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Adventures in Lagos, Portugal

After an excruciating 4 hours cramped in the bus, I was ready to see the supposedly beautiful Lagos- and I was not disappointed. If I had to describe Lagos in a couple of words, I’d say it’s the windy city of Portugal– I think I was permanently sporting a lovely rat’s nest on top of my head. Besides the new do I was forced to assume, the wind felt great and the temperature hit home. Sevilla is a sauna compared to the lovely weather of Lagos.

Kathryn Byerly Lagos 1After a quick pit stop at our the hotel we hit the marina. The group climbed aboard a giant sailboat ready for our mini-cruise. The only other passengers were a middle-aged couple–I can only imagine how they felt watching 16 obnoxious, boisterous teenagers climb aboard knowing this was supposed to be their romantic, relaxing getaway.

After setting up shop in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, half of us went in a little motorboat for some “exploring”. We went into the caves of Portugal- by that I mean we took some pictures at the mouths of the caves but the combination of the small, open-air boat and the constant smattering of waves made it feel like it was an action scene from Pirates of the Caribbean. The caves and and the rocks were absolutely gorgeous as they perched proudly among the monster-like waves.

We returned to the sailboat to give the other half to star in their own adventure movie. It was then the guides told us we were welcome to go swimming since the water was “great”. Well, let me tell you, the water was far from great–around 20°F off actually. It was one of the coolest experiences that I got to share with my friends. I can honestly say that I not only got a lobster-red tan (by tan I mean sunburn) from the sailboat cruise but I got a whole lot closer to the other students and the directors- I also made it out with some pretty amazing pictures.

Sadly, the cruise came to an end. We docked back in the marina and headed back to the hotel for official check-in. [After spending our free time hanging out by the pool], we headed in town for some fresh seafood along the ocean.

Kathryn Byerly Lagos 3All of the cafes in Lagos have this homey, comfortable feeling that anyone imagines when picturing a sea town. Eachcafe, shop, and stall is adorable and I regret not being able to visit each and every one of them. We settled on a cute cafe where the ocean spray hit us at our table; it was just right.

Then came the sunset at Cabo de San Jicente. All we heard all day was how it was the most breathtaking sunset in the world. Back in the days of European empires the sunset at Cabo de San Jicente was considered the end of the world–where the sun dipped below the giant pancake considered Earth. We only left once the sun was securely tucked under the horizon and it was dark-enough that the creepy, bedtime monsters of children’s books came out.

The next day was surfing…

Let’s start with, I am not in any means a surfer — but I can proudly say I stood up for a solid five seconds on the board. Surfing was amazing. The wipeouts and crashes will gladly provide for the stories that I will be telling when people ask about my trip when I return to the States.

When we first got to the beach–that just randomly sits in the middle of two mountain sides without any civilization near it–we suited up with some wet suits. Then came the surfing class. First was warm-up- essentially a game of slide-tackle tag in the sand. Then we did some pretty solid yoga poses on the boards to feel out the balance of the board when in the water. Finally came the moment of truth–a.k.a. it was time to take a stand (literally). I only managed the monumental task of standing in the last five minutes.Kathryn Byerly Lagos 4

It was amazing- I mean who can say they have surfed in Portugal? But, sadly, the end of surfing meant the end of the excursion. After changing into dry clothes we were once again off, traveling in the bus back to Sevilla. Which only means one thing, it’s time to do the homework that I pushed off until 11:30 Sunday night (don’t let the profesoras know).

Needless to say, Lagos was by far my favorite excursion. Lagos was beautiful and breath taking. But I was definitely ready to fall into bed at home for a greatly needed night of sleep at home.

– The above blog post was contributed by Kathryn Byerly, who studied abroad in Sevilla, Spain with ISA High School in 2015. Katy visited Lagos, Portugal during a weekend excursion with her group.

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