i spent an obscene amount of time trying to figure out how to start this post, it is now almost a week later and I have yet again deleted what I had already written, faced with a blank page and the feeling that: ‘I don’t know how to write’. The rate at which this summer is progressing, I find myself having to remember and recollect every moment and just breathe. Life can go a little slower if you need it to (do I want it to)? But Portugal did provide a little slice of relaxation amidst the madness of this summer.
There was an ephemeral quality to the week, with it being far enough away from results to avoid being stressed but near enough to university to know that this will be the last proper time I’ll be spending quality time with my mum for a while. The days were punctuated by starting and then finishing a new book, trying my hardest to avoid buying a plastic bottle and just generally abstaining from using my phone because since exams have finished the main contributor to a decrease in the heightened happiness of post exam freedom has been social media. Not even for any particular reason, just wasting time.
There are moments when you look back in retrospect and say ‘I would’ve done this differently’, like the fact I should’ve learnt more Portugeuse than just ‘obrigado/a’, but we spent our lives in a state of flux that it would be redundant to do so. The biggest thing to take from this summer is just to live in the moment, which I think this trip kind of taught me that. To cherish the present state. Most of the photos I took are on film as to avoid the 100 or so photos it takes to get the ‘right’ shot. They’re waiting to be developed so will no doubt be appearing here at some point.
some things worth seeing if you’re in/near Lisbon:
- spending the day in Sintra/visiting the Pena Palace. The Pena Palace is well worth visiting and we paid more so that we could go inside, if you just fancied taking pictures outside the Palace and visiting the Park it’s worth buying the cheaper ticket (€7.50 compared to €14). Sintra itself is well worth visiting and although we didn’t visit it there is a National Palace. A full day visiting is very easily achieved. Where we were staying in Estoril there was a bus that took us to Sintra train station and then a tourist bus (number 434) to the main sights from the station, of which the ticket altogether cost €15.
- Cascais was a beach town right by Estoril but considerably livelier and incredibly easy to get to, either by walking or 4 minutes on the train. We spent a morning here exploring, visiting various parts of Cascais like the Marechal Carmona Park and the art district. Evenings were spent wandering about the town, eating the best vegetarian Pad Thai I’ve possibly ever had and soaking up the different cultures.
- Lisbon – we only spent a day in Libson which meant we didn’t see absolutely everything but we wandered to the Praça do Comercio which is the main square, went up to Alfama which is such a stunning district, spending quite a while up there and then just jumped on a tram and went on a ride around the city before getting the train back to where we were staying.
- Recommendations from other people for Lisbon have included:
- Visiting Belem which is slightly outside Lisbon, it is famed for their custard tart at the Pasteis de Nata as well as the Cathedral (and they also have an art gallery).
- The Chiado area of Lisbon
- The Gulbenkian Museum – an art gallery that also has large grounds to walk around
- places to eat – Taberna da Rua das Flores and The Mill (Lucy has informed me there are waiting lists but the food is very good).
So I conclude this post, on the brink of results day and finally knowing where I’ll be spending the next four years which is equally exciting and incredibly nauseating. Good luck to those of you awaiting your results, I may or may not be posting a UCAS journey post on Thursday so you may want to watch out for that.
lots of love, eleanor xx