Jared Still in Portugal

Beautiful, clear blue water, coral reefs, sandy beaches, jagged cliffs, sunny days and starry nights, quaint streets, cheap hotels, novelty shops, sun burn, freshly squeezed orange juice, raging night life, cheap drinks, and cool people. That about sums up my last few days.

Still in Lagos, Portugal. Take a look on a map, to the southwest most corner of the Europe…that’s where I am…right on the corner of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. I am finally getting the R & R I needed to help me get over the burnout. It’s so relaxing here, just to chill on the beach, read my book, and play my guitar (I have been writing songs). I have met so many people here and spent a lot of time just kickin it with them. Not much to do, but hang out, and that is fine by me. Not in a rush to see any sights…no itinerary…no trains to catch, no worries. Just chillllllin.

My back hurts a bit from layin in the sun for too long….also I have major tan lines on my face from wearing sun glasses while on the beach…so I have lighter circles under my eyes right now, while the rest of my face is darker, except for the white lines where the glasses hang over my ears….eh, so what. I am havin a good time.

I was on the beach yesterday with a few of the people I came here from Lisbon with. Two of them decided to go dive off a cliff. I said, “You are crazy!” to them. I saw them climb up the cliff and stand at the edge. The first guy dived in and was fine. The second guy was clearly scared to do it….and as he jumped, I think he freaked out in the fall, and rolled backward, hitting the water with his back and neck. Needless to say, he was hurt pretty badly…now he is laid up in bed at the youth hostel, not really able to move.

I checked into a hotel, because I wanted a little privacy. It’s only about $20 a night for a decent room with a balcony. Portugal is way cheap, if you ever want to take an inexpensive vacation. Good weather and beaches…some serious views, and many castles too.

I think I will probably head to Seville, Spain, tomorrow…I decided to skip Morocco. I don’t have enough time to really appreciate the place. Plus, time in general is running out on my trip. Maybe I will hit Seville, then Grenada, as well as Gibraltar, all before heading up to Barcelona.

I have been informed that my sword arrived safely in the USA. Glad to know that! I am psyched to have a sword…..makes me feel all medieval and stuff.

As my trip has been winding down, I have been thinking about how many places I have been: 41 cities! Last I counted, that is….and 13 countries! (including Monaco). Thirteen countries and 41 cities…man, it’s been a long trip….but I am coming home soon….and looking forward to camp.

I still want to hear from everyone, so please write to me!

Jared

Jared in Portugal

Ahhh, there is still life in my journey, and it’s been found in Portugal!

I have been here for the last few days, and I feel very renewed by this place. I took the night train from Madrid a few days ago. I slept for the first time in a couchette…which was quite interesting. The compartment only had four people as opposed to six, which is what I usually see. I had a top bunk, which felt quite like sleeping in a coffin. When we turned the lights off, it was pitch black…I mean, not even a dot of light coming in, and the ceiling was two feet above me….I felt very enclosed and freaked out. I think I fell asleep after a few hours of restlessness…..and I had a really weird dream, which I can’t recall. But I do recall the scary feeling of waking up from the dream in a pitch black, coffin like environment on a rumbling train. Talk about disorientation…took a minute to remember where I was. There were times when the train shook so much I felt like I would be thrown from my bunk!

I arrived in Lisbon early morning and met a bunch of people in the train station, including one of the guys in my couchette car. We all found a hostel together and ended up hanging out for the next few days in a big group, which is something I have missed for a while…so it was a welcome experience. It’s nice to have other people taking charge, and I can relax a little and just go with the flow.

We walked all around Lisbon. This is a very beautiful city, and parts of it are so old and untouched, it’s like walking back in time. Some of it is quite run down, but the people are very friendly and full of culture. Our hostel was right in the middle of the central square, and I had a balcony in my room. There was an ancient castle sitting on a hill above the city, which we decided to climb up to and check out. What a climb, but it gave us a great view of the city and the bay! There is a giant statue of Jesus here….it stands over the bay and is visible from all over the city. This is a very religious country.

The next day, we all took a trip to a town called Sintra, about an hour outside of Lisbon. It’s a small village set in the side of a mountain that sports a medieval Moorish fortress, as well as an incredible castle built more recently. We decided we wanted to climb the mountain. I don’t know if we really knew what that would entail. It was a very windy road that went for miles uphill, yet we walked it all the way to the top. We carried up food for lunch with us, and at the top we perched ourselves on the walls of the castle, overlooking the entire coast of the region, and had a picnic lunch in the presence of an amazing view.  Quite spiritual.

That evening we returned to Lisbon. One thing I’d like to mention is that I have seen many people with extreme deformities here, for instance people with no arms, but hands that stick out of their shoulders, or people with immense protrusions from their backs. It is very sad to see such things. But, yesterday I saw a man with Elephantitis. I don’t know if you have seen the movie “The Elephant Man”, but this man looked very much like that. He was sitting and begging, and when I saw him, I did a double take and had to look away, because never in my life have I laid eyes on something so hard to look at. If you think you have problems, you really don’t.

Anyway, the next day some of the group split, and the rest of us took a train down to the southwest coast of Portugal to a town called Lagos. This place is like the Greek Islands all over again. BEAUTIFUL BEACHES. The water is so clean and clear…you can see the bottom. Teaming with fish. The town is quaint and old, with all kinds of shops and restaurants. Very cheap too! I may stay here for a few days and just relax. Lawd knows I have been going strong for a long time.

My trip is almost over! Only two weeks to go! Can you believe it? I bet you feel as though I have been writing these updates forever. Yeah, me too. It will be weird to be back in NYC! Well, not quite yet, because I will be going to summer camp. But I suppose I will be back in the city by the fall. What the hell am I gonna do? I have no clue…

Any suggestions?

Write to me folks….it’s always nice.

Jared