Longenecker, Cuddeback, and Hollister tour Lisbon. Courtesy | Josi Cuddeback
Lon­ge­necker, Cud­deback, and Hol­lister tour Lisbon.
Courtesy | Josi Cuddeback

For less money than it would cost most of them to travel within the United States, sopho­mores Josi Cud­deback, Catherine Spalding, Addy Long­necker, and Luke Hol­lister threw together a three-day trip to Por­tugal over fall break. 

“We didn’t plan the trip at all,” Hol­lister said. “We were not pre­pared for this. All of us had midterms on the pre­vious Tuesday and Wednesday.”

Despite the trip’s humble origins, the trip across the world was somehow more con­ve­nient than a trip back home, Spalding said. Their round trip tickets cost only $325.

“We lived lav­ishly,” Spalding said. “But the thing is, after every­thing was said and done, the trip was still well under $1000. It was cheaper than going home, which is crazy.”

Their trip began with an early morning that turned into a long day. After taking a red-eye flight and trav­eling for 32 hours straight, they finally landed in Portugal.

“We stumbled up into the light of Por­tugal after being up for hours,” Cud­deback said. “Luke was attached to the map and was asking all these dif­ferent people for direc­tions. He totally stepped into his dad shoes.”

It was 6 a.m., and the group had nowhere to leave their luggage until their Airbnb opened at 3 p.m. To pass the time, they went to a cafe called Janice, where they ate acai bowls, avocado toast, and earl grey mousse waffles.

“We got a seat outside in the morning sunrise,” Cud­deback said. “We all got a dif­ferent dish and then rotated to the left so everyone got some of everything.”

After brunch, the four of them went to explore the city, but faced some obstacles. 

“The tram station there was made to confuse and scare tourists,” Hol­lister said. “It got our money and was happier for it.”

The group then found them­selves on the shores of Cascais beach, where they stayed until sunset.

“The houses there were all the most aggressive, vivid, pastel colors,” Cud­deback said. “It fit the style of archi­tecture beautifully.”

Before eating, the group stumbled upon one more attraction. 

“We saw these road signs that said ‘the mouth of hell,’ so we just decided to… hop the fence,” Cud­deback said. “We’re running through these rocky for­ma­tions and we get to the edge and it’s just a cliff. There were rocks that were about eight feet tall all around us.”

The next day, they traveled to the Palace of Pena, where they met a new friend. 

“Raphael. I was in love with him,” Spalding said.

Raphael, a local tuk tuk driver, offered to take the group up to the palace for the same amount of euros as the bus would be. 

“He brought us to a pool of ‘magical’ water,” Hol­lister said. “He said it healed his knee.”

At the top of the mountain, they toured the palace and adjoining fortress. 

“There was a Muslim fortress, and the palace itself was really bright and col­orful,” Cud­deback said. “It was beautiful.”

On their third day, the group split up; Spalding and Cud­deback went to the Sanc­tuary of Our Lady of Fatima.

“When we got there, they were holding Mass in the main square,” Cud­deback said. “It was won­derful, but we both got sun scorched on our faces from standing out there for an hour and a half.”

After Mass, the two trav­elled the path to the site where the Virgin Mary appeared to three Por­tuguese children in 1917. 

“The con­dition of going there is that you have to walk this marble path on your knees,” Cud­deback said.

While other pil­grims brought pro­tective gear, Spalding and Cud­deback trav­elled on their bare knees. 

“It is intense, it is like half a mile long down hill,” Spalding said. “Josi and I did not bring knee pads.”

As Spalding and Cud­deback were making their way toward the Sanc­tuary, Hol­lister was exploring a local monastery, as well as a museum housing the largest col­lection of coaches in the world. 

“I walked into this church, and the roof was being held up by these massive pillars, but they were all very intri­cately carved,” Hol­lister said. “It was the most awe-inspiring thing I saw on the trip.”

Spalding said she learned a lot from her time in Portugal. 

“Going to Por­tugal taught me many things,” Spalding said, “espe­cially the impor­tance of thorough research into other cul­tures and being able to appre­ciate those cul­tures for what they are.” 

Cud­deback said she would rec­ommend going abroad to any stu­dents who are con­sid­ering doing so. 

“The expe­rience made me so grateful for good, trust­worthy friends, because being abroad makes you vul­nerable in ways you’ve never been before,” Cud­deback said. “It’s also so mem­o­rable because it was such a spon­ta­neous adventure; it felt like the epitome of living fully, taking risks and being gutsy while you’re young. Very ful­filling for sure.”