Barnacles will always hold a special place in my heart for two reasons. 1) they are weird, and obnoxious, and delicious, and dangerous, and I like to think I hold some of those qualities as well. 2) I tried them for the first time on a day where my family created one of my favorite memories of all time.
After after spending some time on beach Vilamoura we jetted South. We were heading to Cabo de Sao Vicente, where we could watch the sunset off a steep cliff and be entranced by the romantic colors that would fill the air. But with so much to see in-between, we were running late for the sunset. It was 8:15pm and we were already going above the speed limit. We drove by even more places we wished we would have stopped at; the most notable was an abandoned castle by the water. We made a mental note to stop on our way back.
This story does not a sad ending, because we made it. We made it early. The sunset, greedy for attention, showed off it’s beauty for some time. It was truly incredible. Slowly but efficiently, the sun painted the sky with each of its movements behing the clouds. Then, as quick as making porridge in the microwave, it moved on to visit the other side of the world leaving behind only remnants of its light. I like to think the sun was heading straight for my boyfriend, who was in Australia probably in need of some help getting out of bed. With that, we were the first of the crowd to split. We had somewhere to be. We always did on this trip. The abandoned castle was our next adventure, before having to succumb to our stomachs.
The people we had seen before at the castle had gone by the time we arrived. It was exciting; we had it all to ourselves! halleluja! But we got overly confident. We ran straight to the front of the castle. We would start close and work ourselves out, we thought. As my mom and I went off to the side to take a picture of the view, my dad and sister went right up to the two large wooden doors at the front of the castle. They started knocking and playing around with the door handle. That’s when it happened; the best thing ever.
Next thing I know, we see my dad and sister sprinting down the way and I mean really running for their lives. My dad has knee problems, and I think the last time I saw him run was when I was in middle school. I don’t think I’ve actually ever seen him pick up into a full sprint. Until now. They left my mom and I to be taken by whatever scared them off. When you see people in such panic though, you usually mimic them, so we started running for our lives. And there we were, four crazy tourists running from who knows what on the edge of a Portuguese coastline with no one to witness it.
When my dad’s sunglasses fell off his head, we all stopped and re grouped. As they were telling us what it was they heard from from the other side of the wall, those two large doors opened and a man came out making noises we did not recognize. I now realize he was probably saying hello in Portuguese, but in that moment it could have been anything. We unanimously screamed and made our way to the car, buckled up and sped off. We still don’t know what actually happened, or who he was… probably some guy who has to deal with tourists like us all the time.
We didn’t look back until we found the fullest place we could find. Somewhere we felt safe. That place, Meia Encosta, also happened to have Barnacles, the Spanish and Portuguese delicacy I hadn’t had the guts to try yet. I ordered a plate to myself and devoured it. After all that had happened I thought, I’m alive, I’ll eat anything.