In April I headed on a yoga retreat in Portugal. A much-needed time away and I had been looking forward to this retreat for a good 8 months. I will say some things were not smooth in the travels there but in the end, the trip was amazing!
Taking this quote from Jen who co-lead the retreat:
“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts; it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind” – Anthony Bourdain
Travel Days: Thursday April 21-Friday April 22
I headed to the airport around 10am. The airport I was flying out of was a 3 hour drive or so. Brian’s aunt kindly took me down. After arriving at the airport, I actually received a call for a job offer. I will likely make this a separate post because it needs it to explain how everything aligned.
I was so early to the airport that I could not even check in for my flight yet. Since it was just after lunch time, I got a Mexican bowl at the airport as I passed the time. Shortly after that, people were lining up to check in for the Portugal airlines. I got in line to check my bag. Being that I was headed out of the country, I had to get a COVID test to fly. Although then they asked, “vaccine or COVID negative?” When I presented my vaccine card, they didn’t care about my COVID test, but still better to be prepared.
Next, I headed through security. While I had 3 hours to kill at this point, it somehow went by quickly. I read for a bit. I did Wordle for the day. Brian and I usually do it together but I tried to remember to do it each day myself (I only missed 1 day). I then had a Caesar salad. I spent like $30 at the airport for 2 meals, but I wanted to make sure I had some real food because it was going to be a long time of traveling.
Soon enough, it was time to board. Although masks were not enforced in the airport, they were on the international flights. Given that the flight left around 6pm eastern time, I had planned to get some sleep as I would land at 6am Lisbon time.
The flight ended up being 6 hours instead of 7 hours and I probably slept 2-3 hours. They served dinner and a snack so I felt like my sleep time was interrupted by those. I was glad I ate beforehand because I wasn’t starving and the food was ehh, but I ate the sandwich before we landed.
We landed at 5am local time instead of 6am. Knowing that my ride wasn’t going to arrive until 9:30 Lisbon time, I had a lot of time to kill. I took my time in security. I was very dehydrated as I tried not to drink a lot because I didn’t want to get up to pee a lot, so I immediately bought 2 bottles of water since I could not find a water fountain anywhere.
By the time I got to baggage claim, the bags from my flight were gone. I had to go to lost and found. Then I was told I needed a ticket, which I had to find around the corner. There were no clear signs to explain this. Once I got a ticket and was explained there was a computer screen to show the numbers called (although it wasn’t working which me and another couple waiting had to point out), but finally they called me in. The guy typed in my bag info and tells me, my bag is still in Newark, NJ. So apparently my bag was going to take a separate plane to Lisbon and the next one was scheduled to get in at 10:40am. Since I was staying 3.5 hours from Lisbon, they had to fly my bag to Faro (another airport) that was an hour drive from the Lodge and schedule the delivery. After all of that, I just figured, guess I won’t have my bag until tomorrow (Saturday).
It was 6:30am at this point so it would still be a while. I still had 3 hours to kill after dealing with that. I snacked on some cereal I brought with me and wandered around the airport. I tried to read but I was tired. Honestly that was a longer 3 hours. Luckily I did have free airport wifi because I did not have an international phone plan.
By 10am, my ride showed up. I met Jen and Terry in the airport as well as some of the other ladies on the retreat. With the long drive, I tried to take a short nap on the ride. We made one stop for gas and to use the bathroom and I was awake from that stop till the lodge. It was about an hour from there.
Once we arrived, I was tired and felt gross in my clothes. I just wanted to shower. My room was ready and I had a bathroom and shower in my room. Jen kindly lent me clothes and shower stuff. I felt so much better after changing and taking a hot shower, even if I was wearing XL sweatpants.
Shortly after, we headed to the market down the street for some snacks for the week. I honestly didn’t know what to buy but I lived on the granola, rice cakes, peanut butter and trail mix for snacks for the week. They worked well.
After that, the second car arrived with everyone else and I was so excited to see Christina, the yoga leader that I knew and the reason for my joining this retreat. I told her about my job opportunity that I had to make a decision about and she could tell I wanted the job.
The first night we had pizza for dinner from a local place which was delicious. Sometime around dinner, I got an email that my bag had made it to Faro. I had Maggie (the third yoga teacher leader) call the Faro airport and schedule the delivery. They said the driver had left for the day but would deliver tomorrow. At least I knew my bag had made it closer.
Then we had a group meeting and burned sage for cleansing the space. As we discussed the upcoming week, I felt emotional but also had the weighting decision of a new job. I was also tired from very little sleep so there were some tears in the first night from the combination of everything but also feeling so welcomed to the space.
Saturday April 23
The first full day. I attempted to sleep in but was not super successful. I skipped the meditation at 7am, but joined the 7:30am yoga, sporting Maggie’s clothing.
After yoga was breakfast time. It was rainy in the morning as we had delicious pancakes for breakfast which I didn’t get a picture of.
After breakfast, we had a bit of time to chill before heading out for a hike around 11:30. Right before we left for the hike, my bag finally arrived! They had said Saturday morning and Jen assured me Portugal time morning meant anywhere from 8am to noon. She was totally right.
I was already dressed in Lisa’s pants for the hike and just put my bag in my room and headed out. I was glad I had worn my rain coat on the flight as it was needed for the chilly weather. During the hike, I was chatting with Suzanne most of the time. I didn’t take too many photos as I was busy chatting, but we did stop for some nice views of the cliffs and Arrifana rock. We got rained on a bit off and on, but then the sun would peak out. It actually wasn’t too bad.
In the afternoon, I had a massage. It lasted for about an hour and a half and was much needed after all the travel. When I finished, the rest of the group was at the yoga studio doing a practice. I decided to skip and relax after my massage.
Then we had dinner which was chicken and veggies. I was honestly craving meat and veggies by this night after the snacks, pizza and pancakes. All were delicious but I needed some more balance.
After dinner Saturday night I ended up calling Brian on Facetime audio. The wifi wasn’t great so our conversation was in and out, but I needed to make a decision on the job. Brian was really unsure and I was in tears on the call. Brian suggested I email my dad for his opinion as well. It took me a while to get to sleep this night thinking about the job offer.
Sunday April 24
I was up around 6:15am. That seemed to be the time I would get up, regardless of my alarm. I liked having a bit of time in my room to chill before meditation and yoga. I am used to having breakfast almost first thing, so I often had a handful or so of cheerios or granola that I had in my room. Then I would do Wordle in the morning and send to Brian even though he would be sleeping.
At 7am, I joined the meditation followed by yoga. We practiced indoors as it was windy and chilly that morning.
Next we had breakfast. We were presented with overnight oats for breakfast with edible flowers and nuts on top. Overnight oats is not something I typically eat. I’m not a fan of the cold oats or consistency. I took the tiniest taste and Ann stared at me saying take a bigger bite. I then did and they were really good. There was a smoother texture than I expected and I was surprised that they kept me quite full. I think the nuts and fruit added a nice flavor to them. I do wish I knew how they were made because then I might try them, but I’ll stick to my hot oatmeal for now. [Breakfast made by @LaraBrunch on Instagram]
Since the first two days were rainy, Sunday was a chill day at the lodge. It was probably one of my favorite days as we got to hang around the property. I walked to the beach with Karen and then hung out for a bit.
Then I walked back with Suzanne. I had cupping done in the afternoon.
In the afternoon, Brian and I discussed the job offer. My dad had also emailed back and Brian presented the idea of a studio apartment and I was on board. I accepted the job offer and with that decision made, I could enjoy the rest of the week and celebrate with everyone.
In the afternoon, we had yoga by the pool. Then we had pumpkin soup and vegetables for dinner (made by Terry). Again, pumpkin soup is not something I would typically eat, but I tried it and it was so good, I actually had seconds.
On these first few days, we just snacked through lunch a bit, but I was surprised how much the meals kept me full and I tried my best to drink tons of water. After my cupping, my marks were so dark, it showed I was dehydrated and so I tried to drink 2 of my 1.5 L water bottle to rehydrate.
After dinner we did a dessert tasting, the carob fig cake piece was my favorite of these 3 but I can’t remember the Portuguese name of each of them.
Monday is where the adventure really begins…
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