Birthday on the Costa del Sol

Been a looong time since I’ve done a post, so I’m just going to update Portugal today and try to get Spain done tomorrow. I hope I have time. Being on a coach tour means that there is very little free time, and the access to wifi is very limited. Right now we’ve got it in the hotel but it keeps dropping out. I must have written this intro six times and I’m so frustrated I don’t know if I’m going to cry or throw a spaz attack. It’s not just the wifi, it’s this bloody ipad. I don’t care what the advertisements imply, iPads are NOT an appropriate substitute for laptops. I’m ready to throw the damn thing in the pool. Earlier, I was trying to write a review for a restaurant (very good restaurant called Vintage 8 if you’re ever in Torremolenos) and it corrected my meaningful to meaningless. Not kidding.

On another note, it’s my birthday today! Also, Costa del Sol is a terrible beach. No waves, the sand is a funny grey-brown colour and it’s full of pebbles, which get bigger and more numerous as you wade out into the water. Very disappointing, but I guess Europeans are just happy to find water meeting land without a cliff face getting involved. Americans, you’re much better off with California and Florida. Australians, you’re just better off, period.

Day 5 – Fatima and Obidos, Portugal

From Oporto we were on the coach to Lisbon, with stops at Fatima and Obidos. Fatima is a holy Catholic site where an apparition occurred early last century. I’m not sure how many Catholics were on our tour, but me and Mum aren’t religious (though Mum stops short of labelling herself as atheist), so we just had a walk around, looked at the monument and marvelled at the HUGE amount of Catholic paraphernalia. Lots of shops were selling candles in the shapes of various body parts, which were used to light in prayer at the cathedral. It was a bit different to see these wax shapes of legs, arms, lots of wax babies (creepy, but I guess it was to pray for a healthy baby?) and yes, even wax breasts. I hope they were burned for something meaningful like breast cancer and not something trivial like praying for bigger breasts. Admittedly, the latter thought came to mind first.

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There’s another practice of prayer where the person walks on their knees on the path toward the  church. You can see someone doing it in the photo.

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Then we went to the medieval town of Obidos. There’s a great old wall going around the town but I didn’t it was safe to walk around it (there was no railing, and nothing to stop you falling off one side). So I just walked up to the top, snapped a few photos, then opted out for a sangria in the shade instead. It’s been SO hot! But nice. Lots of resting in the shade and cool drinks. Just lovely.

Day 6 – Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon was gorgeous. Look at the view from our hotel window!

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We got to see the monument to discovery and the Belem Tower. Whenever the tour guide said Belem, I thought she was saying ‘bell-end’. Maybe it was too early in the morning for me…

Belem Tower, built in the sea. Not bell-end.

Belem Tower, built in the sea. Not bell-end.

Then later that day we went to a nearby town called Cacais, which was even more picturesque.

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Isn’t it beautiful? I really loved Portugal and the people were really polite and helpful. The tour we’re doing is very quick, cramming as much as possible of Spain and Portugal in the space of two weeks. I’d like to go back someday and see more of the castles and walk around the towns. We’ve done cathedrals to death, honestly. Definitely some of the cathedrals are spectacular, but we’ve been very cathedral focused and I would like more variety.

I’ve eaten peri peri chicken and drunk green wine. It’s been a good holiday so far. I’ll be updating on Seville next, so I hope I’ll be able to do that sooner than in five days’ time, like I had this time!

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