Bright and shiny Porto, Portugal

I’m going to be honest, the weather in Germany has been dreadful as of late. It rains nearly every day, the sun rarely peeks out, and even when it does, it quickly gets consumed by gray clouds. That is part of the reason why my most recent trip out of the country was especially spectacular.

On November 9, a couple friends and I decided to take a weekend trip to Porto, Portugal. As soon as we arrived, there was a stark difference from Germany. Although it was just 8:30 a.m., the sun was shining brightly and the heat poured onto us as we emerged from the airport. We started off by exploring the city a bit before we moved into our Airbnb. Let me tell you, I was immediately impressed by the massive waves crashing against the country’s coast. I couldn’t wait to get into the water myself.

After an utter debacle finding parking at our Airbnb, we finally made it into our home for the following few days. I was thoroughly impressed by the place: it had two floors, two balconies, and even separate places for each of us to sleep. Definitely a nice place to crash, especially given how inexpensive it was to obtain.

After a nice nap following our travels, we went to the downtown area to see the sights. As you can imagine, people could tell pretty quickly that we weren’t from the area. The thing you likely didn’t know about Porto is the presence of the so-called “gypsies”. For some reason, as soon as they see foreigners like us go anywhere near them, they run up and try to sell marijuana and cocaine to us. This in and of itself was hilarious, but the funnier part came when we mentioned this to some local people we met at a cafe. Apparently these gypsies prey off tourists and make money by selling grass (like, actual grass clippings from a lawn) and sugar instead of the aforementioned substances. Needless to say, it made the evening quite memorable.

My favorite part of the trip came on our final day. Despite it being “cold” (merely 50-60 degrees outside), the three of us drove to the coast to have a beach day. The waves were as big as advertised, and since it was a bit windy, we had the entire area to ourselves. We took a dip in the water, built a sandcastle and even buried my friend in sand. We were very tired afterward, and even though my friend and I both lost our sunglasses to the Atlantic Ocean, we all agreed that it was a successful day.

Alas, it was time to head home the next morning. Prior to coming to Germany, I never thought of Portugal as a place I wanted to visit. After seeing the coastal country though, I can’t believe the thought of going there never crossed my mind.