Day 1: Faro

Well today was a long day, at least for me. As I write this it is 1:30 pm PST, but over here in Portugal its 9:30 GMT and my day literally started on the 18th. After about 24 hours of traveling, and some exploration in the evening after my arrival, I’m spent. Its time for a good night’s sleep. Well as for today’s events the flight was not too eventful. Somehow I broke my bad habit of not being able to sleep on the plane as I was able to catch maybe 4hrs of napping on the first and longest leg from LAX to Dublin. I think having an mp3 player helped. I spent a bit of time also trying to learn some of the necessary Portuguese phrases for traveling abroad, which include things like good day, please, thank you, I would like ___, How much is it, etc. When the flight landed, I then had to rush through Irish customs, exit the airport all together and re-check in. Lucky for me my new backpack is smaller, lighter and easier to carry than the one I used in Japan and I was able to get by with carrying it on, which really saves a lot of hassle when going through connecting flights. It turns out my rush was for nothing though since my flight from Dublin to London where I was to catch my next flight to Faro was delayed by about an hour. They made up some time in the air luckily shaving 15 minutes off giving me roughly an hour to get through customs again and to my next connecting flight. As it turns out they don’t require customs between Ireland and Britain, which makes sense when you think about it, but I was still worried none-the-less. I arrived with a good 15-20 minutes to spare before boarding. Once again I was able to sleep, this time for almost the entire 3 hours. After getting another stamp from Portuguese customs, I tried to get a map so I could walk to my hotel only to find that the tourist office was closed, and really it was too far to walk anyway, so I was forced to catch a Taxi, which as it turns out aren’t all too expensive as taxis go, my ride cost 5 euro. After checking in I had a nice relaxing shower which felt oh so nice after 24 hours of sitting in waiting seats, carrying luggage, and sitting with my knees about to my chest in an airplane.

I then took a nice stroll around Faro as the sun was setting, soaking up the feel of this once fishing village turned tourist hub. Faro is an eclectic town thats half stuck in the old world with small cobblestone streets, paint falling off buildings a sign of the once poor European country, and the well appointed, nice cafes that have sprouted up thanks to the benefits of joining the EU and the infusion of British money brought by the throngs of tourists escaping the Seattle-like climate of the UK for something more like San Diego. I enjoyed a nice dinner at a cafe looking out over the marina, which was surprisingly cheap at 3.50 euros.

Tomorrow I head for Lagos. I true tourist trap, but it looks too beautiful to pass up.

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