It shocks me to think I only have 4 weeks left here (plus or minus a few days). This past week was really really strange...but pretty awesome.
Monday and Tuesday were more or less normal, school and what not. Monday I woke up for school as usual (this is my early day). So I got up like 6:20 to get to school at 8:15, only to find out the workers were on strike and we had no classes. So here I am, an hour from home with nothing to do...thankfully Maud was there and said I could hang at her house for a little bit, so we went back and watched TV and got on the internet, and she let me leave my books and gym clothes there so I wouldn't have to drag them around the city. I met Johannes for lunch, which was cool because we got a lot more time than usual, so we just walked around, ate, went to a net cafe. I got home around 4 and Ines and I became catatonic in front of the television. WOO!
Thursday was a holiday, a catholic religious holiday actually - "Corpus Christi", so there was no school. Johannes and I met up at about 9:45 (and he was on time! gasp!) to take a train to Guimaraes, the "birthplace" of portugal. We wandered through the narrow (WET) cobblestoned streets, had lunch at a really nice restaurant - the beef was excellent, up to the palace where they had refurnished the rooms to make it how it would have been around the 16th or 17th century. He wanted to buy a sword but the giftshop didn't sell any, only plates =P. Then we went to the original castle, which was more of a fort/military stronghold, but this one dated from the 11th or 12th century. It was raining and really depressing, and we ended up going back to porto around 5ish, where right as we got off the train the Corpus Christi procession was going down the streets of Baixa. It was fascinating, everything was eerily silent except for the chanting of the priest and the singing of maybe 500 people following them, but I'm not good with numbers, it could have been a lot more. We had some icecream at McDonalds afterwards and walked down to the Ribeira, up the steps, around, across the bridge...just random.
Friday I had an appointment for my Visa, so I only went to my Philosophy class, then I had to hop on the bus/metro down to Estadio do Dragao. I waited for an hour and 45 minutes (even though I had an appointment!) to sit down for 5 minutes and have the lady tell me I didn't have all my papers, and could I please reschedule for the 11th of June? BAHUMBUG!!! Well...it was Johannes' birthday too, so we met at Dolce Vita for dinner at Burger King, where we just talked for like, 2 hours. Then we took the metro across the river to look at Porto at night. I had to go home, and ended up being late...stupid metro system.
Saturday was the start of the Geres trip! We were supposed to meet at 8:15 at Campanha and "please don't be late!". So I took the 7 o clock express metro and got to the area around 7:45, and Johannes was already ready! He was early! We both were! It was a miracle. All of the AFSers actually got there before Nuno and Renata. The train didn't even leave until 8:50, Renata said she was counting on all of us being late. We arrived in Braga and had to walk all the way to the bus station, with our bags, in the rain...comfortable, right? Well it wasn't too bad. We met an AFSer from China - Shipping - there. So now it was Me, Johannes (faroe islands), Elif (Turkey), Julia (USA), Maud (Canada - Quebec), Shipping (China), Renata and Nuno (Portugal). Quite a mix of cultures. We arrived at the Camp/Pousada place and put down our bags. We were able to get into the rooms and rested for a while and ate some lunch. After a bit we started out on a hike. This was probably around 2:30. We walked through the village, down a hill, then across the mountain with no path. There was a dam with a resevoir so we walked across the dam to the other side where there was a waterfall and the end of the path, then we went all the way back. We were completely wet and dirty and exhausted when we got back. I changed pants and shoes, and we hung out in the lounge and watched some TV. I fell asleep in a big chair practically on top of Johannes...my bad...but it was so warm and cozy! haha...in the meantime Renata, Nuno, and Shipping had gone to buy cake and snacks for Johannes' surprise birthday party.
We had a dinner of Bacalhau com Natas, soooo good. Maybe my favorite Portuguese food, consisting of Bacalhau (salted cod) in a cream sauce with potatoes and pasta. Yummy...After dinner we went back to the lounge to watch this sort of European American Idol thing with a different representative from each country. We went back to the Cabin, took showers (soooo nice after that hike), and convined in the girl's room. The guys were in their PJs, which consisted of tiny shorts...bahhahahahaha. Everyone was supposed to go out of the room one by one until it was only me and him and then I was supposed to ask "hey where'd everyone go?" and so we'd go in the other room. But Johannes kept talking and talking and talking...and i kept trying to ask but he was like "eh, I dunno, doesn't matter where they went, so anyway...". Finally I had to like drag him out of the room. He was really surprised though, and we have it all on video! wooo!!!
Sunday we got to sleep in, had breakfast, and started making a movie. "Scenes from an AFS weekend" or something like that. It was pretty funny I guess...we had lunch, and afterwards walked back through the village filming our movie. We met some Americans from Texas (just south of Austin!) who were hiking through the mountains. We finished the movie then hiked all the way to the top of Geres in about 30 minutes. Go us...then we had to practically run back down to catch the bus and get our things. Everyone fell asleep on the bus and the train ride back was really fun. Getting out in porto was a bit depressing since everything was over...and there is nothing else really big planned besides the end camp until the end of the year. Elif Johannes and I had dinner at McDonalds, then I caught the metro back and talked to my parents on the phone. My host mom had already fallen asleep and my host dad was out, so I had to walk all the way home with my bags. Which sucked...
So that was my super crazy week. Nuno is coming to dinner Thursday, but other than that I have nothing planned really. We'll see where things go...