A month spent hiking down Portugal's Rota Vicentina,
 and traveling around the country.

"Oh boy oh boy, just landed in Canada and can't wait to board my flight to Lisbon..."

...except we sat on the tarmac for 2+ hours, and I missed my flight. So this is where I was for another solid hour trying to figure out what to do next, as my COVID test was actually going to expire before the next available flight. >_>

Gotta love sleeping in the airport!

I actually ended up needing to fly back to the US (I chose NYC because of proximity) to get re-tested, but a series of (very much not) hilarious snafus resulted in me staying in that Toronto airport for a good 14 hours longer than I'd planned.

Lines like this were all over the airport, as flights were being canceled and delayed constantly.

Aaaaand to top it all off, my bag (which contained everything I needed for a month) managed to not arrive in NYC with me.

This was all the luggage that had somehow gotten separated from their owners and ended up at NYC. Don't ask me how that happens. Things were pretty crazy at the time (Omicron, winter storms, etc).

Luckily, my very gracious friend (and her wonderful dog Bailey) allowed me to crash at her apartment while I dealt with the lost baggage issue and figured out what to do next.

Huzzah! My bag arrived the next day - the trip was still on!

Finally leaving New York, enroute to Lisbon!

After officially arriving in Lisbon, I started making my way to the bus terminal that was going to take me to my first leg of the hike. I was able to walk the whole way from the airport, and passed through this lovely nearby park.

One of the many little
changes from the U.S.

I love taking pictures of local artwork & graffiti, so there will be a lot from this trip.

Alright, one bus ride from Lisbon to Sines, and a quick taxi from Sines to Porto Covo, and we are officially on the trail!

(Side note: my original plan was to walk from Sines to Porto Covo as a short first day, but given that I arrived effectively two days late, I cut that initial leg)

The first of many trail markers I'd be keeping an eye out for.

Starting a 20km hike over mostly loose sand at 4p isn't ideal, but it's what I set out to do.

Somewhat surprisingly to me, there was very, very little actual beachwalking on this hike.

You'd see these occasionally, letting you know that this isn't a path you should take.

Sometimes all you had to go off of was a stick on the ground with a little paint on it.

Once the sun set, it got dark pretty quickly. I ended up hiking a good 2.5 more hours in the dark.

Finally arrived at my camping destination. I set up my tent quickly, and went off to find a quick meal somewhere that might still be open.

This was one of the best risottos I've ever had in my life.

If there's one thing I can say about Portugal, it's that they loooove their pastelarias. Especially in the larger cities, it's basically impossible to not run into them.

Honestly some really impressive and beautiful artwork for being on the side of an abandoned building along the edge of a field.

I ended up finding this little dude in a handful of other spots during my trip.

Most of the hostels I stayed at while hiking down the western coast were pretty empty, given I was going through tiny towns which are pretty sleepy during the winter.

The very tranquil view outside the room.

I came to really enjoy the pared-down breakfasts (compared to the U.S.) offered at hostels in Portugal.

I encountered quite a few of these activity stations when hiking around the country.

Honestly, at this point I was already craving trees, mostly because it would mean a brief respite from the ubiquitous sand along the coasts. Also, I just like trees.

<-- Steep stairs are steep.

The west coast of Portugal had some of the most violent waves I've seen on perfectly fair-weather days. The wind was pretty intense at times.

This stretch of road going into Zambujeira do Mar seemed to stretch on forever.

This small pastelaria really wasn't kidding around with their bathroom's cleanliness.

Some locals playing a little pick-up football.

This campground was quite colorful.

This was the view from the restaurant I stopped at. Definitely one of the perks of the Rota Vicentina as compared to something like the PCT.

Don't really know how this happened, but it's interesting to see how the base is secured.

So many orange trees on so many properties. They looked so good...

My cute little hostel for the night.

The last time I stumbled upon this little dude, and I was definitely keeping my eye out for him.

This was a fun find out on a random cliff.

Aljezur is quite an old town, and it has some pretty cool history to it!

Whoever decided that a symbol-only design was a good one should be fired and banned from ever designing anything again.

This is the castle I visited the next day. I had dinner this night with a very friendly Italian man. Hello Nikola!

I didn't eat here, but I really liked the sign.

I only show a few here, but I took so many pictures of interesting (to me) bathroom signs.

These were (really) old ruins that were a part of an archeological study site.

This sweet doggo was watching out for its owner who was out surfing.

Oh boy, I hope I get to see some cows...


I honestly have no idea what this is used for, but it was fun to climb!

This little cloud was holdin' it down all by itself.

Because of a double-booking mixup, I got this cute little room to myself for a night.

This cat was walking around greeting all the restaurant patrons, while avoiding a little girl chasing him.

You can see how hard the wind was blowing by the spray off the waves.

My lunch spot for the day. It was so damn windy that day though, I had to chase some stuff across the beach.

Europe is really in love with their bottled water. This was after I requested just a glass of water...

Another bit of a culture shock was how ubiquitous cigarettes are :/

This was my destination for the day - the most southwesterly point in Portugal, and I think Europe as well.

This was considered the literal end of the world for centuries.

My destination for the day, the city of Sagres.

This was one of the best hostels I stayed at - if you happen to be in Sagres, check out the Pura Vida Divehouse. Very cozy, great people!

I love these water divide lines.

The sleepy town of Salema.

On my way to Lagos, I passed through the city of Burgau - I stopped here for lunch, and it felt like a really friendly city :)

Quite the slide, here.

"You ever take it off any sweet jumps?"

Great hostel in Lagos, Orange3.

Empanadas & Co., great local spot in Lagos!

My first meal in Lisbon, bacalhau à lagareiro, as recommended by a local taxi driver.

This was a monument of sorts to all of the stone workers who build and maintain the cobblestone streets in Portuguese cities.

This was one of the older local tinned fish shops in Lisbon. I got a few to take back home - they were good!

This was some of the best Indian food I've ever had - India Gate is the restaurant. This meal in particular was paneer jalfrezi.

I spent a few hours at the National Tile Museum in Lisbon.

The beautiful Jerónimos Monastery in Belém.

Some sweets from the famous Pastéis de Belém (this was way too much for one sitting, by the way).

Ginjinha is a portuguese liqueur made with ginja berries - honestly not my favorite thing, but I'm glad I gave it a shot (literally)!

Sooo around this time, I actually ended up getting COVID, so I had to isolate for a week in some tiny studio I found on the other side of Lisbon. So I lost several days chillin' there, but near the end walked around some outdoor parks in the city.

These peacocks were big chillin' outside of the Lisbon Zoo.

I spent one of my last remaining days in Portugal walking around Sintra.

A 10th-century die made of bone.

I'm always amazed at people's ability to reconstruct artifacts like this.

A Portuguese Francesinha, served at the Time Out Market in Lisbon. Some really amazing food here!

I never did figure out what happened here, but something was burning for about 30 minutes across the river.

This was a night of traditional Fado music at Sr. Fado in Lisbon - I recommend you look into the history of Fado, it's pretty interesting.

These pics were all taken at the National Coach Musuem in Lisbon. Some really old, reall cool stuff here! Crazy how intricately detailed these were.

This was an old prisoner's wagon - those "windows" were actually just painted on. Brutal.

This was, hands down, the absolute best chocolate cake I've ever had in my life. Landeau Chocolate, located within LxFactory (a complex with a bunch of shops, restaurants, and art spaces).

And what better way to finish off my last evening in Portugal than by hanging out some peeps watching Shrek at the hostel. Good times.