Almost every major city you visit has special little neighborhood and sections of the city that are representative of an immigrant culture. New York, Sydney, and San Franciso for example are famous for some of their cultural neighborhoods. New York has Little Italy, full with generations of past Italian immigrants cooking up some of the best pizza and pasta America has ever tasted.
In Sydney there is a huge section of the city center that is dedicated to the Asian culture. Walking into Chinatown in the center of Sydney is actually like walking into another country, even if it only lasts a few blocks.
You never hear about Little America or England Town do you? I suppose that might have something to do with all the adapting of other cultures our fellow countrymen have dedicated their time to.
But I found Little Oz.
It’s located in Lagos, Portugal.
Lagos is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. The water is exceptionally clear and the color of emeralds. The rock formations along the shoreline are not only a beautiful shade of reddish-orange but have eroded away to form beautiful archways and jutting cliff faces.
We savored every last drop of sunshine in this beach town known to be a favorite young and rowdy English holiday-makers. I first heard about Lagos from friends who studied in Barcelona and visited on one of their numerous weekend getaways.
“You have to go there! You have to stay at the Rising Cock!” my friend Katie told me when I mentioned traveling in Portugal last summer. I know the kind of party hostel that the Rising Cock was rumored to be and I didn’t know that it would be the most fun place for me to spend a weekend with my boyfriend. But then again, we know how to party and can have a good time, so we thought it would most definitely be worth a visit. The photos are what convinced us in the end. The beauty of the coastline was too much to pass up.
After arriving at our hostel, which I’ll talk more about in a later post, we set off to find the beach. It wasn’t until we went back to the hostel to get ready for dinner that the realization of where we really were came rushing in on us. We met our Melbourne-born bunkmate and her travel buddy just before the traveling non-couple from Melbourne that were bunking up next to us, and participating in the same surf lesson the following day.
We headed out to dinner, found a nice Mexican place (I know, shame on me but I miss it!), and were greeted by a wave of Aussie accents as we sat down to enjoy our ice cold beers. The Portuguese waitress spoke perfect English and took the time to give us a little insight into what exactly to expect here in Lagos.
She thoughtfully indulged us in stories about the season and working in Lagos. There is no reason to come knocking in the winter when the tourists have moved on to the next warmer location. Lack of tourists means that there is no need for new bartenders in the famous small town party spots. She told us about the ridiculous quarters that she had shared last season with at least seven other travelers all packed into a one bedroom apartment that was falling apart at the seams. She agreed with the statement that an Australian accent was easier to come by than a native Portuguese speaker.
Vegemite in Lagos!
As I have gathered is the case with some of the most famous places in Southeast Asia, Lagos is not a place to go for the culture. It’s a place you go for the party. The party is good and the sun is hot, so really it’s okay to take a break from the culture every once in a while and just enjoy yourself for no other reason than cheap alcohol and good company.
We felt right at home among the wave of Aussie’s that we met on that trip, almost every new face had a story of their hometown down under.
Being the Australia lovers that we are, we didn’t mind one bit.