Anyway, here's where Alex and I ended up after the giant penis rock:
We went to the beach -- Praia Grande, to be specific -- where we got a hotel room directly on the beach and commenced hours of staring at the ocean. Alex accused me of just looking at the hot surfers (there were dozens) and I was like, "Huh? What are you talking about?" and stuffed my camera back in my bag. Don't show him the pictures I took because they pretty much all look like this:
I got caught up in a fisherman's line because I was distracted taking pictures of -- err -- the waves and didn't see the line cast from the pole planted in the sand. I felt something wrapped around my legs but couldn't see anything. I was spinning 'round and 'round trying to understand the problem when I noticed a fisherman waving his arms at me and pointing at the fishing pole.
I said something stupid like, "Heh heh, you caught me, heh heh!" and tried to disentangle myself. I never had a strong opinion about it before, but it is now my firm belief fishing lines should be brightly colored and perhaps emit some sort of sound.
Other than that, we spent a gorgeous day on the beach.
oh goodness, how did he get in here?
That evening, we had a sunset drink on the bar patio before heading in to dinner. Our server brought us some delicious Portuguese cheese and bread to accompany our wine. She spoke only Portuguese but seemed to understand Alex's Spanish when he said she was very thoughtful to bring us cheese and bread. She nodded and looked pleased.
We were surprised when she then brought us a large melon cut into slices. It looked good, though, so we shrugged and ate it. We were just getting up to head in to dinner when she came out carrying a second melon and sat it down on our table. We stared at it, then at each other, then at her in confusion. "How delightful!" Alex finally said. "Look, honey, she's brought us another melon!" We sat back down and ate it because it seemed to be what was expected of us.
I said to Alex, "Hey, Al, what's the word for 'melon' in Spanish because whatever it is, you're saying it and saying it a lot." Alex insisted he hadn't mentioned melon but I felt suspicious when we went in for dinner and GAH! -- she was standing by our dinner table and there was a melon on it. She SMILED REALLY BIG and pointed at it. She seemed to think we were going to be very happy about the proliferation of melon that had come suddenly into our lives.
From the second we sat down at dinner, I had the giggles (and the only cure was MORE MELON). I spent the evening laughing hysterically at anything anyone said or did, sometimes with my napkin over my face. Alex stared at me incredulously and said, "The bottom line is, you're even less suited for a romantic evening than I am." It's true. There is not one ounce of romance in my body.
We ordered a couple glasses of port after the tasty, albeit melon-heavy, dinner. The bottle of port was brought to our table and Alex turned it just slightly to read the label. That was apparently the wrong thing to do because our port server came flying across the room ninja-like and said in English, "No shake bottle! No shake bottle!" Alex put his hands up in the air like he was under arrest. The server cradled the bottle lovingly and told us to never shake a bottle of Port -- it will disturb the cinnamon. I put my napkin back over my face and laughed my ass off.
(I think the server meant "sediment" but it really doesn't matter. I would have laughed my ass off either way.)
Alex protested he hadn't "shaken" the bottle but there was no calming the server down. I'm pretty sure the Portuguese take their port seriously but that's fine since it's theirs and all.
When the bill came, there were three melons on it. At that point I lost all self control. Alex had to drag me out of the restaurant, across the floor by one arm, as I clutched my stomach and howled with laughter. He claims he never wants to go out to dinner with me again but you know he can't stay away from the MJ. Literally -- our apartment is super tiny.
We went to Sintra the following morning on our way back to Lisbon. Sintra is a fairytale looking town with a castle perched way up high above it. We did the hike up to the castle. It was a fairly strenuous climb but not terrible and we were rewarded with incredible views and aloneness on the trail.
it's a crap picture but really, there's a castle up there
Al on the trail looking for melon
It was so windy up at the castle we were nearly blown off the wall many times. That made it super exciting.
As we left the castle, we overheard the castle guard having a little fun with an adorable elderly Italian woman. He asked for her ticket in English. She narrowed her eyes and said, "Teekit?" He nodded and said yes, she needed a ticket to enter the castle. If she didn't have hers, she needed to go back down to the bottom of the hill and buy one. It wasn't true. Al and I knew she could buy a ticket just ten steps further around the corner.
She obviously hadn't made the hike up from town but even the walk from the parking lot was several flights of stairs and she was winded. She stared at the guard for a minute, the fury mounting in her face, then pointed her finger at him and said, "I KEEL YOU!"
Al jumped in and told her the guard was messing with her and she could buy her ticket right around the corner. Then we all had a laugh, the guard loudest of all. I guess it gets boring standing at a castle door all day.
On our way back down the hill, we saw a Portuguese family filling many water bottles at a public fountain. We were thirsty so we cupped our hands and took a drink. At that second, a British man appeared at our side and pointed at a sign above the fountain. It said, "Agua nao controlada." It was uncontrolled water. We spent the rest of our time in Sintra wondering precisely when we were going to keel over and DIE.
what a lovely and inviting public fountain
That's the sign up there over Alex's head. We're not the most observant of people.
We didn't die so we stopped to have a lovely lunch
I feel like I'm giving my Academy Award acceptance speech and the music has started to play. Wrap it up, lady, wrap it up. I guess I've indulged my vacation obsession long enough and it's time to get back to real life. Here we go, double time!
We went back to Lisbon. It was really cool.
Look at this guy on a horse.
This is Alex looking seductive and me looking utterly unseduceable.
This is a urinal.
These are many red roofs.
This is a surfer from Praia Grande. Well hello there, beautiful...
We spent some time wandering around the maze-like Alfama district. It's a great place to wander and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The only problem was Alex started saying "That's a metaphor for life" after everything I said.
Me: (staring at map) I think we're where we want to be but I'm not completely sure.
Al: That's like a metaphor for life.
Me: I don't know if I want a coffee or a beer.
Al: That's a metaphor for life.
Me: Al, help me. I don't understand what this lady is saying. She seems angry and about to hit me. She's shoving a carton of eggs into my hands. I don't want eggs. Can you try your Spanish and see if that helps? Al? Hello?
Al: That's a metaphor for life.
Me: Take me back to my children. I'm sick of you.
Lisbon is an atmospheric town but by the end of our trip, we were spent. We also made the mistake of calling home and talking to Lucien with two days to go. We hadn't missed the kids for one second up to that point but hearing his little boy voice on the phone asking if we were ever coming home choked us up in an annoying way. So we went home and squeezed them both a lot.
How did they behave with their grandparents? They were angels. Lucien was perfectly behaved at home and at school and Coco slept a bazillion hours and smiled all the time. They did NOTHING WRONG.
Those little punks.
Portugal. You are mine. We are one. I will come back to you.
OK, I'm finished now,
P.S. My in-laws are the best.
P.P.S. Next time I'm going to write about France because this place is nuts.