Having glanced at part 1 to refresh my memory, I have realised that, so far, I have not really done all that much to portray Lisbon and Cascais in a positive light. In one section of the previous article, for instance, I flirted with offering something of value when discussing Lisbon, before descending into another review of a Hard Rock Cafe (my first one can be found here if, for whatever reason, you’re interested). I therefore should make of an effort to sell these locations to you in this one. Unfortunately, I’m clearly somebody who does not have enlightening experiences when abroad, so stop reading now if that’s what you desire.
Suffering from an excessive amount of alcohol consumption from the first part of our trip, my sisters and I opted for a day at the beach. Usually this sort of activity fills me with dread as being Scottish is not conducive to memorable beach holidays. However, an obstacle course, which we were far too old for, had been inflated just off the shore, instantly making this an activity which definitely could not be missed. An afternoon of fun at the expense of others ensued, something which involved throwing kids half our size out of the way in order to complete the course. Dark arts aside, we still managed to bathe in the majesty of the miles upon miles of well maintained beaches Cascais has to offer, even discovering some of its many hidden areas too (with the Praia de Rainha being the pick of the lot).
After another evening sampling the devil’s nectar, I awoke with another dreadful hangover as well as a sense of guilt for having spent the previous day behaving terribly. The only saving grace of this hangover was the chance to experience some of the TV Portugal had to offer whilst I waited for the room to stop spinning. What followed was pretty disturbing day, with my vulnerable state causing me to be subjected to some of the most bizarre television I have seen in my life. One show in particular still haunts me, a brightly coloured game show hosted by an ugly, vertically challenged man and an impossibly attractive super-model (which the show seemed to imply were a couple). I also watched a barrage of cheap soap operas too, with the actors often engaging in unadulterated scenery chewing, even if mundane expressions were only required for a scene. By the end of this ordeal I felt as if I’d been put through the ringer, a feeling Ellen Burstyn probably had after performing in scenes such as the following whilst starring in Requiem for a Dream.
The following day we were invited for a meal at the intimidatingly opulent home of my Portuguese relatives, who kindly let us have dinner at theirs. Whilst I attempted to behave like a normal person in this position, the fact that they had a swimming pool in their back garden soon had me behaving like an idiot, attempting to relive my youth as a swimmer by challenging others to a race. My Grandfather, however, stole the show, putting on an exciting exhibition of diving and swimming skills, the likes of which I, along with the others, are never going to witness again.
My father also tried to convince me that the home of our relatives was the site of the Portuguese revolution. When I pressed him for some more information (Portugal’s turbulent history has seen them experience several) he was unable to provide more details, leading me to believe that he was definitely trying to troll everybody. If he wasn’t lying though, it’s likely to have been the Carnation Revolution of 1974, when the Estado Novo (an authoritarian regime) was ousted in order to eventually allow myself the freedom, 40 years later, to perform a perfectly executed double jack knife twist off the pool’s diving board.
And so came to an end to our visit to Portugal. This may not have felt like a serious review, but writing this has been a nice reminder of my time as an EU citizen and the benefits of free movement that came with it. With the uncertainty of Brexit looming, a whole generation of people are going to find such holidays a bit more difficult to go on, possibly even putting them off travelling abroad altogether. Whatever your view is on Brexit, freedom to explore the EU would definitely be missed by a majority of Brits.