Next year, Portugal
In Costa Rica, I tried surfing for the first time. It was one of those things where you are sure you will not make it out of there alive, but at the same time, you are having too much fun to stop. A few months later, end of August, I went to Portugal. One week at Baleal Surf Camp and a few days in Lisbon. The perfect way to end the summer.
Baleal Surf Camp
After a few days of just hanging out, it was finally time for the first lesson. Good waves, high, but not that "holy shit, the ocean is trying to kill me"-wall coming at you like in Costa Rica. So I was feeling pretty confident.
Cut to my very first attempt. I got some help from the surf coaches with pushing the board, got up, actually went with the wave, still standing. All the way to shore.
But the last part, about being at the shore, was something I missed in all the excitement. When I jumped into the water, there wasn't really any water. It was just sand, and I fell with my full weight on my left leg and twisted it. It hurt like hell. But hey, I pole dance, so pain is nothing new. I waited a few minutes and got back into the water, trying to ignore the pain.
When I finally gave up, it didn't take long before realizing that it was worse than I expected. Long story short, I wasn't able to surf at all for the rest of the week and it took a month before my physiotherapist would let me back in the gym. It was most likely a second-degree injury to the lateral collateral ligament and it's not completely healed yet, but, at least, I can work out now. A few days ago I even managed to run!
(Photo courtesy of Edward.)
I may not have mastered the art of surfing (this time), but I did learn a lot of other things. Like how to swear in Italian, that chocolate with a cookie filling on bread is like "having two hot guys and not having to choose", that a GoPro is perfect for picking up girls, that Gothenburg Metal is a thing and that some people think all Swedes talk about while hanging out in bars is IKEA. Basically, the people at the surf camp made it all worth it. A bunch of fantastic individuals from all over the world, that kept me laughing for the whole week, even when I could barely walk. I hope I'll see all of you again next year. Or maybe at a surf camp in another part of the world (hey, I'm back in planning mode now! Sri Lanka? Brazil? Any suggestions?).
Lisbon and Sintra
After the surf camp, I limped back to Lisbon, where I stayed at the best hostel I've ever stayed at. Usually, you have to choose between a relaxed atmosphere or fresh and clean. Not at Home Lisbon. It felt personal, nice staff, comfortable beds, everything was clean and well maintained. And the best part - the dinners where you get to eat great food and meet other travelers. Can't recommend it enough.
Besides walking around and hanging out at beaches (trying to get as much sun as possible to prepare for Swedish winter) I also spent a day at Sintra. First, we went to Palacio da Pena, which looked like something out of a Disney movie.
My personal favorite place was Quinta da Regaleira. Even though the palace was beautiful, the thing that got to me was the caves. I love caves. Don't ask me why, because my worst fear is to be buried alive and just the thought of going underground should give me a panic attack. But no, it's just too much fun walking around in tunnels, pretending it's 1900.
Even though this trip didn't turn out as planned, it was still ten amazing days. Next year I'll be back, hopefully with more time on the surfboard and less at the hospital.