This weekend, my roommate and I visited Lagos, Portugal. Our host sister had worked in Lagos and gave us a long list of places to go during our time there. We arrived Friday afternoon, eating at a sushi buffet before checking into our hotel. We immediately noticed a difference in atmosphere. There was much more English spoken, and we weren’t glared at when people heard us speaking in English. There were many people dressed more casually, so it’s easy to fit in whether you’re dressed up or down. We spent the evening strolling through the many streets with all different types of stores, restaurants, and bars. We ended the night by buying a pizza and sitting on the beach until late at night, getting to see the sparkling lights from across the water.
The next day, we had a three hour kayaking trip around the shore and the many caves. Our halfway point was stopping at a beach, which unfortunately included having to see quite a few naked people. And when I say naked, I mean very much fully naked - both men and women. At the end of the kayaking trip, we spent some time at the beach before starting a long walk to a lookout point for sunset. The beaches were peaceful and much emptier than the beaches at Cadiz, but there were little flies everywhere.
Before leaving on Sunday, we spent some time in an open square area where I was reading from my book out loud since my roommate was interested in hearing what happened next in the story. Next thing I know, a homeless man walked up to us and asked me if I was reading in English, saying he needed to practice. I was almost certain he was about to sit down and join the story time, but he was very respectful and just said a goodbye in Portuguese and went on his way. After an hour or so, we moved locations to a different seating area closer to the water. Nearby there were people playing soccer, and as they accidentally kicked the ball near the seating area, the man retrieving the ball looked amazed and said something in Portuguese. After flashing a big smile like a little kid discovering something new, he ran off back with his friends to continue playing. The second time that the ball ended up near us, he again smiled and looked thrilled as he said what my roommate and I later translated to be “pretty.” It was refreshing to have such positive public interactions that was such a sharp contrast to what we’ve dealt with so far in Sevilla. We both agreed that Portugal was a place we would be interested in visiting again if we are able to.