Tag Archives: Portugal

Day 47 – Madrid to Lisbon

Mode and I got up for breakfast. I went over to the Embassy again because my passport was supposedly ready. Once again I had to stand in the lines. It felt like forever, but I finally got to the window. They told me that they were not able to get a full replacement passport in time, so they got me an emergency 60 day replacement passport that I would be able to use for the remainder of my trip. Whatever.

On my way back I stopped at a Starbucks and ordered an Americano. You know. For irony sake. Still paid a million dollars for it.

Came back to the hostel, and Mode and I went out to get Doner Kebab, our favorite low price food. Then we walked around the city a bunch. Stopped at the supermarket, I think we picked up some oranges, and also stopped at a trinket shop, where I think we picked up a flamenco dancer souvenir. Then we left for the station.

At the station I embarked on the crazy experience of getting my Eurail pass back. So I went from place to place figuring out who to talk to in order to get a new Eurail pass. Took forever. Someone wrote down on a card for me “Mi europass ha sido robado necesito saber quĂ© hago.” and I was showing it to all these people. Of course I tried to converse in Spanish as much as I could, which was difficult since it all came out in Italian. I had to deal with the police two times before figuring out the correct procedure. FINALLY got a new ticket from this old man at the ticket counter and figured out that I needed to apply for a refund by contacting the Eurorail people.

Caught the train. There were two things that absolutely cracked me and Mode up. One was that this curtain on the train. So I was sitting in the window seat, and some guy opened his window in the section behind me. The wind blew his curtain up over the chair separating us, and onto my head. It just kind of plopped down on my head like a jellyfish. And somehow this was the funniest thing in the world to me and Mode.

The second hilarious things to us was when the guy checking passports came by. He didn’t know English, so we talked afterwards about how we could have said “You don’t know where that passport has been” and he would have responded “Que?” This too was somehow absolutely hilarious.

Sleeping on the train was a nightmare. My arm started to hurt in the middle of the night, as if I had pinched a nerve. It hurt so much that I actually went through my suitcase eventually looking for advil to take. It finally went away but it was not a pleasant experience at all. Portugal arrived in the wee hours of the morning.

Day 48 – Lisbon

The train rolled into Portugal in the morning as the sun was rising up. I had been told that Portugal had a specific style of architecture to it, and I was wondering if all the small cute houses I saw going through the country were what I had been told about. I remember there being a lot of white and blue and simple shaped designs. Azulejo? Might have been it (checking Wikipedia)

We got to the station in Lisbon and then walked to the hostel. Walked back to the station and walked back to the hostel. I think we did this because we wanted to reserve our tickets to Berlin. Yes, we traveled from Lisbon to Berlin. But that journey will come later.

We waited for our room because it was before check in time. The place was really nice, and I think of all the hostels we stayed at, Lisbon had the nicest. The people there gave us a really great list of things to do, and tailored it to the amount of time we were spending and what we were interested in. A+

We took a well needed shower and got some cheap food up the road. It was some kind of special Portuguese delicacy… but I can’t remember what it was at all.

We then went out to the castle that was up this hill. Took a bit of a walk, and I think we got lost on the way there. But eventually made it. Walked around the castle.

Then went to Rossio Plaza where I think they were setting up some kind of event. Walked up Libertad Street. That was really long. While walking there were all sorts of politician campaign busses passing by and yelling at us to vote for their guy. We walked all the way back down the street again, and tried to get a bus to Belem. We actually first got onto the wrong bus (28) and rode it to the end of the line. We had no idea where we were, so we took the 25 all the way back. Then we got on the 15, which was the correct bus to get to Belem.

In Belem, we went to this specific place called “Pasteis de Belem” to get pastereis. We were told this was a very cultural pastry, and Belem was where it originated. It was sweet and delicious, and kind of like what would happen if you took creme brulee, put it on a miniature pie crust that was as flakey as a croissant.

We saw a ship/columbus like monument of some sort, and also went to a castle like monument. I wasn’t quite sure what the history was of those items, but they looked pretty cool. Plus I distinctly remember there being a miniature model of the castle available to blind people, and thinking “hey, that’s pretty nice of them.”

Also there was this bridge that looked almost exactly like the Golden Gate bridge. Copycats.

Took the tram back, and got to our hostel just in time for happy hour at the bar. Mode wasn’t feeling so well, so he went to sleep. I stayed up talking to Italians and Australians. Then we watched Oceans 12. Then I went to bed.

Day 49 – Lisbon

We woke up and sure enough Mode was sicker than a dog. Which is an expression that doesn’t really make sense, does it?

Well I decided it was a day for myself, so I went out. Exploring on your own is very different, and it has a lot of benefits but also a lot of disadvantages. Someone once said “happiness isn’t real unless shared” but I think it depends on what kind of person you are, and what mood you’re in.

I went to the Festa do Ladro, which was basically a flea market with all sorts of really neat stuff. I saw old electronics, and trinkets, and useless junk, watches, and such. There was this white shirt which was absolutely perfect for hot weather, but I only had one euro in my pocket and the guy was charging two.
I bought a new day bag to replace my old one, and a deck of cards which were worn and awesome looking. I also secretly bought a Rome colosseum small statuette because I hadn’t picked up anything like that while in Rome. It was a pretty successful shopping trip.

I briefly came back to the hostel to check on Mode. He was still sick and complaining about the street artists outside. There were these two kids who each had an accordion and a dog, but both of them were playing different songs. Also, between the two of them, they only knew two songs. Each only knowing one song. They were space about a couple blocks each way on the street. So Mode, who is a music fanatic, was going mad. Of course he was too sick to leave with me to my next adventure.

So I left him to his musical prison and went out to Sintra. Sintra contained a property turned into a park which had been explained to me in a way such that I absolutely had to go. I got on the train, and headed out there while admiring the country side. It was a small walk, maybe 1.5 miles and through the small town. When I got there, I paid the entry fee, and… well… how to explain this.

This was one of the most amazing places I have ever been.

So here’s the story. There was once this crazy millionaire, who bought a huge plot of land and renovated it to be a huge park for himself. I mean park in that it was a winding web of paths going around this hill next to his huge mansion. It involved underground secret cave tunnels, spiral staircases out of those tunnels, jumping rocks through water, waterfalls, large courtyards with places for performances, both obscure and apparent pathways leading from one adventure to the next. I felt like this was exactly what I would build if I was a crazed millionaire. It was like a childhood dream. An adventure game. Best. Time. Ever. I had so much fun, but I half wished someone was there to enjoy it with me. I also kind of enjoyed exploring it myself.

I explored until I was satiated, and then went to town and had some really good food at Pitiqueira or something like that. Took the train back to Lisbon. Mode was feeling a bit better so we went out for food again, but I can’t remember where. We chilled at the hostel with these two girls from Ljubljana (I think). One was incredibly hot too… We drank a bottle of green wine. I don’t know what is put into green wine, and I can’t remember if it was good or not.

Updated the journal a bit. I wrote in the outline here “beach?” but I don’t know what that meant. Maybe we went to the beach? But I don’t remember that at all. But I do know that we went to sleep.

Day 50 – Lisbon to Paris

Alright, a slow day with planning my Asia trip for 2009, so I think I’ll work on previous travels instead of upcoming ones.

The next two days of this journal involve Mode and I traveling from one side of mainland Europe to almost the other, and if you count 5 days, we crossed the entire width of Europe (Lisbon to Helsinki).

Mode and I got up in the morning and packed up a little bit. We went out to the supermarket for some food. We got some cherry liquor – a specialty of Lisbon -, two packs of crackers, two apples, and three oranges. This is actually important to note, I will explain in the following post.

We got some pastries at Casa Brasiliera, which if I remember correctly was just down the street a little bit. Then came back to the hostel and hung out with Slovenian girls (that one girl… so cute). Then said our goodbyes, got some contact information from them, picked up our bags and headed out to the station.

We got on the train and headed off through Portugal and Spain.

I made a note here: “cocaine woman”. I’m not sure what that is in reference to. I’m pretty sure it was some woman who came into our compartment for a while, but I can’t remember why we associated her with cocaine.

Ben – Yo, I’m (once again) working on the Eurotrip log. I wrote down something about our trip on the train between Lisbon and Paris: “cocaine woman”. Do you remember what that was in reference to?
Mode – yeah! we were going through spain, and this crazy old spanish hag started talking to us about drugs like marijuana and cocaine. she’d done a lot of experimenting, but she said if you do too much it’ll make you crazy. she may have lit a joint in our compartment, but i’m not sure lol.
Ben – HAH. you’re so right! I completely forgot about that!

We thought we were set because we had the whole compartment to ourselves for a long time. But of course some people came into the compartment. In fact, they filled up the 4 empty space of the 6 person compartment, so there wasn’t really any room.

Eventually in the middle of the night the compartment emptied out, and we slept well.

Day 8 – Night train, Flight to Lisbon

Arrived in Madrid
Went to the station cafe and stayed there the whole time waiting for our plane
Talked to Jodi, played Polish Poker
She left for Toledo
We went to the airport
Got to the station
Bought some kinder candy
Left for Lisbon
Met girls from Virginia
Got bus
long bus ride
cool graffiti of guy reaching through building
Arrived at Travellers
Really great welcome
Met up with girls
went out for lunch
Walked around
cool graffiti
Main square
Participated in keg
Lots of drinking
Went out for dinner
Got coffee and worst cake in the world from guy at cafe near church
Had a wonderful day
Left toy dog with purse for guy
back to hostel

Day 9 – Lisbon

Decided to go on Sintra tour
free breakfast
headed out with mustachioed guy who looked like a character in a Wes Anderson film
First to Sintra
Castle park
Unfamiliar one
Walked around more outdoors like place
Pretty nice
Lots of nice flowers
Good view of entire area
Walked down to pond
dead frogs and geese
Castle was disney like
to the van
lunch in main downtown area
cherry shots with chocolate
playing around with taking photos
then to other park mansion
familiar one
took others on tour
nice and familiar
really great to go back there…
afterwards returned
went to western most part of continental europe
feeling a little down for some reason
great colors of things
went back
ice cream
another stop just to hang out
and then back to the hostel
dinner at seafood place in backstreets
coffee place again

Day 10 – Lisbon to Porto

Up and headed to Belem
Got instructions on how to get there
walked to train station, bought tickets
got on trolley to Belem
went to Pasteis de Belem, delicious
walked to first monument (columbus?)
Walked to second monument (castle in water are)
Didn’t go in because didn’t think it was worth it
Walked back to the trolley
Went back to Lisbon
Walked up to the fort/castle
Enjoyed the view, walked around
Like I remembered
had lunch at cafe, terrible, anthony and derrick had some kind of quishe and I had some small pastry
left back to the hostel
picked up bags and headed to train station
long walk but made it
got train to Porto
Nice sunset
Got off at the wrong stop
got back on the train
got to porto
walked to hostel place
first hostel was booked
second hostel (the one we originally wanted to go to) was good
got a top top floor room
bed was wet?
headed out for dinner
omg amazing, changed our lives
went for wine and dessert in main plaza area
funny wine waiter guy
back and to sleep

Day 11 – Porto Day 1

Went to famous bookstore
not so impressive, but still quite nice
crowded with tourists
Breakfast near main square
pasteis and coffee
Walked down to riverside
very nice, beautiful old buildings
motorcycle race?
walked down riverside
passed by fashion show, decided to check it out later
continued walking
walked up to weird building park, dome with portholes around it
school fields of education exhibit inside, people demonstrating different cool things in their fields
went to oddly shaped music museum, comet thing
skate punks
sat around
walked back to riverside
brief trip into trolley museum but didn’t actually go in
went to fashion show
managed to sneak our way in, very cool
waited around looking at weirdly dressed people
I was definitely not dressed for the occasion, somewhat amusing, cheap clothes
went in
saw the shoes show
finished, hung around a little and then left
walked back to the hotel
went out trying to find famous francesinha, when we got there we were just too late to get in
got directions to two other famous places, went there
played the wait list line for the two restaurants, settled on which ever we got in first
delicious again
walked back to our area
ice cream
ice cream defeated derrick
back to the hostel
went out to bar area, chaotic, walked around but didn’t get anything. insane
hung out with derrick until he needed to leave

Day 12 – Porto Day 2

Breakfast behind hostel
playing Queen
Headed to caves
Amazing view from bridge
walked across, up to hill, more photos
Walked down a bit toward port distilleries
Walked into Taylors, looked good enough
Waited for next tour while sipping port
Really relaxing room, very good port
Fuzzy chicken
Old books
Tent ceiling
Took tour, fascinating
Very enjoyable
They didn’t ship to the states so we tried to figure out who sold them
Went down to the riverside
Ate some tripe for lunch, not that good. I didn’t like the texture
Took photos
Signed up for the Sandeman tour
Tour was a lot more commercial
Had to pay
Much larger, corporate company
When had tasting, clearly wasn’t as good as Taylors, and cost a bit more in fact
Left, heading back to hostel
Bought tickets to Tunes
Withdrew money from “Deutsche Bank” (operated by another bank but after complaining to BofA they rescinded charge)
Also bought tickets online for bus from Lagos to Cordoba
Went back to famous Francesinha place but it was closed :(((
Walked around and eventually got fish for dinner. Or was it? Anthony had fish, I had something I don’t remember.
Great sunset

Day 13 – Porto to Lagos

Checked out
walked around
breakfast near main plaza
bought port/water
sat in small square
moved to shadier place
lunch at place run by just one guy
took a while to get served and check but it was alright
then to hostel
picked up stuff
train station
to Lagos
long train ride
girl with glittery disco ball shirt
nowhere to buy tickets and no platform indication
followed other people
very bad directions
very lost
finally got there with help of police and map

Day 14 – Lagos Day 1

Started the day with a pleasant breakfast and then hiking
Hiked along the entire trail of beaches in Lagos
abandoned small house
hiked all around “secret” trails
many photos
stopped for lunch (hamburger)
residential area
doown and up beach
along cliffs
back to hostel
made sea-mobile
played music
hung out
Australians playing Kings Cup
went down to beach and had small bonfire but it was too windy

Day 15 – Lagos Day 2

slight hangover
out for pastry and bought postcards/sandals (pastries at really good bakery)
short trip to beach
returned to beach with journal
filled in expenses and a bit of the log
walked around beach combing a bit
found amazing shell
shortly after lost it
searched for a long long time for it
couldn’t find it
oh well
sat around
explored area over wall
very cheap soup and bread lunch
back to the hostel
had indian food for dinner
can’t remember too much more about the night

Day 16 – Lagos Day 3

Decided to go explore the abandoned houses on the hills
got breakfast/lunch at cafe odeon
wrap, and some kind of shake (beer shake?)
went back to hill area
started down path
surprisingly well traveled and easy to get to abandoned houses
went from house to house
taking photos
found shotgun shells
some good graffiti, some bad
very chill dog guard, but didn’t see him until i was right next to him
blue place
went to every place
surprised by some kind of animal
walk along the cliffs
came back
stopped at supermarket for soap, crackers, etc
went back for pasteis
hung out at the hostel
I think i tried taking a nap
A little bit of rain
went back out and had chinese for dinner
pretty damn good chinese food
back to hostel and of course can’t remember the night, but probably drank

Day 17 – Lagos Day 4

On our fourth day in Lagos we relaxed
Walked around town
Saw more interesting graffiti
For lunch had some very greasy piri piri chicken. It was very good
At it in the park
Back to the hostel
Went out to get pizza at Luigi’s
It was great
Met a guy who had a place in Chefchaouen
He had natty dreds and a dog who he fed pizza
Decided to investigate it
Hung out in kitchen area
Rory and his friend acted obnoxious
Decided to go out
went around to different bars
Anthony went back early
I decided to stay out
Drank quite a lot but not so much
Cute girl but she had a boyfriend
After a long exhausting night came back