Surprisingly, I slept through the night without waking once. No matter how wiped out I am, sleep has been an issue throughout my life. I was proud of my 7am wakeup. Had I finally battled jet lag?! This is what my delirious mind was pondering as I arose the next morning, ready to take on Portugal. My yoga retreat was not beginning for another four days, but most of the women were coming in early to celebrate several of their birthdays in Lisbon. So we only had two days to explore Nazaré and for me to fly before the real work began.
I got a mini yoga practice in before Nina woke up, we had a quick breakfast, walked into the village through the forest by the beach (this still is hard for me to wrap my brain around) to explore and then made our plans with Erica to go flying. There's a dunes location about a half-hour south of Nazaré, right by Obidos Castle. As a pilot, I've never flown dunes before. This was going to be a first for me. Still jet lagged and high on the overall experience, I pulled out my wing when we got to the site and decided to run up the dune at takeoff never having done this before.
The first attempt nearly sent my poor friend into cardiac arrest as I tumbled down the side of the dune. Attempt two rendered the same results, me laughing at my clumsiness and lack of coordination and my friends turning shades of white. Erica made an executive decision and brought me closer to the beach. She schooled me on what I was doing wrong and how to correct it. Attempt 3 = SUCCESS! Yes, it may have been a bunny hop off of sand, but it was still a flight in Portugal. I was thrilled. After an hour of playing on the dunes, I gave into my exhaustion by calling it a day. There were still several weeks ahead of me to learn, grow as a pilot and FLY. Patience and pacing have never been my strong suits. Perhaps I'm learning something in Portugal. Besides, I was starving and I'm sure Nina was bored by this time.
Growing up in NYC, spending most of my adult life in Los Angeles and even with a short stint in Sedona, I've always lived in cities where tourism is rampant (yes, even in the middle of nowhere Sedona). Just the idea of being a tourist makes me cringe (I know. So judgmental...I'm working on it, people!) Since we needed food and I had never been to a walled city before, I moved past my limiting bias and became a tourist, pulling out my iPhone to take pictures and stopping mid-gait to stare at the beauty surrounding me.
Erica had recommended trying "Ginja" when we got to the castle (sounds like "ginger" with a New York accent) because it is special to the region. Upon entering the city, we immediately came upon a Ginja stand. It's basically a Mon Chéri chocolate with alcohol, sans the cherry, but for some reason it is so good. They serve it in little dark or white chocolate cups and from what one vendor was telling his patrons, you're supposed to put the entire thing in your mouth and eat it. This is not alway easy, depending on how large or thick the chocolate cup is. We didn't know this on our first attempt at Ginja, so we toasted like it was a wine glass, sipped on the alcohol and then nibbled on the chocolate. Major fail! No worries, we did it again. (and again and again and again over the course of the month :). There is not shortage of Ginja stands at the Obidos Castle (or in Nazaré and Lisbon).
After eating tourist Italian in Portugal, my jet lag had kicked in full force, so we headed back to Nazaré. Most of the yoga retreat ladies would be arriving to Lisbon the following evening and we were going to join them the day after. I had one more day to get grounded and prepared for my retreat, which at this point I had done nothing for outside of meeting the owner of the house they'd been staying. The next day I slept in, shopped for some snacks for the ladies and went over my program. Oh yes, and I had a dinner party for six people, all pilots outside of Nina. One Portuguese, two French, one German, one Canadian and one American. I forgot how much I loved Europe. So much for rest!
I guess my Two Part post is going to go into double digits. More on Lisbon next!