A likeminded Australian surfer who you’ve known for 6 hours, an authentic home cooked Portuguese dinner, a late bottled vintage port, a guitar, cable TV with American shows, and a full container of caramel ice cream – sounds like the ingredients for a night to remember to me. And it was.
How did I get there? Well it’s really quite simple. The day’s destination was once again Peniche, but before I headed out on the 12:30pm bus I had to get my tourism fix so I headed down to a place called Belem. I hopped the zippy 15E tram and battled with the ticket machine for a good 15 seconds before saying “F it, I tried,” and pocketing my 1.45 euros. I got off at the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos, resisted the urge to exit with a two foot jump while holding my nose and shouting Geronimo!!!!!!!!! and instead took a calculated stride before breaking into a run that allowed me to pass up all the slow old people to get into the monastery first. The place had some pretty sweet architecture, I must say, and I roamed the giant halls for a good half hour before the spider web ceiling finally released its strangle hold on my curiosity. I posed with a ferocious lion and then peaced out. On my way to the next must see location, I took the advice of a Traveler’s hostel employee and stopped by the oldest pastry shop in Belem (est. 1837). They served me up a legitimate quiche looking mini pie that had the coloring of flan and a stretchy but crisp skin that enveloped a world of goodness. That goodness transformed into greatness once I ripped open the take away packets of cinnamon and powdered sugar and emptied their contents completely onto the pastry. Good ole Belem Pastry Shop.
I walked through a piss poor Sunday market where everyone got the memo to bring nothing but cutlery and china, and then made my way to a huge monument called Padrao dos Descobrimentos. Apparently Portugal discovered something worthwhile way back when cause this thing was huge. After that, I headed back towards the tram stop but quickly realized that no sightseeing tour would be complete without a stop at the national museum of coaches. That’s right. Cindarella, eat your heart out. Some of the buggies they had in there were insane. Lots of gold, velvet and big time rims. I caught the tram right as it was passing and then headed on to Peniche.
When I got to Peniche I made a tragic mistake. I, Kelly Lang, left my beloved memory foam travel pillow on the seat when I exited the vehicle. I didn’t realize it until much much later but when I did I was devastated. Only time would tell if the Redi-Express lost and found folks were doing their job and were able to save the millions of visco-elastic memory cells from certain doom. I cleared my head and joined my buddy Ashley for a quick trip to the grocery store. He told me that he was planning on going over to his friend Tania’s house for dinner and invited me to join. What could I say but, “Clearly we should bring some port along with us.” So we did. From then on, the evening took on the shape of a classic high school weekend - hanging out at a friend’s house, eating food that someone else made, playing guitar, watching TV and not having a care in the world. No responsibility, thoughts of work, how late it was getting, or worry about what you had to do the next day. In fact, there were no thoughts of anything of consequence at all. Just good old fashioned hanging out. Ashley took me home around midnight and then headed back to Tania’s to do what a man does.
I walked into the hostel, opened the door to my completely private room and thought to myself, “Awww yeah.” A scalding 30 minute shower took away any remaining tension my body might have been secretly harboring and then I crawled into the bottom right bed (after gathering up all the pillows) and slept like it was my job. I slept until 11:06am – just like in high school.