I don’t really know how to put Loulé into deep thoughts, so I’m going to give an overall recap of our interesting three days there.
So we took a train from Lisbon to southern Portugal near the Algarve coast. We asked our Airbnb host if they could pick us up from the train station and they said that would be ok, but our phones didn’t work once we got there and we only had one photo of them so we knew it was going to be difficult to find them.
We pulled into the Loulé train station, which was in the middle of nowhere (google it) and I went to the bathroom while Meghan went inside to see if there was WiFi (side note, I used the women’s room by accident, but I was already committed when I realized so I used it anyway). When I came out there was a family who looked similar to what we were looking for and they said one word to me “Meghan?”. Since she was the person who booked it, I emphatically said yes.
This simple nod of the head caused quite an laugh for us throughout the rest of our stay. Since they didn’t speak English, they thought my name was Meghan and hers was Casey and we couldn’t explain they had our names backward. I guess that’s what I get for having a unisex name.
The Car Ride –
Once I found Meghan we walked out to the street and piled into a ’95 Honda Accord. Not that I’m looking for luxury, I was just a little nervous getting into some random old car while everyone smokes and we had no idea where we were going. As I mentioned before, the husband and wife spoke French and very very broken English, but there was a third person, a girl who spoke decent English and so I assumed they brought along to translate. Since there was an awkward silence, I blurted out in the car to her, “So how do you know these people?”, pointing to the husband/wife. To which the fifteen-year-old (she looked much older) let me know they were her parents. Great I thought, family trip!
As we started driving through the back streets of Southern Portugal they spoke to each other in French and everyone laughed. Feeling awkward again, I just started laughing when they laughed which really confused everyone in the car. Does Casey know French?
We drove about 30 minutes on gravel roads until we arrived at their home. This was straight out of a horror movie. No cell reception and no one to hear our screams.
Our first night –
Okay, so I’m being dramatic. The place was actually nice with a pool and the family turned out to be great but we were absolutely in the boonies of Southern Portugal. Our first night we had no food and were hungry so they told us there was a restaurant called, “Piri Piri” down the street. It didn’t look far on the map, so we decided to walk there. It ended up being a mile walk in the dark, plus every house we walked by had dogs barking at us and jumping at their chain link fences.
The meal was one of the best we’d had at that point, but then the reality set in that we still needed to walk home.
Did I mention it was all downhill on the way there, so naturally, it was all uphill on the way back. At least the main streets were lit were street lamps. Once we got to the side streets they were actually pitch dark. I’m talking, use-my-cell-phone-flashlight, dark. I don’t know which one of us really felt more scared, but I was definitely acting the most scared. Creeping around every corner, holding Meghan’s arm, whimpering in the darkness. We heard something following us and turned around. Luckily it was just a small dog. Which, in hindsight probably could’ve bitten off my face.
We finally got back to our room, looked at each other and I thought, what the fuck have we done?
Do you want a ride? –
We woke up our third day in Loulé to an amazing continental breakfast poolside, which was included in our $40/night rental- Airbnb truly is amazing. While we were eating they asked what our plan was for the day and we explained that since we didn’t have a car we were thinking about just laying low at the house, enjoying the pool…. Aka: doing nothing.
When they immediately offered a ride to the train station it could have been because they were nice, but I think it was more so because they wanted us to get the hell out of their house. They actually pulled out a map and had the bus schedule prepared for what we needed to do in order to leave for the day. We didn’t really know what to say in that moment so I said, “that looks nice” and pointed to a beach. The next thing I knew, we were being herded into the bedroom to put on our swim trunks so we could be at the bus station for the next ride out of town.
Part two coming tomorrow…