PORTUGAL! Probably my favorite place I have been so far. Once my cousin picks me up at the airport on Wednesday, I already feel like I’m home. It’s weird to finally be in the place where my father grew up. I’ve heard stories and seen pictures from my family, but there is nothing like actually being there to experience it all. This is the trip that I had been looking forward to since I left the states and when I stepped off the plane, I can’t even describe to you how I felt. This was just something I have always dreamed of doing and to actually be doing it was unreal. Although we only had a few days together, my cousin made sure that I saw as much as I could: We went back to his house and had a home cooked meal. Ahh, how I have missed those. You can only live on pasta for so long… We drove up this mountain in Sintra, climbed through the woods and Kevin showed me this place that him and his friends would go just to hang out and play music. After walking through the woods in the pitch-dark, we climbed up this huge rock and saw the most beautiful view I have ever seen. The lights from the entire city of Sintra lit up the sky but since we were so high up and in the middle of the woods, everything was completely silent. I have never felt more at peace. Walked down the beach of Cascais. Saw the Boca de Inferno, or “Hell’s Mouth.” Went to Cabo da Roca, which is the most Western point of Europe. Waved to America, which is technically straight across from that point. Saw a car with “Saudade” written on the back of it. Apparently this word is the only term Portuguese people use to say “I miss you.” Saw Quinta da Regaleira, which is the residence of Carvalho Monteiro where all these intellectual people held meetings and performed secret rituals. This place was creepy but the history behind it was so interesting. You should google it, it’s pretty cool. Hmm, then we went to this bakery called Piriquita and had the most delicious pastries on the planet. By the way, Lisbon has some delicious food. Oh man. Climbed to this castle called Castella di Peninha. Ate fried sushi at this place overlooking the ocean. I thought I hated sushi, but this stuff was good. Casually got to watch the national Frisbee team play on the beach right below us. Bar Rialto at night. Amazing experience. Went to an aquarium! Saw a million beautiful statues that were scattered around Lisbon. Went to a dinner at Pateo de Alfana, where traditional folk dances of Portugal and Fado was performed while you ate. Amazing. I bought a CD. Walked the streets of Lisbon and heard some amazing street artists perform. And then I had to leave at 5am. It was really hard for me to leave. By the end of the trip, I felt like it was my home away from home. Damn, I need to go back.