I went to Portugal last week.
Wafiq’s older sister, Dalal, had her wedding there and I was lucky enough to attend. She’s already married to the groom, Rashad, with 2 cute kiddos (Yasmin and Sophia) but never had an actual wedding ceremony so this was her chance to do that… I think we can all agree that after 5 years of marriage and 2 kids, a wedding ceremony is well deserved for the strong standing, happy couple 🙂
I have to admit, I can’t say I knew where Portugal was prior to going. American education perhaps? Or just me focusing on keeping my eyes open through geography class? Who knows.
When I looked on a map I noticed Portugal was bordering Spain which made me all warm and fuzzy inside because I have a thing for the Spanish culture. I also noticed the opportunity to explore beaches, which of course I live for, the only problem was the weather being a bit too cool for me to consider wearing a swimsuit… Most days it was around 60 degrees. But none the less, looking at beautiful beaches is enough to mesmerize me.
I was also probably too eager to get out of Dubai for a little bit, fore it has been a bit stressful. Surviving day to day isn’t as much of a vacation as it sounds. A break from all of it was a feeling I yearned for. No matter the destination, I needed a new one.
So Portugal it was. And it didn’t take long after landing for me to get all the feelings I was hoping for. The people, the beaches, the small cities, the Spanish influence, it was all exactly what I wanted. I also didn’t realize how much I missed my salami and wine at the grocery store until I walked into a supermarket… It’s the little things. Mmmmmmm
Now, I’m going to take a stab at describing my thoughts of an entire country while explaining what I was doing there and the people I was with in one blog post. This should be interesting.
The trip was a pretty easy one because Dalal was organized enough to have an itinerary set for the attendees. Every day there was a planned activity we could do if we chose to, which is such a relieving option to be given when traveling I’ve come to find. She took all the stress of planning and organizing out of our hands. Below is the formal lunch photos, the day before the wedding…
Usually for me, traveling in large groups can get annoying. Everyone tries to plan everything as one large group but no one can agree on any one thing to do… Which means everyone ends up doing nothing, or there’s a lot of unhappy people doing the same thing. I’ll say, this trip had a large group but we seemed to avoid that issue. The itinerary probably helped take some of that discussion out of the way and left room for only stress free fun. For example, any restaurant, beach, or bar we went to was a good time because we had such a large, and a bit crazy of a group. It didn’t matter where we went, because we all had each other. This was a great benefit to traveling in a large group that I underestimated.
Praia de Marinha is the absolutely gorgeous beach and cliff area we took to exploring and I must say, it was something I’ve only ever seen on TV! Earth in its most beautiful form. There was definitely opportunities to explore much more, I think if the weather was a bit warmer and we had more time we would’ve done that. There’s caves, secret beaches, cliffs, hiking trails. All kinds of adventures to keep you busy. Not to mention simply the amount of time you can spend losing yourself gazing out at the ocean… while drinking wine.. and eating salami.
I have to stop here and say how crazy I think my life is, I almost have to laugh at myself. I do laugh at myself. And then I also scare myself.
I don’t consider myself a traveler at all. I also never thought I would be one. I never thought I would see these types of beaches I only saw on TV. And then one day I’m there, looking out at these huge cliffs over the ocean. It really does blow my mind, who do I think I am? And what happened to me? And how did I get here? I didn’t even know Portugal was a country and now I’m here, just staring at its beauty. All the stress of growing up and figuring things out is suddenly okay for a minute when I notice that I’m forcing myself into a life I couldn’t have even imagined. The good, the bad, and the ugly is all part of the package but it has to be worth it. Seeing and learning all that I have. I don’t know if it’s been as easy or as “free spirited” as other people that find joy in random traveling, but I’m still out there, still trying. Even if it’s not the same way or as easy as others, it has to be better than feeling stuck. Stuck in my day to day boredom. These last 6 months have really blown my mind. I have to take time to sit back and think about it… just not too much.
Now, for a complete 180 degree turn. Before I show photos of the wedding, I wanted to show at least one photo of the bachelorette party night. I’ll also say, those of the British decent call the ‘Bachlorette Party’ a ‘Hen Party’. Not sure why, but if you ever want to sound cool try throwing that knowledge out there.
One of the girls brought face masks with the grooms face on it and handed them out to all the girls. I have to say this was a GREAT idea. We had so many laughs thanks to these face masks throughout the night and I’m sure scared away half the people we saw.. Note to anyone planning a bachelorette party: include grooms face masks!
Anyways, on to the big event of the trip. The wedding. From the flowers, to the bride, to the dance floor inside a cave, the wedding was absolutely stunning. Overlooking the ocean for the ceremony, on a beautiful cliff for the dinner, through a cave for the reception… I couldn’t have imagined something better.
Overall, the entire trip, the entire country was a beaut. The wedding most definitely being the topper on the cake. I thank my lucky stars I had the opportunity to see more of the earth and people on it… Namaste (Not even 100% sure what that means but it sounded fitting).
I hope I did an okay job squeezing everything into this extremely long, somewhat less creatively written post. I try to think of questions someone would ask me and answer them the best I can..
I have a ridiculous amount of photo’s from the trip, I couldn’t even get close to fitting them all in this post… I’m thinking I’ll make another post with just photo’s. Or make an album on Facebook that I can share. I’ll figure it out one way or another
P.S. I also made a pit stop in Amsterdam on the way back to Dubai… I’ll write another post about that beautiful city soon, it deserves its own 🙂