Reliving my schoolies days in Lagos, Portugal.

Lagos…what can I say about Lagos?

The five days I spent in Lagos were truly like taking a step back in time and re-living a schoolies holiday – just replacing the tacky high rises of Surfer’s Paradise with gorgeous white washed Portuguese buildings and stunning turquoise beaches surrounded by cliffs.

Some of the buildings that surround one of Lagos’ main squares

Over the five days I think there was all but one night where I made it out – and on that occasion it was only because I’d peaked to early on the booze cruise we went on earlier in the day.

Yes – a booze cruise…I mean, when in Rome!

Needless to say my liver took a beating and I was a bit of former shell of myself for the first few days after we left – but that’s not to say that all we did was drink. There’s a lot more to Lagos than that if you can manage to drag your hungover self away from your bed and the kebab shop…

On our first day we took a cliff walk that wound its way along the edge of the rock face from the main town beach all the way up to the Praia do Porto de Mós (this is apparently only one beach down from the place where Madeleine McCann disappeared back in 2007).

Taking in the view on a break during the cliff walk

The track wasn’t overly clear and we found ourselves having to backtrack a few times after encountering crevices that where a little too large even for my inner thrill seeker to leap over. We were able to peer down from the cliff tops into dozens of golden sandy beaches fringed with deep emerald coloured water – some of which looked incredibly secluded.

It wasn’t just the beaches that were secluded though, during the solid hour and half of cliff-side rambling we only encountered one other person on our walk. That person was an extremely friendly middle aged Scottish man who started telling us tales of how he’d been coming to Lagos for the past 25 years whilst given us tips on the best beaches to visit. He was hilarious, however his accent was so strong I genuinely struggled to understand anything he was saying towards the end of the conversation!

Will eagerly awaits our peri-peri chicken at Antonios…little did he know!

The reward after the hike was a lunch time feast at ‘Antonio’s’ on Porto de Mos. We tucked into a delicious traditional Portuguese pork dish and peri peri chicken. Which reminds me – I feel as though I must tell everyone, the supposed ‘Portuguese’ peri peri chicken we are treated to in Australia at places like Oportos and Ogalos is a fraud! Nothing like that can really be found (in my experience at least) in Portugal! The peri peri chicken we ate was more along the lines of a very lemon-y roast chicken. Apparently the spicy sauce we know as peri peri is actually more of an Angolan dish, which was once a colony of Portugal – but still isn’t an excuse to call the sauce ‘Portuguese’!

It’s an outrage, I know…

A typical evening spent at JJ’s Yard…

The drinking began as we began to get to know everyone at our hostel – JJs Yard, a little better. The place was super small which I actually loved as it meant you got to know everyone staying there really easily.

Drinking fishbowls with Bruce and Emma. Deadly!

There were Bruce and Em, a lovely Australian couple from Brisbane who were travelling around Europe for a few months before heading back to the UK to work.

The One Direction boys, minus Nick, who was too hungover for the booze cruise.

Then there were Nick, Jai, Dave and Jayden – otherwise affectionately known as the ‘One Direction’ boys, you just have to imagine if One Direction had all let their hair grow long, wore nothing but singlets, liked to engage in occasional ‘dog-nappings’ and acquired Australian accents…

Lorena and Jay, out with us on our final night.

Of course I couldn’t forget our enigmatic hosts, Jay & Lorena – the owners of JJs hostel. Jay has grown up in Lagos and Lorena originally hails from Colombia. Together they have managed to create a place where it really just feels as though you’re staying at your friend’s place for a week. Almost every night we’d all get together in the little living area for a few sneaky beverages and they’d always join in for a few hours of hilarious banter.

A dog-napping caught on camera!

One afternoon, Jay gathered a big group of us together to go for a cliff jump off some of the cliffs not too far away from the town. As we walked to and then along the beach we managed to pick up a few keen stragglers so by the time we got to where we needed to start swimming there was a group of around 15 of us. We clambered through some holes in the rocks to arrive at another beach before leaping into the water to swim out to the very tall little island that we were going to be jumping off.

Now, I blame a year of living in Mexico for resulting in my becoming accustomed to extremely warm seawater and thus being an absolutely WIMP when it comes to swimming in the cold ocean – but this type of cold was a completely different level to anything I’ve ever experience before. As soon as we all jumped into the water it was actually physically painful and the solid 10 minute swim we had out to the island was made all the more difficult for it!

I don’t have any actual photos of where we jumped from, but imagine it looking something like this…

Thankfully, right towards to end it started to get much better (either that or I just started to become numb) and I was able to make it to the island and then scramble up the steep rock face up to the top to face our 10m jump. Jay went first and was able to do a picture perfect swan dive the entire 10m down, surfacing in the icy cool water below to yell directions to all of us as to where we should be aiming to jump.

I waited until almost everyone had jumped before I took the plunge, not because I was scared (although I was, it was pretty high!) but rather because I’d noticed that everyone who jumped first had to bob around in the icy water down below waiting for the rest of us to finish! Suffice to say once I finally worked up the courage to take a tiny run up and leap off, the shock of water upon landing almost took my breath completely away!

On a boat ride through the grottos and coves…

Now, returning back to the alcoholic theme of the post, the aforementioned booze cruise took place in the middle of our stay and was run by a nearby party hostel. The 45 Euro price was fairly steep but we realised that beforehand and decided we wanted to do it for the experience anyway. For the 45 Euros we received unlimited sangria, beer, tasty sandwiches and a mini boat tour of some of the coves and grottos once the boat was stationary. Seeing as though sangria usually only cost 2 Euros for 1.5L over here it seems doubtful I truly drank my money’s worth, but oh my did it seem as though I had by the time the day was through. There were even some beer bongs in the equation – schoolies all over again, see?

It’s chin-up show down!

Throughout the course of the cruise there were waterfall races, people dancing around in animal suits and a hilarious chin up competition that began when one of the hugest men I have ever seen (apparently he played Rugby for the USA) starting flexing his biceps and throwing in a few cheaky chin ups between drinks.

Too many sangrias in…

The days and nights all began to merge into one another but sadly our final night arrived, and we organised to have everyone head out together for one final last hurrah.

There were fishbowls…

…and the creation of our own dancefloors…

…or dance-stools, which was how Bruce preferred it….

…as well as many other general shenanigans!

All in all, our hilarious final night out was the perfect way to say goodbye to Lagos, our own little schoolies away from home in the south of Portugal.

JJs Yard, Lagos – http://www.hostelbookers.com/hostels/portugal/lagos/69046/

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