I have TOO MUCH I want to say, so of course it’s going to take awhile until I say anything at all. So just a quick update for now:
1. Am back in Portugal, staying here until the 28th when I go back to Prague
2. Driving through Europe is terribly easy – I had a hissy fit that there was no one at the border of Portugal and Spain to stamp my passport.
3. I have 120 pictures to upload. Good stuff.
4. Didn’t make it to Morocco because I decided I’d only be cheating myself to only do a whirlwind day there. Will try to get back for a week or so some other time.
5. I DID get to Evora, Salema and Sagres (the former end-of-the-world, back in the day) in Portugal, and of course I’m around Lisbon and Cascais now. Drove through the friggin’ desert for 5 hours in Spain to get to Sevilla, where I only spent a day/night. It was neat. It was HOT. And I was thrilled to be somewhere where I knew a good bit of the language.
6. My favorite thing about this whole trip? The studio I rented for the week has a stove and I can COOK.
7. I had an inescapable craving for a milkshake. McDonald’s was the first thing we spotted (luckily, this place isn’t overrun by McD’s yet). VANILLA MILKSHAKES IN PORTUGAL ARE AWESOME. They had this kinda sour-creamy/cream cheese flavor to it. Yum.
8. I went to the movies last night – halfway into the movie the lights go on and an intermission screen comes up. I get confused. I mistake everyone’s chatter and cheering for annoyance. I’m told that ALL THE MOVIES have intermission. I wonder if the whole country has attention deficit disorder, but it’s suggested that it’s probably so everyone can go have a smoke. Ah.
9. So far, the Portuguese are living up to their reputation – very friendly and nice. Considering their reputation as being very laid-back, “tomorrow” kinda people, it’s funny that Portugal is also known for being one of the worst places in Europe to drive. They are crazy aggressive and a bunch of speed demons. It seems you can drive as fast as you want, and pass while nearly hitting on-coming cars as long as you wear your seatbelt.
10. Portugal + wine = very good. The host’s girlfriend accidentally opened up some 1987 Reserve bottle of Spanish wine my first night here, and even though she caught hell for it, I’m sure glad she did. That was some of the best stuff I ever had. I also love the Portugues vino verde (green wine – made from unripened green grapes and slightly fizzy). I’m going to try the ginginja (jean-JEAN-ya) soon – a liquor made from sour cherries. Served with or without fruit.
11. I can’t tell you too much about the culinary side of Portugal. It’s a very difficult place to be a vegetarian. Luckily, (I confess) – I gave in to eating chicken awhile back. If I found any fish I liked, I’d start eating that too (but only the super healthy grilled sort). But I will NEVER EVER EVER eat red meat again. No sirree – even in a town like Evora where all they serve is pork.
12. I have mixed emotions about returning to Prague… but I’ll talk about that later.
13. Big fantasies of that cafe I want to open in Prague (one where I’d bake stuff every morning and make breakfast for people… and sit behind the counter and knit). But ya know… I actually might make that happen.
14. Hopefully I’ll get those pictures up for y’all soon. I got some REALLY good shots of the end of the world.