but for now, I believe it’s not worth the long drive.

Day 103, Monday, 31.12.2012
I spent most of the morning editing photos from the previous days. I made so many photos these days that editing and rating them was really a whole project, but I was able to edit quite a lot of them. Also I was able to take some time for Skype and so I’ve seen my family for the last time in this year. It felt a bit weird not being able to be with them for the holidays, but to see them on a screen was better than nothing. =)
In the afternoon Damir’s mom checked some locations nearby and she suggested we could visit some of them, even though it was raining. So we went to Alcobaça where there is some monastery. We found it and we were quite surprised by the beautiful gothic entrance. I didn’t expect something so pompous as that, but it’s true that I didn’t even know where we were going and I didn’t check anything about it on the internet. So it was a really pleasant surprise. The entrance to church is free, but there is fee to visit the monastery itself. We didn’t visit the monastery because we didn’t have much time, but we did go in the church. I must say that’s probably the most beautiful gothic interior I’ve ever seen. I just love that it doesn’t have any paintings, nothing too gold, no frescos or anything that would try to make it look more expensive. It’s simple and maybe a bit minimalistic, but honestly so beautiful! The high ceilings and the raw stone, the windows… Everything was perfect! And I’m a huge gothic architecture lover, so this was really like a dream to me. Amazing! =D
After being filled with all the positive and peaceful energy from the church, we went on a road again. We went to Fatima, the city that is quite famous pilgrim location. The sun already set when we arrived there, but it was still nice to see the church and the piazza in front of it. I would love to see how the city looks like when there is a crowd of people. We went to the church and it’s another beautiful architecture with huge organs above the entrance. Though I must say I was more impressed by the church in Alcobaça. But it was really nice to see this pilgrim location. And also when you think about how many people wish to visit it, you feel a bit privileged and grateful to have this opportunity.
We rushed home after that. We ate some food and relaxed a bit, so we had enough energy for the last trip in this year. We went to Nazaré again, because it’s quite close and everybody was saying that there is usually a huge party and beautiful fireworks. When we got to the city there were cars parked everywhere and people with bottles of wine walking along and across the streets. We managed to find the way up the hill and to the cliffs. Surprisingly we had no problem to find a suitable space along the road to park the car. So we went to the edge of those cliffs along with many other people and we had a great view on the city and the ocean below. There was a huge crowd on the beach beneath us and they had huge colorful reflectors that were “painting” the cliffs on which we were standing on. It was really beautiful. And when the final countdown to midnight began we could hear the crowd count and at 00:00 the fireworks started. They were quite long and really beautiful, but the best and most unique part were the reflections of the fireworks colors in the ocean. That was really fascinating. And from the cliffs we were also able to see some more fireworks in other cities few kilometers away. I think we picked the best place to wait for the New Year. =D

Day 104, Tuesday, 01.01.2013
Srečno novo leto! Happy New Year! Feliz Ano Novo! =) Time goes by so fast! I still can’t believe it’s already 2013! And when you’re in Portugal that feeling of time goes totally different, because I feel like we’re stuck in autumn and don’t notice all the Christmas spirit that usually lets me know the year is coming to an end.
Anyway, late in the morning we left Caldas da Rainha and we stopped at Peniche. Damir’s mom wanted to say goodbye to beautiful ocean waves. =) It was windy so the waves were even bigger and more impressive. I think she was very happy she could see that before she left home. Then we took the local roads to Lisbon and we arrived right on time to return the rented car. And since we’re in Portugal it was nothing unusual that we had to wait for a person from the company to come and pick the car. Anyway, everything was ok and Damir and I felt a bit handicapped when we realized we depend on our legs now. On times like this you realize how comfortable and luxurious a can be… =)
So his mom got on an airplane and we still had most of the afternoon to spend in Lisbon somehow. We decided to walk to city center, even though we knew it must be about 6 km distance. But it was nice sunny day and we don’t mind walking. As a matter of fact, I love to walk. =) There was not much to see, but we did notice again that there are so many homeless people at some places. It’s really sad, but what can you do… And again there was a lot of garbage everywhere, though maybe not as much as the last time we walked through those areas.
Well we went to Bairro Alto, because everybody was telling us that we have to go there. Well most of the shops and bars were closed anyway, but it was interesting to see how those buildings are built on that steep hill. And we passed some gothic shop where I saw some really awesome creepers. Next time I’m in Lisbon I hope the shop will be open so I could try them and if they fit I’m sure I’ll buy them. =D Then we went down to the center and to the sea side, we took some photos and now we were able to see the Christmas lights in the city. I noticed that most of the cities here in Portugal don’t have as many lights as Slovenian cities do.
After that we went to the subway because we wanted to catch the bus to Caldas da Rainha at 19:00. We arrived at the bus station later than we expected so the time was 18:57 when we got there. I went to buy the tickets and Damir went to see where our bus is and he asked the driver if she could wait just a little bit. I waited in the line and there was only one lady standing in front of me. That man at the register was returning her money and there were only coins. He did that so slowly. When we got to the register we told him how many and which tickets we would like and he was saying something in Portuguese. We didn’t know what. He took some money from the register and he went somewhere. He returned with a lot of coins and he started to slowly sort them in the right boxes of the register machine. When he slowly finished that he finally gave us those tickets and we ran to the bus. It was still there, waiting for us. Lucky us! =D Then we were finally home and it was time to just relax.

Day 105, Wednesday, 02.01.2013
I slept as long as I wanted, I had breakfast when I wanted and I didn’t have to hurry anywhere. It felt nice after a week of running around and traveling. Not that I mind that, but it did feel great to have a day off. So I spent most of the day writing this blog post, because I didn’t have any time to do that the previous days. Also I had some time to edit few photos, I cleaned around the apartment a little and I had time and the right weather for some laundry. Oh yes, and I had time to Skype with my family. =) That’s it for the day. Now I have to do some homework… I’ll add more photos when I’ll have time to edit more. =)

Traveling around (days 97-99)

Day 97 – Tuesday, 25.12.2012
Feliz Natal – Merry Christmas! First I have to write about our Christmas evening last night. All the Erasmus students left in town gathered at the apartment of Latvians. When I saw their living room I’m sure that was a smart idea, because it’s much bigger than ours. They have a really nice apartment. Well Damir and I were about half an hour late, but when we arrived we were still the first ones there. Others arrived one and a half or even two hours late. It seems even Erasmus students picked up this Portuguese habit. =)
Well it didn’t matter, because when we were all there we started to eat different foods. Actually everybody brought some food with them, so that was really nice and there were so many different dishes! After that we all got a bit more relaxed and we got into that happy party mood, so we all started to dance and sing and simply enjoyed the evening. It was so much fun! Too bad we had to calm down a little, because obviously people from lower apartment couldn’t sleep… =) But it was a really nice evening and I’m really happy I spent the evening with such great and positive people. We stayed there until around 3 a.m., but then I helped Damir with some cleaning in the kitchen and he still wanted to bake one potica that he wanted to bake before but couldn’t finish it. So I went to bed at around 4 a.m. and Damir around 8 a.m.! Crazy! And we had to wake up at around 9 a.m.! Haha! =D
So yeah, we did wake up and we packed what we needed and got to the bus for Lisbon. When we arrived we decided to walk to the airport, but since we had enough time we walked through streets and observed the city through non-typical tourist eyes. Everybody goes to the center and we were walking out of it. It was interesting to see that, because that way you see more how the city life actually works. We were very disappointed on the amount of trash that was just lying around on the ground and also there were so many garbage bags next to the trash containers, not in them, even though they were empty! Why would people do that? When it comes to recycling, ecology and simply garbage disposal I’m often very disappointed here in Portugal. It’s like nobody was taught why and how to handle the garbage.
Anyway, we waited for mom of Damir at the airport. While waiting we had a lot of fun observing people. =) When we arrived, rent-a-car was waiting for us; or better, we’ve been waiting for the rent-a-car. Well we got it and we decided to use the rest of the day for some Lisbon sightseeing, since we’ve been in Lisbon anyway. We drove through the center to the coast and we found a parking space that was also free, because it was Christmas and fee for that parking is obligatory only on working days. Lucky us! =) So we just had to cross the street and already we were able to lose ourselves in those narrow streets at the oldest part of Lisbon, under the castle. It was really nice and the weather was great. Too bad only that the castle was closed for visitors because of the Christmas, but still, we enjoyed the short walk and sightseeing at that part of the city.
We arrived back in Caldas da Rainha in the evening and we were all quite tired. So we just made a short plan for the next day and went to bed, because we all needed some sleep.

Day 98, Wednesday, 26.12.2012

We started our day in the morning and our first destination was Peniche. We drove to the lighthouse on the cliffs at first and we enjoyed the view. Oh, these cliffs and the power of ocean waves impress me every time! It really is amazing sight. We made quite few stops along the cliffs and every stop had something new to offer. At one place we were surprised by some hole, through which strong wind came out every time the wave hit the cliff. It was so awesome! Something totally unexpected, but really interesting thing! =D Our last stop before leaving town was the fortress and then we left sunny Peniche.
Our next destination was Baleal that is really close and there are always surfers. On our way there we stopped at some surf shop and that was sort of an attraction as well, because I’ve never seen so many surfs at one place yet. But that’s no surprise, since surf scene is really something usual here. =) After that we drove to the Baleal beach and it’s so cool because concrete road actually goes across the beach to the other side where there are houses. We met the guys from Surfoz, surf school Damir went to. I kind of really wanted to get in the water and try to surf this day, because it was such a nice weather and it was actually really warm on the sun. I didn’t need my coat; just two long t-shirts were enough. Just around the corner we checked some more cliffs that were a bit different than the ones we’ve seen so far. That was really interesting.
From there we hit the road again and drove to Obidos. I felt a bit bad because I still wasn’t there, though it’s really close to Caldas da Rainha. Well now I’ve seen it and it really surprised me with all the ancient charm it has. It is an old city with medieval wall all around the old city and it has so many cute narrow streets. I would definitely recommend a visit to people that like old cities with some soul and charm. But it really is a huge tourist attraction and the main street was full of people. I guess part of that was because there was like a ‘Christmas Village’ that you could visit for a fee. It was interesting, but obviously it was more adapted to children. We walked up to the city wall and we walked half of it. The view from there was amazing and totally worth the walk. You can see the ocean from there, but also you have a great view of the city and the roofs of all those old buildings. When you’re looking at the city you realize how many gardens and green areas actually are there, but you can’t see them from the street level. So I’d say I fell in love with the city a little bit. =)
On our way back home we stopped at the shop and then we went directly back home, because once again, we were hungry, tired and sleepy, so we all just wanted to go to bed as soon as possible.

Day 99, Thursday, 27.12.2012
Today we woke up early again and we left home in the morning, because we went to Sintra. We chose not to drive on the highway, but on the local roads that allow you to enjoy the rural environment. Few times we saw some nice view or something and we just stopped and enjoyed whatever it was that convinced us into stopping. Mostly it was the ocean. =)
Sintra has quite a lot of things too see, but we knew from the start we wouldn’t be able to see them all. So we decided to go to the most famous castle up on the hill above the city. It is a palace with huge garden and we bought the tickets to see both. The palace is some mix of different architectural styles and it looks like from a fairytale. It is an amazing sight, but I kept on wandering why did people build such large residences and why? Well it definitely was worth checking out and it really impressed me. I kind of wanted to be dressed like a princess and pretend that it was mine palace, but at the same time I really couldn’t imagine living in such large palace. I wouldn’t know what to do with all those rooms.
After seeing the building we went for a walk through part of the park. Oh that was totally something of my taste! First I found a round pavilion and I just love buildings like that. To just walk around it was really something I always wanted to do and I know that might sound stupid or weird, but I just really wanted to do that. I was so happy when I did that. =D Then we kept on walking and we found like a small stone bridge over a path and that’s another thing I love; cute small stone bridges. Another part of my dreams… =) Then we continued our walk and got to some water area with small waterfalls, palm trees, ferns and ivy all around us. I just realized then, that my favorite plants are all green and they were all there in one place! It was like another part of my dreams! Small jungle! Oh it was so beautiful! =D And what I found there? Another small stone bridge! So it was like a combination of so many things I love! And not just that! I was able to see sequoia tree and that is something that I can’t see every day and it makes an amazing impression on me every time I do see it. There were also some others enormous old trees that you simply have to like and respect when you see them. =) So this park was really like a dream to me and I want to visit it again, at least one more time.
We ran out of time to visit more palaces and other interesting places in Sintra, so we drove to our next location that was on our priority list; Cabo da Roca, the westernmost part of Europe. Well the lighthouse is really nice, and there is a statue with a cross and people are taking photos… Then you look down the cliffs, you see the beauty of nature, you look to the west and your eyes just start to glow a bit because of the amazement and a bit because of the happiness. Maybe it’s just me, but the feeling that I got there was truly unique. Once people stood there and thought that they were on the edge of the world and they thought our planet is actually a flat land, like a plate! It truly is magnificent sight when you think of it like that, or even if you don’t.
We waited for the sunset there and maybe it’s a bit ‘mainstream’ and a cliché, but it’s so worth waiting for that. Well it’s just simply the sun going into the ocean, but it’s the feeling you get that makes all the experience so much more powerful. And while the sun was going down on one side, the moon got up behind our backs and it was another amazing feeling and experience. Nature is awesome! =D
I would love to post some photos now, but I’m too tired to make a selection and edit some of them. I promise I’ll post a lot of photos as soon as I’ll have some time, but at the moment my priority is to get the most out of this week and I’m simply enjoying all the sightseeing. =) So, photos coming soon. =)

Portuguese organization (day 83)

Day 83 – Tuesday, 11.12.2012
I woke up quite early today, because we had to be in front of the school at 9:30. I was planning to leave home at 8:50, because I can’t walk so fast with my a bit damaged knee, but as usually we went from here 5 or 10 minutes later. Well my knee was much better now, but I still couldn’t walk perfectly. We still managed to be in front of the school 10 minutes earlier. Haha, so much for my slow walk! I’m still much faster than most of the Portuguese people. =D
When Damir and I got there others said the bus was supposed to arrive at 9:00, but somehow we didn’t have that information. Well it turned out it didn’t matter, because the bus arrived at 9:30 anyway. And so, we were on our way to Peniche, where International Interchange day was waiting for us. First thing when we arrived there they showed us part of the ESTM (School of Tourism and Maritime Technology) building, we had like a short coffee break and then we returned to the bus.
We took a ride to the opposite side of Peniche peninsula to where a fortress is. Once it was the most important fortress in that part of Portugal and it served like a defense against pirates. Later its function changed according the needs of that era. So it served as a military stronghold and as a refugee center, but in World War I it started to serve as a prison for political prisoners until 1974. Now it is a Municipal Museum. So we checked the museum, seen the prisons and fortress walls. It is so interesting when you’re standing on the wall and there is the whole ocean on the other side and you actually hear and feel the waves hit the shore. At some places the pressure even moves some sand. It’s so unusual and amazing at the same time! =D
Then we returned to ESTM where we had lunch. Well for me it was only one pear because as always there was nothing else to eat for vegans or even vegetarians. But I didn’t mind. Usually when I’m not at home I really don’t feel hungry and it’s very easy for me to stay on fruits for the whole day in that case. After that we went to some large auditorium where we were supposed to listen some lectures about tourism and interesting facts about Peniche, but the main problem was that took about 3 hours and most of it was in Portuguese language, so we slept for quite a while. But some parts were in English and some parts Lucas translated for us. So we still got some information, but to be honest, I was still bored for most of the time. After that we had another coffee break and again there wasn’t anything for vegans except for potato chips which I usually don’t eat. So well, I decided to be vegetarian for few moments and I ate 3 cookies that I knew had eggs in them. They were ok, but they had just too much egg in them. And it’s not only my opinion, others agreed on large amount of eggs too… But oh well, Portuguese people obviously love that kind of food. And as we learned until now, they just love too sweet stuff. Even chestnuts and popcorn are covered with sugar… =)
After that break they convinced us to go see a backstage and visit a multimedia workshop at some hotel. After some convincing from organizers (which were students of tourism) we agreed to go there. As it turned out, the backstage was actually a backstage of a hotel and we’ve seen how the kitchen works, the laundry rooms, storage and so on. Though it really was interesting and something you usually don’t see, it was definitely not the kind of backstage any of us expected… =) Then there was a multimedia workshop with an artist Alfonso Malão. It turned out as an hour of theory about how microphones, speakers and all the cables work, then we got about 2 minutes of him playing the synthesizer. I admit, what he played was amazing, but really, an hour of theory that nobody was interested in and you can’t explain all that in one hour! Well maybe we would like to know all that stuff, but we would need a lot of time to study that and so this was really the most boring multimedia workshop. He should just show us his work and we would all be amazed and happy. Then Matti wanted to try his synthesizer and the guy turned it on again but then he just started to play and when he stopped he turned it off again and forgot all about Matti. It was really funny how Matti just pressed those keys in hope there will be some sound, but that guy just ignored that. It was weird but funny at the same time. =)
Then we returned to the school and we had some short fire show, that I must say was nice, but nothing special for me since I’ve seen so many much better ones. But still, thumbs up for their trying and effort. Then we had ANOTHER food break where we got the leftovers from before. =) Then they asked Matti, Berthram and Lucas to play a song for us, because they brought guitars and some weird whistle that Lucas has. They played really well and it was so much fun listening to them. =) That was really awesome. But then that was it, we went back on a bus and drove to ESAD. What I have to tell is that we were supposed to represent our own countries in some way and Damir and I were working on that Power Point presentation for most of the day yesterday, but in the end we didn’t even do or show any of that! So I feel a bit stupid for really trying and putting an effort in that for nothing. I’m the kind of person that loves to prepare things and I want to present them the best I can, so this was really a huge disappointment for me, because we were prepared and we thought they are actually interested in listening about different cultures. I mean, the whole trip and everything was a good idea and I know they’ve been trying, but in the end it was just a mess and it seemed like organization was great on paper, but not so much in practice.
On our way back to school guys kept on playing and singing on a bus. We had like a small band with Lucas playing his weird whistle, Matti and Berthram with guitars, Damir with some paper instrument he made on a bus, Laura improvised with some rattle she just created and I was a drummer with some carton folder. =) It was fun! When we got off the bus we walked to the center together and guys kept on playing so it was like those moments when you imagine you’re walking down the street and there is a theme song playing… =D Well we went on a drink at Praça where Sophie joined us.
So I have to say that obviously in theory this intercultural exchange day was a really great idea, but when it came down to practice it just didn’t work out as it should and as we expected. But it was still really fun and interesting day and evening, but mostly just because the company was great. =)

Best feelings (days 24-25)

Day 24 – Saturday, 13.10.2012
It was another a bit lazy morning and we all slept a bit longer (well, for me it was until 8:30…). =) Then I put my white Nike shoes in a washer because they were dirty and I realized that they are not getting out much whiter… Damn you white shoes, you never get all cleaned! =/
Well after my talk with white Nikes, Damir and I went to Eleclerc on the opposite part of the city, because we had to buy some groceries. On our way there we stopped at few skate/surf shops to check it out a bit and Damir needed new shoes anyway. He bought himself a bmx bike last evening and now he needed some shoes, because he only had flip-flops and some rock shoes that are really not appropriate for and sports… =) So we had like a shopping spree… Haha! =D
At the evening I decided to bake something, because we had a lot of apples that needed to be eaten soon or they would “die”. So I made something with polenta, raisins, soy milk and apples of course. I realized I didn’t buy cinnamon so it didn’t turn out as tasty as it could be, but it was still eatable, or maybe even good. =) And it was weird because we kind of forget about this food when it was in the oven and I was already panicking that it’s probably burned, because I wanted to bake it for 10 minutes and it was already 30! And when we opened the oven we realized that it’s still far from baked, so we left it in there for another 15 and it was just right. Funny oven… =)

Day 25 – Sunday, 14.10.2012
Alarm clock at 7:30… Oh why… I push the sleep button and so it starts ringing again in 5 minutes… I push the button again… Another 5 minutes… Then I say to myself: “Oh no, not today! You HAVE to wake up!” So I had some breakfast, got dressed and packed everything I wanted to in my backpack. When all three of us got ready the clock was already 9:25 or something like that. We had to hurry to the bus station! We made it and catch the bus at 9:30.
We were driving out of Caldas da Rainha. Our first trip out of the town on our own! =) The bus drove through the Obidos that looked quite charming town! It has a huge medieval wall all around and some really interesting buildings. We have to stop there some day and check it out. And the bus drove through the Baleal and we got all excited when we saw all those houses and shops with signs like “Surf school”, “Surf shop”, “Surfing camp” and so on… We were like little kids! =D
Where did we go? To Peniche! It’s the time of Rip Curl Pro now and we really wanted to check it out and see how the best man and women surf… =) Well the bus driver told us he will stop us somewhere close to the event area. And so he did. Or at least we thought so… And we didn’t really ask where the event is and there were no special signs to lead us there. Really, no banners or anything that would tell you where to go, no matter if you’re by foot or by car! So we walked along the cost, Gaja and I got those big eyes and smiles on our faces when we passed by some sexy surf guys with bare feet, surfs in their hands and with neoprene suits half dressed… Damn! =D
Ok yeah, so we were walking along the coast and came to some cliffs. The first view at that was so fascinating! And as we walked further the views became even more amazing and my smile got even larger. At some locations it was especially awesome because when I was standing at the edge of the cliff I was able to see, hear, and FEEL the waves when they hit the rocks. It was the best feeling of freedom I’ve ever had! It was really exactly what I wanted to experience, it was PERFECT! It was actually so perfect I can say that was really the most amazing thing and it made the whole day one of the best days in my life. Maybe some people will not understand, but it is how I feel and I can’t help it. And it was really warm and sunny and awesome weather. So I guess all my dreams about living in California one day could really be what I want. I don’t know. But what I do know is that sea side makes me happy. =)
Well after a long walk we asked one guy which way should we go to find Rip Curl Pro and he said we were walking in wrong direction. So we had to turn around and walk back and a bit further, so I guess we walked like 15km today… Or at least I calculated something like that by checking Google maps. =) Though I’d say the walk was totally worth it. And at the end we found the event. The downside is that about 10 minutes after we arrived and sat down on the lovely sandy beach the weather changed. Suddenly it became all grey and cloudy and cold winds started to blow. We found some shelter at one of the promotion tents. We waited there for a while because it wasn’t very pleasant outside. We’ll the rain stopped, but the cold and windy grey weather stayed. Despite the weather some guys were still catching the waves and so we decided to check it out and enjoy it for a while, despite the cold winds. The waves weren’t very high and there was not so much surfing, but we still saw some action and it was really nice. Then we had to go to catch our bus, because in case we would want to stay longer we would have a bus really late and because we weren’t dressed for such cold weather we rather went home. But we decided that we’ll come back on Tuesday or Wednesday when the weather will be a better.
After seeing Peniche I think I’m even more sure I’d love to try to surf and I’d love to have a camper van… =) I’m dreaming about a van with surf on a roof and my trekking bike at the back… You never know, maybe it just might happen. =D