Home is where you automatically connect to the wifi.
Flying back into Portugal and returning to Peniche was like coming home. Greeted by the warm salty air and familiar faces of West Hostel I was in my element. It had only been two weeks since I had left this sleepy surf town yet somehow here I was once again.
This time the town was in overdrive as The Rip Curl Pro World Surfing Championship arrived into town. The once long empty beach Supertubos was now unrecognisable as the surf village took over with tents, bars and dj's set up all along leading to a huge grandstand surrounded by camera crew and of course some of the worlds greatest surfers strutting their stuff.
Everyday was the same routine, our little hostel family would all wake up for the 7:45am live announcement as we all sat there eagerly eating our breakfast watching the waves on the live feed in hope the swell was in form and at competition standards. Once the call was made we would all rush down to the beach where we would watch the best of the best compete till sun down.
The competition was exhilarating, to be sitting on the beach just a few steps away from the shore watching world champions compete was mind blowing. The way these athletes took on the waves was like nothing I had ever seen before. We were proud to get behind the Aussie surfers and cheer them on. We also found ourselves backing up the Portuguese contestants as one of the young wildcard competitors knocked out THE legend of surfing Kelly Slatter. The atmosphere in the crowd that day was beyond uplifting, as we along with the locals went crazy Portuguese style.
West Hostel was truly like our own family. One of the guys we had met there was a West hostel regular and had became good friends with the German guy we had met at the hostel the first time we were in Peniche. Knowing to many crazy stories about him before we had even properly met him was just another one of those amazing travel moments, there truly is six degrees of separation in the world. After a long day watching the surf we would all go back 'home' cook up a dinner and have a few drinks. Glauco would always take us to his friends bar to have a few 80c beers to start off our night. Being the Pro there was loads of student parties going on in the area. We all found ourselves one night stupid drunk at a festival dominating the dance floor with some of the most outrageous dance moves I have ever seen. With bands, dj's and even a paintball tent we had all plain and simply gone spastic as we scared off the Portuguese students with our crump circles and attempt at rapping skills. It was a night I will never forget with some of the greatest people I have met in these last six months.
The last day of the Pro was also our last day in Peniche. The crowd's were huge but not as monstrous as the waves that came crashing in. As we watched Australia's Kai Otton and Nat Young battle head to head for the win I took in every last detail and soaked up every last moment of this time in my life. To be in the crowd and to be in Peniche for the Rip Curl Pro was one of the greatest experiences of my life thus far.
Peniche is an infectious town, its as if there is something in the water that just makes me forget the rest of the world even exist. Its a place where I feel nothing but never ending happiness. I could easily lose myself in its fresh air and sunshine, never to resurface to the real world again. This was the last stop on our epic European adventure. For me there was no where else I would have rather ended it then with my Portuguese friends in the glorious sun and sand. As we made our mark and signed our goodbyes on the hostel wall, it was the mark that Peniche had left in my heart that I would carry and remember for a life time.
A special thanks to the talented Denise Yahrling for her photography.
Check out http://www.deniseyahrling.com for more great snaps of Peniche and the Rip Curl Pro.
A very special thanks to Glauco for everything he has done for us.
There is truly only one place to stay in Peniche and that is West Hostel https://www.facebook.com/westhostel
The Wanderer's Daughter xx