After lunch, we headed back to the hostel to shower away the sand and salt water, then headed back into Cascais for a wander around the shops. I noticed an ache in my left ankle but chose to ignore it as Jess and I chatted away, walking along the street in the still warm early evening air.
A little while later, Jess and I chose to go our separate ways, her choosing to scour the shops whilst I planned on taking a walk by the beach. But the ache in my ankle was beginning to increase making it more difficult to ignore and so I stopped off at a cafe to rest along the way. Despite the wholesome lunch and chocolate brownie, I was still feeling a little peckish and so ordered the acai bowl and took a corner seat by the window. By now the ache was turning into a full blown throb and before I could even take a bite, a wave of nausea so strong came over me and I made a dash to the toilets. I barely made it 2ft before everything went blurry and I slumped to the ground.
Thankfully the owner rushed over and helped me to the bathroom, sending his sister over to check on me shortly after. I couldn’t believe their kind hospitality at what must have seemed such a strange occurrence after just moments ago appearing completely fine. I called Jon in tears and he rushed to the cafe to collect me. By now, the pain in my ankle was so bad that I couldn’t even place it on the ground but all I could focus on was the thought ‘please don’t throw up‘. Jon scooped me up, carried me to the car and straight on to the hospital. I barely said a word for the next hour as I fought back the tears and buried my head in my lap, wishing for nothing more than just to lie down and go to sleep.
Another hour later, X-ray and consultation with the doctor complete, I was free to go with reassurance that it was just a sprain and orders to rest up. By now, Jon had headed back to the hostel to look after Rita and the baby, so I grabbed a taxi back home, hesitating as the car pulled in as to how I was going to make it the 10ft or so to the door. I didn’t need to ponder too long though, as the elderly taxi driver saw my struggle and sure enough, scooped me up and carried me all the way to the threshold. And they say chivalry is dead!
The delicious smell of home-cooked lasagne wafted through the house and not long after, dinner was served. Despite feeling saddened that I wouldn’t be able to surf again the next day, I couldn’t help but feel extremely lucky and grateful to have encountered such kind hospitality from everyone I’d met that day.
I slept like a baby again that evening and funnily enough, when I woke up the pain in my ankle had completely disappeared. I was scared to even put my foot on the ground to test it out but as I took a few tentative steps it seemed that I was pain-free. Just how strong are the painkillers in Portugal?!
Despite my ‘miraculous’ recovery, I thought it best not to tempt fate and so whilst Jess donned her wetsuit and headed into the waves, I relaxed on the sun bed with my book, shivering slightly in my bikini each time the sun dipped behind the clouds.
We’d planned to head into Lisbon that afternoon and as my ankle seemed to be doing fine, I figured we might as well continue with our plans and make the most of our last full day by exploring the beautiful capital city.
We caught the train straight from the beach (which cost about 2euros or so – transport is super cheap!) and headed straight to the Time Out Mercado de Ribeira on a recommendation we’d received the day earlier. Originally a famous fish market, Time Out transformed the mercado into a foodie haven back in 2010, inviting Lisbon’s best names in food and drink to set up their own stalls and we opted to sample it all (or as much as our 20euro budget would allow – which was plenty).
Jess went straight for the famous Santini icecream whilst I chose the sushi and caipirinha from Confraria. We tried a healthier spin on the classic Pasteis de Nata and a not-so-healthy Bachalhaus. I had my second ever oyster (which tasted just as bad as the first one) and then sweetened up the tastebuds with my own favourite ice cream flavours (coconut and chocolate in case you’re wondering) back at Santini.
Tummies and tastebuds satisfied, we took a Tuk Tuk tour around the city with an Italian driver who fully lived up to the Casanova stereotype (or so he liked to think) and tried to serenade us with his own rendition of ‘You are so beautiful…to me‘. Trying not to giggle too much, we left him in the main square and then continued on foot back to the station, taking in the replica Golden Gate Bridge, the sunshine on the river and the musicians playing in the streets whilst we enjoyed the last of the warm sunshine.
You’d think that by the time we got back to the hostel we’d choose to skip dinner, but we couldn’t resist one more night of Jon’s cooking and so joined him, Rita and little Jon (the baby) for a delicious seafood pasta before heading to bed and straight into a deep slumber.
Jess left early the next morning and I was left to soak up the last few hours of tranquility before it was back to reality. I chose to take a walk through Cascais, heading through the cobbled streets to the fort at the edge of town, before returning to gather my backpack, hug everyone goodbye and start my journey to the airport. Half way in, I couldn’t resist a second trip to the mercado, this time a slightly less indulgent experience as I opted for a slice of caprese pizza and a glass of prosecco from Pizza a Pezzi (delicious!).
Lisbon has left a lasting effect on me like so many places before. Although my head is still in London for now, it’s clear that my heart and soul belong by the beach.
“The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination and brings eternal joy to the soul” – Robert Wyland.
Oh, and in case it isn’t absolutely clear from my post, I would highly recommend the Perfect Spot Lisbon Hostel if you are planning on visiting the city, or the beaches!