Not only do I dislike cold weather, I adore warm weather.
As I prepped for this trip, I kept looking for sunny havens. In a nod to my earlier ‘anal retentive’ travel prep post, I had written out average February highs/lows for over almost 20 locations. However, as the travel days drew closer, I saw there was a cold spell in Europe and those averages were a wistful dream. I put on my big girl pantaloons and came to terms with a ‘non-cold vacation’ rather than a warm vacation. Plus, I did get that glorious sunshine day in Lisbon where I burnt my nose and cheeks sipping Vinho Verde at Praca do Comercio. (Not that anybody reading was feeling sorry for me and my non-cold vacation.)
Here in Lagos, on the southern edge of Portugal, I’m non-cold (at 50-degrees) but also non-dry. The rain reminds me of Miami. Enormous droplets that feel like they might actually be splashes from the ocean rather than drips from the sky. I was able to view a little bit of the old town before the rain set in. The winding, steep, cobblestoned streets took on an even more charming sheen in the rain.
Many of the tourists here in the off-season are retirees and the streets were littered with slightly hunched couples clasping on to one another after decades of walking together. I stopped in a shop and purchased a hat to serve as my rain deterrent. It only encouraged the water to organize and flow stronger, so I stood for a while under an awning with several other soaked tourists.
A church was nearby so I braved the rain to see if it was open. I paused at the entrance as a few young folks (who looked slightly homeless but were most likely privileged gap-year students staying at a nearby hostel) started saying something to me. It took a moment for me to place the language as English, hence recognizable. “Before you go in, please say hello to our friend.” They pointed at a small bag. I assumed they were panhandling for money and gave my standard, “Whaaaa? I don’t understand, I’m just walking.” gesture. They said again, “Please say hello to our friend Henry, the cockroach.” At that moment I realized they weren’t pointing to the bag but to the large red cockroach in front of the bag. (!!!) Typically my reaction would have been one of surprise or shock or disgust. But, for some unknown reason, I said in a voice typically reserved for toddlers, “Hola, Henry the cockroach.” and proceeded into the church. Apparently, Portuguese Josie doesn’t mind insects.
The church was lovely. Though, truthfully, I’ve yet to find a European church that wasn’t. When I exited (yes, Henry was still there) the rain had not let up. I considered getting a beer under an awning to wait it out, but then, I remembered the Airbnb owner had gifted me with a bottle of Portuguese wine. Why pay for wine when you have free wine at home? Especially when that home also has a heater, a laundry machine for my sopping wet clothes, and a computer for my blogging. “Taxi!”
Given the rain has yet to let up, I’m quite pleased with my decision on this non-cold, non-dry day.