|I thought I was going to continue to update this on a more regular basis, but I think I have really gotten in the groove of traveling, and sitting at the computer feels like wasting time. But, I need to keep a good record of these amazing events.
So...we were so sad to leave Ronda. The man who worked at our hotel, sweet Antonio, tried to convince us to stay another evening, and he even offered to take us to Sevilla on his way to Cordoba, to catch our bus to Faro. And let me tell you, we were tempted. We were actually tempted to stay in Ronda altogether. But, it was time to move on. We were both very excited to see Portugal. A new land, a new language. Scary... So we caught the bus no problem and made it to the other bus station in Sevilla with ease. However, our second bus ride was not so smooth. The bus broke down about an hour out of Sevilla, about halfway. The bus driver only spoke Portuguese and the passengers were from all over the world. So, needless to say, we did not get updates on the situation. We ended up waiting about 3 hours, when finally a mechanic showed up and spent about an hour fixing the bus. We waited and wai5ted for about 4 hours and finally, we got back on the road. At that point, Paige was far more restless than I was, so big bummer when our bus broke down again, right after entering Portugal. We were so close, yet so far. Another couple hours past, and no update or word on our situation. The bus driver did loan us his company phone, however, as soon as we started to use it to call our couchsurfing friend Laura, he got in Paigeºs face and well, we couldnºt underdstand what he was saying but it was NOT nice. I wonºt go into too much detail, but I told him I was going to kick him if he didnºt back off. Not that he could understand me. Anyway... FINALLY, we found out that another bus driver was getting dressed to pick his bus up and get us. He showed up a while later and we managed to get to the Faro airport to pick up our rental car. Our nice 2.5 hour bus ride that shouldºve been turned into a ten hour fiasco! But we made it. At 11pm. In the dark. In Portugal. After a few wrong turns and a lot of me squealing (did I mention that I am the driver, due to my knowledge of stick shift driving?) In case anyone here is unaware, Paige is definitely more of the driver out of the two of us. That is a major understatement. But we got to Lauraºs house who was hosting us to surf her couch and she was so kind and so gracious and wonderful. We had the best night of sleep. The next day we decided to check out some beaches, because that is one of the thing the Algarve is famous for. And for good reason. The beaches were so incredible. Our favorites were the beaches near Lagos and Sagres, better known as The End Of The World. There are no words to describe how cool it was. Hopefully we can post some pictures soon. We also had a delicious meal, and our waiter was so incredibly helpful, giving us all kinds of good transport info. Thanks, man. So the day was fabulous, with only one minor incident involving a panic attack (mine) on a really tiny twisty uphill street trying to manage that stupid car. Some tears were shed, but we are safe and a lesson has been learned. Leave the driving to the locals. That night Laura took us on a great walk around old Faro, and introduced to the magical world of geocaching. Check it out. We ate a really nice seafood (pork tenderloin for Paige) at a local bbq joint and called it a night.
The next day Paige and I thought it would be great to pack a picnic and just spend the day at our favorite beach near the end of the world. Well, the weather did not agree with that plan, so we decided to drive inland and check out Monchique. Very cool. There was a sweet spa there that we couldnºt afford to use, but the whole place felt very spiritual. Green and beautiful. We then decided to explore an old church, only to find a funeral in progress. Interesting. We actually got stuck behind the procession, which in this case happened to be an open hearse and about 50 Portuguese people on foot. Crazy: Not fun on the windy streets in that stupid stupid car. On the way back to Faro, I got on a donkey. That is all I will say about that. We did manage to find a super cool beach near Albufeira, and oh, it was so nice. Some people were swimming, but we just watched and layed and read. We made Laura a nice dinner and turned in sort of early (1am).
The next day, we headed off to Lisbon. We made a decision to drop the car off early and at a different location, because my anxiety was not worth it, to either of us. The fact that they would actually PAY us to bring the car back early (refund, that is) sealed the deal. Halfway up the drive the sun started shining, and we knew things were going to be just wonderful.