It all started with a wonderful Red Cross vehicle stopping at our doorstep. Like a small kid, I was lurking next to the window, and by the time my eye glimpsed at the red cross sign on the side of the car, I ran through the house to tell the others that our journey is about to start.
Sun was shining in the sky, predicting a bright day. Big smiles decorated our still sleepy faces and we were off for an adventure!
The car was full of amazing young adventure seekers. João – our driver and the coordinator of the trip, Cintia – history master and our always helping hand, also coordinator of the trip #2, Anna and Kim – our wonderful German couple doing EVS in the Red cross together with me, and me – Lithuanian girl, who is normally not in Braga on the weekend.
First stop was in an amazing village called Ponto de Lima. The village is called after the river Lima and the Roman style bridge going through the river. The village is really beautiful and has lots of stories to tell about the past of Portugal. It was really great that we had a history teacher with us – Cintia, who could tell us all the stories.
After quick walk around the village of course we needed to stop for our first cup of coffee. Well, when you live in Portugal, you have to get used to some strange rituals...
After refilling the batteries, we went for another quick walk in the tiny streets of Ponto de Lima. With a pit stop in, as I call it “woman heaven shop”, to buy a Portuguese style tablecloth, we finally reached the biggest attraction. Apparently, there is a festival with cows running around but not Pamplona style, but some kind of festival, and of course in the middle of the village there is a huge sculpture of a bull. Anna, our fabulous German girl for sure had to try it, so even with a skirt she managed to show us, that if you really want something – there is nothing that could stop you!
Next stop was a strange place for Portugal – Lagoa – as if I would call it “Lake Paradise”. Our stomachs were already singing the songs of hungriness so we took all the food from the car and went for the hunting of the picnic place. And we really found a hunting place... O.K., it was not a hunting place, it was more like a birds’ watching tower, but nobody can tell me what I can imagine, so in my head we went in the hunting tower.
The space inside was as big as a tree house, with a hole in the middle to get in and around going table-chair or however you can call or use that thing. So all of us climbed there and as we were 5, we didn't even have a corner for everyone. So as a friendly group, we managed to sit on the floor or on top around the table. Finally, everyone had place and we started our picnic. The part of “how will I manage to get out of my sitting position” was left for later.
All full of all the goodies we brought with us, we decided that is right about time to walk around and explore the lakes’ park. It was so amazing, walking on small bridges in a tunnel of water surrounded by trees. Probably this place looks even better in the summer when all the trees are making a natural leaves tunnel and blossoming with rainbow colors.
After a delightful walk in the natures’ fairytale we continued our trip. Next stop was Viana do Castelo. Our History Master No.2 João told as a myth about the name of the city, which was not that much approved of the real history master, but for us it was good enough.
Once there was a small city on the coast line of Portugal with a big harbor on the side. As all the small coast villages this one also had a castle. And in that castle lived a girl mane Ana (nice coincidence with our Anna). Every time a ship was passing the castle to get to the harbor they would see her in the window and would say to each other «Vi Ana do Castelo».
First stop in Viana do Castelo, was marvelous church on the top of the hill. As real tourists, we decided to climb till the top to see the best view provided. First step was elevator. Then we had some stairs going around the elevator. Next part, was a staircase for tiny people, as I was walking with my head down and almost touching walls with my shoulders. That staircase was for sure not for claustrophobic people, so good that none of us were. The last part, was in the round dome of the church roof, so the stairs were really steep, and of course turning around in small circles, so no wonder why a person like me, who has vertigo got a panic attack.
I was walking those stairs, just looked at the walls of the dome and they started spinning, so I tried to walk faster as my legs started shivering and my heart beat rose that I could hear the beat in my ears and I was still stuck in the middle of staircase. I made my best and managed not to faint, but the second I reached the top I hugged one of the columns till I got my breath back.
The view was stunning and it was worth the panic attack. We could see the ocean and the waves crashing on the shore. The mountains standing like guardians all around the region. Tiny city bellow us, with people and cars going their way not even noticing that someone s following their moves just for a slight moment. We felt like kings of the world, so of course we took some selfies and tried to manage reach the ground in one peace.
Luckily, no panic attacks followed our trip anymore and we safely reached the city center. Another short walk in the cozy little streets and we reached the main attraction of the town Bolas de Berlim. One of the pastry pieces I have ate, and there was even no left to buy for our friends who could not make the trip, so that made us feel extra lucky and happy.
Last but not the least was the beach. Wind was really strong, as it always is in the North of Portugal and especially in the beach, but we managed to find a nice shelter in the dunes. The sun was warming our cheeks, despite the fact, that it was late afternoon sun. It took me back to the days, when I would go to the sea side with my friends. A perfect moment of a perfect day!
Full of sand in not only in the shoes we took our things and went for a last part of the trip – going home. All tired and full of good emotions we reached Braga and decided to finish our wonderful trip with the leftover dinner!
Sometimes you realize that for life to be great you don’t need so many things: just a good company, a little bit of good weather and desire for adventures!