We just spent three days in Portugal’s version of Santa Barbara—the coastline reminded me of home and the hostel reminded me of Isla Vista. Lagos is a party town that draws people from all over Australia, and I can tell you categorically that Australians are very friendly and can party hard. These eighteen-year-olds drink and dance from 2pm to 6am and still get up smiling and on time for the free breakfast. However, they do consistently lose their phones and keys.
The other crowd in Lagos are vagabonds who consider themselves buskers. Instead of playing music for tips though, they beg at your restaurant table and insistently offer to recite their own poetry in exchange for a sushi roll.
I felt old and out of place until I met some German grad students on their semester break and spent the evenings getting to know them.
We did a self-guided group kayaking excursion to the Benigal caves, but consistent misinformation, ill-timing, and navigational errors got us only to the departure beach before we had to forfeit the mission. Thankfully it was a lovely, seaweed-freee beach with fine sand, and it was fun to swim, sunbathe, and linger at a cafe. It was a good reminder to enjoy the journey over the destination. Friendships grow faster in misadventures.
Since the caves were only accessible by sea, I picked an easier destination for our next day: Ponte de Piedade. This hiking trail was just outside of town with a colorful cliff walk to yet another perfect beach.