Lisbon was funny. I was offered Hashish (essentially weed) by approximately 20 men in a 24 hour period. They would approach us waving sunglasses and selfie sticks. We would say no. Then they would grin and pull a bag of honey dipped hash out of their pockets. Apparently Americans have a reputation in Portugal.
Lisbon was also highlighted by a group trip to a club near the hotel, to which every single member of our ISA team went. Which is quite an accomplishment considering there are about 50 of us. There was no one else in the club. We were in bed by midnight.
Then we went to Sintra and Portugal became one of my favorite countries on earth. On a whim, we decided to forgo a day parading Lisbon and instead trek out of the city to a random town. The random town could have been from a fairytale. We accidentally ended up in the artsiest coffee shop in Europe, listening to The Perishers with our barefooted waitress and 2 Euro Mac n’ Cheese. Then we got lost and ended up in the midst of a street art competition (See: blue person on Portugal page). Finally, we hiked up a mountain to a castle in a cloud in the sky. We sat in practical silence for hours, floating on clouds, protected by the castle walls. No words nor pictures can capture it. Earnest Hemmingway came the closest: “You have not seen the world until you have seen Sintra”.
Simon and I also decided something from the mountain top. Well, two things. First, it is unfair that most people in Portugal will never see Sintra. So, naturally, we made a pact that when we are older and have money and have families, we will not travel to any such location without also paying the way for another less fortunate local family to join us. The only thing greater than seeing God’s glory from atop a castle is to see God’s glory spelled out upon the face of someone who could never have dreamed to see such a sight. The second thing Simon and I decided is that we are, in fact, if given the opportunity, bringing our own families to that castle one day.
Credit to Simon: