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hello! i’m juli!

welcome to design to explore! I document my adventures in travel, design, and food.

L A G O S

L A G O S

June 3, 2018 - Lagging to Lagos

Today marked the beginning of steph and I’s last leg of the trip together as we headed to the Algarve Coast to Lagos! Our day started extra early that usual as we had a train to catch, but we made it to the station and on the train, but apparently, there were train strikes happening. So our train just sat on the train for almost an hour before actually leaving the station. It was complicated figuring out this was going on because no one in our car spoke very good english, so they were trying to translate the issue for us.

Once we were on the train, it was pretty much smooth sailing from there. We made it to Lagos and to our hostel successfully before heading out for some lunch at Harley’s Cafe, which we later learned was the American diner in town. I got a really great chicken sandwich while Steph got some fruits and yogurt before Juules picked us up for a little afternoon trip to Sagres.

Sagres is this area with really beautiful cliffs that borders the Atlantic Ocean, and Henry the Navigator used to call it the end of the world, and you will be able to see why from these photos. It was really cool being out on these cliffs, also a little risky, as again, no railings or safety enforcements around.

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Afterwards, we went to a beach area with some cafes and bars to meet up with Juules cousin for a drink. It was super nice out, but the wind was biting so we only stayed for one drink before heading back to get ready for some dinner. Then ensued our daily task to find a good restaurant, with decent portions, at a small price. Its a very tricky thing to do, and we walked around the main city center before stumbling on a Chinese restaurant menu. It advertised a scenic view, so we walking into the tacky temple door up the stairs and were seated with an awesome view (considering it was a Chinese restauarant).

At that point, we pumped ourselves up about getting Chinese food and were reall5y excited for our meal. I got some classic chicken fried rice with dumplings, while steph got a tofu dish. We were extremely satisfied with our meals, along with the change in cuisine. So we walked around the town a little longer before heading back to the hostel for the night.

June 4, 2018 - willing a beach day to happen

Today was our first full day in Lagos and we were excited to hit the beach. But, the weather wasn't exactly cooperating, so we started by going on a walk at Ponta de Piedade. There were these cool cliffs and rock formations similar to the rocks at Sagres, we walked along the top before following a path down to the bottom where we found a really beautiful secluded beach.

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We walked back up, and it was quite the steep trek, before we headed to the other side of the cliffs. This area was more touristy as the rock formations form bridges and boat tours can take you through the rocks from the water. So we walked down there too to check it out and it was also extremely cool and beautiful.

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After that, even though the weather was not cooperating, we still wanted to push for a beach day so we headed to Praia de Camila to attempt to have a beach day. We set up our towels, and even despite the extreme cloud cover, I sunscreened up. I think we lasted a solid two hours before the wind and the clouds made it too cold and we decided to head out.

We went to grab lunch around Praia de Luiz (where we went yesterday for drinks with Juules cousin). We sat down at a nice place along the beach and once we were done eating, the sun peeped out from the clouds and we essentially sprinted to the beach to lay out as quick as possible. The sun blessed us for a solid 20 minutes before strong clouds came back, but we were thankful for the rays we could get.

That night, Juules invited us to her grandma’s place she was staying at to eat dinner with her and her cousin Dominique. So after our sad attempt at the beach, we went there to hang out for the night.

June 5, 2018 - when the weather gods answer your prayers

Today, the weather gods answered our prayers. After sleeping in later than usual, we evaluated the weather and even though it was cloudy at the moment, there were some pockets of sunshine and decided to try and do a beach day yet again (especially cause theres not much else to do if it isn't a beach day).

So we got all ready to go, and on the way to the beach, we found a lil grocery store where we bought a few fruits and snacks for breakfast. And as we were turning away, I spotted people eating some baguette sandwiches and then a lil baguette stand that was completely a hole in the wall. Then we saw the sign saying these large baguettes were only 3euros, and we were sold. We bought some sammies and headed to the beach.

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It was only a 15 minute walk or so and when we finally did get to it, it literally looked out of a magazine or something cause the scenery was so unreal. Giant cliffs and bright blue oceans, it was incredible! But was wasn't incredible were, again, the no railings no safety stairs to get down to the beach.

Once we made the trek down and found a spot, it was pretty much smooth sailing. Except for some dudes blasting their EDM music unnecessarily loud, we made it through the day. At one point, we traversed some rocks to a different beach just to check it out and take some pictures, but the rocks were pretty treacherous without shoes, again NO SAFETY IMPLEMENTATION AROUND, its just an American law suit away from happening.

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We were chilling at the beach for around 5 hours before we headed back, as I was feeling myself getting a lil crispy from the sun it was probably perfect. Back at the hostel, we finally got around to doing some laundry and chilling before going to grab some dinner. Luckily, we quickly found a restaurant called Saibos and it was a cute cafe right off the main drag where we got a delicious meal along with some delicious desserts.

We spent the rest of the night walking around town, the sunset left a beautiful coloring in the sky, and then we found some orange trees. Steph tried to climb them to get an orange, but almost whipped herself hard into the trunk on the way down, only to find out the oranges were really gross and definitely not worth eating.

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Then, we were doing our last rounds around the town before heading back when we stopped into a convenience store as we have been on the HUNT for candy we had in one of our uber rides. At this point, its probably the 10 or 11 places we went into to look and low and behold we walk deep into the store to the counter AND WE STRIKE GOLD. we found the candies we literally hit the motherlode. Both steph and I used all the change we had in our wallets to buy as much candy as we could and I most definitely will be going back to stock up before we leave.

So then we decided to end the night on a high note, and an even HIGHER NOTE when the one and only Steven West got a full time job offer back in the USA!!! So proud!!!

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June 6, 2018 - asking for the weather gods again

Today we woke up and were sad to see the clouds were here and in full force. Steph was contemplating going to a yoga class, and i decided to pack up my suitcase and get organized since we were leaving tomorrow anyway. But steph came back and said the sun was out, so knowing the unpredictable weather, we quickly got our beach stuff on and power walked to the closest beach.

We got to the Praia de Estudantes and it was still pretty cloudy and the sun went away, but we weren't going to give up. We snuck on the beach chairs that you had to pay for and tried really hard not to get cold in the clouds and the wind. But by the glory of the weather gods, the sun CAME OUT TO SHINE. We were asked to leave the beach chairs cause we didn't wanna pay, so we laid our towels out and got a solid 2 hours of beach sun and it was amazing. Even when the sun receded, we stayed and enjoyed laying on the beach before heading back.

That night we met up with Juules for one last dinner in Lagos and we went to a place called Havaneria, I got a really delicious quinoa Mexican bowl while Juules and Steph both got Thai Chicken Curry, apparently the place is tackling a lot of different ethnic foods at once, but honestly, they killed it.

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Steph and I finally wanted to have a night out and considering tonight was our last chance (as steph flies out at 7am the day after next). We got ready and Juules cousin Dominique who is a local showed us the ropes. She took us from bar to bar and got us probs the cheapest drinks I've ever drank since southeast asia! At 2am, I decided to head back and get some sleep since we had a 7:45am train, but Steph stayed out a little longer #badass.

June 7, 2018 - a blah day as we transfer back to Lisbon

Today we woke up early, and it was pretty painful trying to catch our train. It was an ORDEAL as we got on the train at the wrong car and then needed to walk through all the cars to find ours, which resulted in my getting extremely motion sick. But luckily, I passed out really hard on the train and woke up once we were in Lisbon.

We had to come back to Lisbon as tomorrow Steph heads out to go back to the states :( sad I'm losing my travel buddy, but my trip still isn't over! Tomorrow I am headed to Brussels, Belgium for the weekend before I meet up with the most notorious parenting duo in the world - TOM AND HELEN POLISE!!!!!!!! So, if you stick around because you are in for a COMICAL few blog posts to come as we tackle Amsterdam and Paris together.

Welcome to (rebranded) Design to Explore!

Welcome to (rebranded) Design to Explore!

L I S B O N

L I S B O N