I cannot begin to describe the connection I made with Ireland over the last four months. Slowly having to say “goodbye” to my new friends and that phenomenal country was one of the hardest things I have done in my life. They don’t tell you about having to say goodbye when you learn about studying abroad. You hear about the crazy adventures and excellent countries that you get to experience without thinking about how it will be leaving months later.

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My flight to Portugal was one of the longest three hours as I willingly watched the Green Isle slowly fade in the distance. I won’t lie, Sunday through Tuesday in Portugal was really tough to change my state of mind from being sad for leaving to being grateful it happened. To all of my friends I have made, thank you for making my time incredible and I’m so glad I got to share Ireland with you for a bit. My time studying abroad was easily the best time I have had in my entire life.

After being alone with my memories of Ireland like a sweet dream I had just awoken from, I was able to finally put on a smile on Tuesday and start adventuring in the hot Portuguese sun. I went from Faro to Lisbon where I made an Aussie friend, Yolly, in a hostel and we adventured to the beach together after I had unsuccessfully made it to the beach the previous days. Luckily I got burnt enough to have been on the beach for more though!

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I decided to change hostels halfway through my stay in Lisboa before even my arrival, just so I could get a different feel for the city and I am so glad I did. I met some class travelers from all over and had such a stellar last 5 days exploring. I went to Fatima on Wednesday and saw some impressive chapels and buildings to turn around the next day and see Sintra which was a vacation area for the Portuguese royalty back in the day.

Sintra is, in my book, as a must see if you are in Portugal. Absolutely stunning architecture with an unbelievable amount of green. There’s caves, wells, ponds, fountains, and crazy detailed statues all over the area.

The next day, after making friends with another traveller heading to Sevilla, we checked out of our hostel and tried to get some transportation tickets. Unfortunately there was absolutely no feasible way to get to Sevilla. We were left with renting a car or hitch hiking. So we looked into renting a car (since I feel like a pro at this point at renting cars in Europe) and we were informed it’d be about €500 for a 24hr rental. YEAH RIGHT! So from previous knowledge of friends going to Lagos, Alex and I decided to go check out a new city while we figured out how to get to Sevilla. We had a grand time playing cribbage on the train and exchanging stories.

We got to Lagos when the sun was already down, so walking through the city we could tell it was going to be beautiful but it was only left to our imagination until the next morning. So after checking out the pub scene and drinking some deliciously cheap beers, we explored Lagos as much as we could until we had to catch our bus to Sevilla.

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Sidenote: Portuguese beer is absolutely fantastic. I didn’t try one that I didn’t like and want more of.

We arrived into Sevilla after having a few bus issues and immediately met some more great people that explored the city with us today. We went to the Mushroom, Cathedral, and Palace and I had a great time seeing all of the crazy intracite works of Sevilla.

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Having only been to one Spanish city and knowing that I’m going to return to Spain at the end of this backpacking trip, I will for sure come back to Spain and spend all least 2-3 weeks experiencing more of Spain. I hope to brush up on my Spanish by that next trip. But Sevilla was truly breathtaking. The last few days I kept saying to myself that these cities are crazy old and have an enormous amount of history that I don’t know anything about. All of these cities that I’ve been to and heading to are so much older than the States and I love it. There is so much rich culture that I love being emerged in.

So where am I headed to next? Next stop is in Belgium for a day, getting the pleasure to celebrate a friend’s birthday while checking out Brussels. Then the next day I will take a train to France where I will finally meet Ricky to start our part of this traveling chapter that we planned 7 months ago. From France we will go to Berlin, Prague, Budapest,Vienna,  and Budapest. Then Itatly with Venice, Florance, and Rome then end in Spain with Barcelona and Madrid.

I’ll try to get another post or two in before I head back to the States while on trains to let everyone know I’m still alive and loving life. But if you want to see some of my day to day adventures, check out my Snapchat at swankyswankster.

Cheers

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